Sunday, October 18, 2009
Oden Unfazed By Foul Calls
Greg Oden had a heck of a time staying on the court Sunday night, but at this point, he's used to it. He picked up his first foul 14 second into the game. A little less than three minutes later he got called for his second. Off to the bench he went. He checked back in with 8:46 to play in the second quarter, and proceeded to pick up his third foul a minute later. The first half of the game could serve as exhibit 1A for those making the case that Oden was and is foul-prone.
The second half didn't get much better. Oden made it four minutes into the third quarter before picking up his fourth foul. He got back into the game at the 10:23 mark in the fourth and, you guessed it, picked up his fifth foul a little less than two minutes later. At the time he had scored 4 points and grabbed 2 rebounds. Not exactly the kind of production you look for from your starting center.
Last season, Oden might have gotten frustrated with all the calls, but on Sunday night, he took it in stride. If nothing else there was solace in knowing that, in a game where the team combined for 77 fouls, at least he wasn't alone.
"I look at it like I wasn’t the only one getting called this time. B.Roy got a little taste of what I had last year sitting on the bench."
Knowing he probably didn't have much time before the inevitable foul-out, Oden got down to the business of dominating.
"I would like to say that at that point I really didn’t care," said Oden. "At that point you want to stay in the game. Through the whole entire three quarters I think the most I played was three and a half minutes in a row. At that point I was like, let me do whatever I can to stay out there on the floor."
He converted an And1 to pull the Blazers within five. He put back a Brandon Roy miss. He rocked the basket standard with a two-handed jam. He made all his free-throws. GO had scored 12 points and pulled down 5 boards in the six and a half minutes before collecting an offensive foul, his sixth and final of the night, that could be most diplomatically described as debatable. But by that point, the damage was done. Portland had taken the lead, which they wouldn't relinquish.
“(Oden) remained aggressive and played smart down the stretch with five fouls," said Nate McMillan. "That last foul could have gone either way but he got us going. He got us in the penalty. They were killing us at the free throw line and we were able to get back in the ball game as far as getting to the free throw line. A lot of that was due to going inside to Greg and attacking the basket.”