Preseason is almost over, which means teams taking things more seriously, and the Miami Heat giving LeBron James and Dwayne Wade more minutes on the floor. However, the most interesting thing to watch was Greg Oden playing for the first time since beginning his latest comeback attempts, logging in a full 4 minutes and being able to walk off the floor afterwards.
The biggest moment of the game for him was getting an assist from Chris Bosh and easily dunking the ball. It gave, for a brief instant, a view at what the Miami Heat can be with a healthy Oden on the floor, although it’s quite unlikely he’ll be used much in terms of playing time and the overall amount of games he plays in. Even though it was just a first step, it was still quite a huge one for someone who hasn’t played in nearly four years.
It’s been a long time and I’ve been wanting to get out there. It was only a couple minutes, but it was what I needed, what I can handle right now and, you know, small baby steps. In December it would be four years, so four minutes, that’s enough for me. As long as I got out there and I walked off and I’m healthy, that’s all that matters. I know the guys were happy for me. I’m excited that they were there for me.
Oden finished with 2 points and 2 rebounds, but also picking up two fouls and turning the ball over twice during his short time on the floor. The Miami Heat were certainly looking for him to get as many touches as possible, but there are too many layers of rust in about everything he does on the floor to expect anything from Oden.
As for James and Wade? LeBron probably played his final game of the preseason, putting in 29 minutes and scoring 27 points, adding 4 steals and 2 blocks as the Miami Heat beat the New Orleans Pelicans 108-95. Dwyane Wade played 33 minutes, adding 7 assists and scoring 25 points. Bosh wasn’t far from a triple double with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists, as the Heat got their first taste heading into the new season of a big ‘Big Three’ night.
The Heat didn’t give too much time to an interesting project as well, Michael Beasley, who had better moments this preseason than his 3 minutes in this game. Off the bench, it was Chris Andersen, who might be forgotten at times with all the excitement surrounding the Greg Oden ordeal, but is the best big man the Heat have to get off the bench. He scored 13 points on 5-for-5 from the field. Ray Allen added 9 points and Norris Cole had 6.
The Heat have one more preseason game left to play against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, October 25. They open their title defense at home, playing their biggest rivals in the East over the last few years, the Chicago Bulls, in what will also be Derrick Rose’s first regular season NBA game in almost two years.