Foul Trouble Slows Oden As Celtics Grab Victory
Boston 74, Portland 66
LAS VEGAS, July 6 --In front of a sold-out crowd, the Boston Celtics ran away from the Portland Trail Blazers, 74-66, in the debut of first overall pick Greg Oden.
Oden grabbed the first rebound of the game, but quickly committed three fouls in the first 3:04 of the first quarter. Fouls hampered Oden the entire game as he played limited minutes (20) and finished with more fouls (10) than points (6). Summer league rules permit a player to commit up to ten fouls before fouling out. He fouled out with 2:47 left in the game.
“It is a different game and they call it a lot different here (college versus pro),” Oden said of his foul trouble. “There is a lot of hand checks and movements that you can’t do on this level.”
Oden showed flashes of brilliance with his soft touch down low and post moves. He wooed the crowd by swatting a Celtic shot out of bounds at the 5:01 mark of the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t play too well and I didn’t play hard enough, Oden said of his play. “When you don’t play hard enough you don’t win.”
The Celtics came out of the gates strong, ending the first quarter up 25-14 thanks to a 50-foot long distance three-pointer from Rajon Rondo to beat the buzzer.
Leon Powe led the Celtics with 19 points (7-13 FG) and nine rebounds, while high-flyer Gerald Green chipped in 14 points (5-11 FG). 35th overall pick Glenn “Big Baby” Davis struggled from the floor in his first game, missing all five of his shots, but contributed three points from the free throw line (3-4 FT).
“I tried to keep the big fellow (Oden) out of the lane,” Powe said of his match-up with Oden. “He is big and strong, so I tried to do my work early and not let in the paint.”
LaMarcus Aldridge was the star of the game for the Blazers, pouring in 24 points (9-16 FG, 6-7 FT) and nine rebounds. Aldridge played with confidence and took over the scoring load for the young Blazers. Swingman Martell Webster had 18 points (5-11 FG, 6-6 FT) and eight rebounds. Webster struggled in the first three quarters, going just one of seven from the field, but was red hot in the fourth quarter, hitting for 13 points (4-5 FG, 3-3 FT).
NOTES: Celtics’ fan Maria Menounos of Access Hollywood and the Today Show was courtside in a Paul Pierce jersey, while Boston native Donnie Wahlberg was also in attendance. Point guard Sebastian Telfair watched the game from the stands.