It only took about seventeen months from the day he was drafted, but Greg Oden finally played a regular season game in front of his hometown fans.Oden missed all of last season recuperating from microfracture surgery and then injured his foot on opening night in Los Angeles. When Oden finally rejoined the Blazers last week, they were in the midst of a five-game road trip.
With about five minutes left to play in the first quarter, Blazers fans finally had their chance to give Oden his long-awaited standing ovation.
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The Hornets signed Bobby Jackson back in 2005 to help turn them into a contender. Just when it looked like the Hornets were well on their way, they traded Jackson to the Rockets at the trade deadline.
In the off-season the Rockets traded Jackson to the Kings as part of the package for Ron Artest.
Jackson returned to New Orleans on Wednesday night to battle his old team. He scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter, including two backbreaking 3-pointers that helped put the Hornets away for good.
Rookie Donte Greene, the other player the Kings received for Artest, made his first career start at small forward. The near-seven footer responded with 15 points on only nine shots, including three-for-four from downtown.
John Salmons continued to make his early case for the league's Most Improved Player Award with 29 points to lead the Kings in the 105-96 victory.
The game was by far the most impressive game the Kings have played this year and it came on the heels of their least impressive game of the year -- a 15-point loss to the Grizzlies the night before.
Chris Paul had 20 points, 15 assists, four steals and three rebounds for the Hornets but it wasn't enough. They are now 5-5, including an unimpressive 3-3 record at home.
No Jet Lag for Terry
After an early-season five-game losing streak, the Dallas Mavericks have now won three in a row and appear to be righting the ship. Jason Terry, filling in for the injured Josh Howard, scored 31 points to lead the Mavs over the Rockets, 96-86, in Houston.
The Rockets (7-5) played without Yao Ming and never seemed to find a consistent groove. Despite the loss, sophomore point guard Aaron Brooks continues to impress, scoring 15 points. Tracy McGrady played with a sore knee and Ron Artest with a sore ankle. Both injuries were suffered in Monday night's game against Oklahoma City.
It's a good sign for Dallas (5-7) that they can win games amidst the drama surrounding owner Mark Cuban and allegations of insider trading as well as Jerry Stackhouse's public comments regarding his unhappiness with his current role.
Only four of the Mavs' first 12 games were in Dallas and they failed to win any of them. They now head back home where they will play nine of their next 11 games, including a stretch of seven in a row.
No Josh, No Al, No Problem
After starting their season with six consecutive victories, the Hawks headed into Wednesday night's game with the Wizards the losers of four straight.
Without Al Horford or Josh Smith, both sidelined with ankle injuries, the onus was on Marvin Williams to help stop the bleeding.
Williams scored 21 points, tied a career-high with 14 rebounds, and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 26 seconds left to lead the Hawks (8-4) to a 91-87 victory over the struggling Washington Wizards (1-8).
Heading into this season Williams had made a total of 25 3-pointers in three full seasons. In ten games this year, Williams already has 13 in only 23 attempts.
The Hawks outrebounded the Wizards, 58-40, led by Zaza Pachulia's career-high 18.
The Hawks are getting nightly contributions from two of the best signings of last summer, Maurice Evans and Flip Murray. Murray alone is averaging more points and assists than Josh Childress at close to a tenth of the price that Olympiakos is paying Childress.
Caron Butler led the Wizards with 32 points and Antawn Jamison and DeShawn Stevenson combined to score 30. But the Wizards received very little help from anyone else. Dee Brown, JaVale McGee, Juan Dixon, Etan Thomas and Andray Blatche each played a minimum of 15 minutes and yet the six combined to score only 14 points between them.
Elsewhere Dwyane Wade had 40 points, 11 assists, and five blocks, but it wasn't enough as the Raptors beat the Heat 101-95 in Miami. Andrea Bargnani continued his breakout season with 25 points to lead the Raptors. Jermaine O'Neal had his fifth consecutive game with double-digits in rebounding. Chris Kaman scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in leading the Clippers to their first road victory of the season in Oklahoma City. Al Thornton and Cuttino Mobley had 20 and 23 points, respectively. Kevin Durant had 18 points for the Thunder, who have yet to score 100 points in 12 games this season. The Minnesota Timberwolves finally snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 102-96 win over the 76ers. Al Jefferson led the way with 25 points and Craig Smith scored a season-high 21 points off the bench. Andre Miller led the Sixers with 20 points. Third-year man C.J. Miles scored 25 points to lead the Jazz to a 105-94 victory over the Bucks in Utah. The Jazz, who trailed by two at halftime, outscored the Bucks 54-41 in the second half. The Jazz (8-4) are now 6-0 at home this year after going 37-4 at home last season. The Bucks (5-8) had four players score 15 or more points, led by Richard Jefferson's 25.
One more thing
No team has been able to utilize the NBDL and pluck undrafted free agents quite as successfully as the Golden State Warriors have. In the past three seasons the Warriors have found Kelenna Azubuike, C.J.Watson and this year's surprise, rookie Anthony Morrow. Last week Morrow set the record for most points scored by an undrafted rookie with 37 against the Clippers.
At a time when one-dimensional scorers like Gilbert Arenas are making close to $15 million per year and others like Ben Gordon are expected to ask for upwards of $12 million per year, the Warriors have proved that the easiest position to fill in the NBA is that of a shooting guard who can score if allowed to shoot 15 to 20 times per game.
Morrow is averaging 17 points in less than 24 minutes per game. His salary this season is $442,114, the minimum for a rookie not picked in the first round of the draft.
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