photo via blacksportsonline.com
Heading into South Beach to face the Miami Heat on March 24th, the Trail Blazers still feel the sting of an absolutely embarrassing loss to the sub-par Charlotte Bobcats. It’s hard enough heading off to face LeBron and company after a loss, but if you are Portland, finding out that said company could include Greg Oden…hello salt, meet wound.
According to the Oregonian, Oden will be starting against the team that had selected him with the 1st overall pick back in 2007. He is a shadow of what he once was, or rather, what he once was anticipated to be, but that doesn’t take the bad taste out of any Blazer fans mouths. Watching Oden come back healthy enough to start will hurt. If he manages to have a good game, it’s going to be borderline insulting for Rip City loyalists. This is Brett Favre returning to the NFL in a Vikings uniform, or A-Rod leaving Seattle for New York. The outcome of this game could bring Portland fans to tears.
As Joe Freeman, the writer of the Oregonian article points out, the Heat are 4-0 with Oden as their starter. He called them a work in progress. A correction to that statement needs to be made. Miami has found the key to success, and apparently the right treatment for Oden’s knees.
The current season for the Blazers looked so promising in the first couple of months, but lately the horizon looks as dark as Portland skies in mid january. LaMarcus Aldridge has been battling injuries, the team as a whole has been on a slide, and what once looked like a serious playoff contender, this group is now on their heels, trying to regain their footing. Fortunately for them they still hold the 5th playoff spot, but in a very competitive western conference, that could change at any time. It will be interesting to see if they have the heart required to rally, and finish the season on a high note. Losing to the Heat, and allowing Greg Oden to have a big night, will only further damage their morale.