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Greg Oden Takes Major Step For Miami Heat In Lebron James’ Absence

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Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

After getting his face smashed and breaking his nose on a dunk in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, LeBron James was more than happy to take the day off. For the Miami Heatit proved to be no big deal as they easily handled the Chicago Bulls 93-79 to win their 40th game of the season.

For ESPN’s Bill Simmons, the news of James’ absence left ABC’s second national broadcast a bummer of a game. Well, I know of at least one person who begs to differ. This person has spent the last four years watching the Sunday showcase games on his couch, dreaming that one day he would be back on the hardwood. He continuously trained in hopes that he would grace the ESPN cameras with his presence.

Well, whether Simmons liked it or not, Greg Oden‘s dream came true. The 7-foot center started his first NBA game in over four years on Sunday afternoon and even though he only played 13 minutes, this recent development in Oden’s comeback is huge. In those 13 minutes, Oden had five points and five rebounds, including a three-point play. The big guy had five rebounds in 13 minutes against Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. Imagine if he could play 25 minutes or more!

I’m not saying that fans should throw a party and get all giddy about Oden, but this is a massive step for him and great news for Miami. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra both said before the season began that they would take Oden’s process slow in hopes that he will be a contributor come the playoffs. The big guy just made his first start with 28 games left in the season.

If things continue to go right, knock on wood, I’d say Oden will be a contributor and possibly a major factor in the playoffs.

Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.

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