As you would expect, Greg Oden tried to play down his starting against the Trail Blazers Monday night.
Portland is the franchise that drafted him No. 1, that bet its future on him, and he played well for them until his body betrayed him and he required multiple knee surgeries. Because it was Kevin Durant taken behind him it was a pick that changed the fortunes of two franchises.
Monday night Oden will start for the Heat as the struggling Trail Blazers come to town but Oden played down the reunion, as was reported by CSNNW.com.
“It’s a game we need to win. We’ve been up and down. It’s just about this team and about us getting a win right now….
“Every game I’ve played is basically a circled date. I’m not trying to look at any team just because I used to play for them. I’m happy to be out there playing against anybody.”
This may have some emotion, but there is no bitterness here — even in Portland most people were rooting for Greg Oden to make it back.
He’s a well liked person who had to go through incredible amounts of rehab and effort just to make it back on the court. He could have walked away from the game with a boatload of money but wanted to play bad enough to fight all the way back. He provides some size that Miami needs come the postseason, especially with the big front line of Indiana looming out there.
Miami has struggled of late, going 4-7 in their last 11, finding they can’t just flip the switch like last season. There are a whole lot of factors that play into it — injuries, Dwyane Wade’s maintenance program, trying larger lineups — but it has LeBron James calling his teammates out. Through this, Eric Spoelstra seems committed to giving Oden the starter’s role and building lineups that way (probably largely with Roy Hibbert and Indiana in mind).
Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question
The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.
“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….
In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.
“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”
Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)
Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.
And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.
Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
Stephen Curry apologizes for Warriors’ health, playoff path, success
A sarcastic Stephen Curry joined the fun (and to his credit, did so much more appropriately than his teammate).
I just want to say, I apologize for us being healthy. I apologize for us playing who’s in front of us. I apologize for all the accolades we’ve received as a team and individually. I’m very, truly sorry. We’ll rectify that situation this year.
We try to have fun with it.
What the Warriors refuse to realize: Acknowledging the fortunate breaks they received en route to their championship is not the same as saying they didn’t deserve their championship. It’s not insulting them.
Of course, the Warriors aren’t obligated to fully understand the critiques. They’re incentivized to spin the comments into motivation.