Now that the stories of the Miami Heat’s poor play are out of the way, we can focus on the one guy who played like his job was on the line. Maybe even his career, as speculation of Pat Riley’s interest in Andrew Bynum continues to run rampant. But with Riley coming out to say “there’s nothing happening at all with that [Bynum] situation,” center Greg Oden hit the court with a smile on his face and put a spark in the Heat’s hearts.
Although it wasn’t enough to pull out the win, the 7-footer’s first game in four years came as a surprise to almost everyone involved, including himself.
“Earlier today, coach said I could dress,” Oden said after the game to ESPN. “I didn’t know if I was going to play or not, but I got out there and I did, and I’m happy I got the chance.”
No one saw that chance coming, especially with the team down 32 points to the Washington Wizards, but his first trip to the offensive end could not have been more perfect. A missed shot ricocheted right to him and he followed with a dunk. That’s one play that covered two of the Heat’s biggest problems — rebounding and big man scoring.
After four more points, one more rebound and a 13-3 run, Oden’s presence proved to be quite the Band-Aid to the team’s defensive deficiencies. The only thing left to see is if Oden can avoid any major setbacks and become the deterrent to Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers that every team in the Eastern Conference needs.