Greg Oden Portland Trail Blazers First Game: 13 Points, 5 Rebounds, 2 Blocks

Sometimes it’s not just a preseason game.

Portland Trail Blazers fans and NBA fans alike have been waiting patiently for Greg Oden to play in the NBA and last night was his first live action. It’s more than just Oden we’ve been wanting a look at, but the entire roster that Kevin Pritchard has so cleverly constructed.

Oden and the Blazers didn’t disappoint. Just ask a 2nd-year center who was drafted nine picks behind the former Oden, Spencer Hawes. The former Washington Husky was abused by Oden early and often, victim of his first dunk and block.

You’ll see in the very first highlight above, Oden takes the entry pass on the right block and simply powers his way over Hawes for his first points. In typical Oden fashion, a dunk. His final line: 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in 20 minutes.

Truth be told, Oden may not have had the best “rookie” debut. That belonged to Rudy Fernandez who put on his own show according to Jason Quick of the Oregonian.

Don’t look now, but Oden may have some stiff competition for Rookie of the Year from one of his teammates: Fernandez.

In a simply electric performance, Fernandez had the crowd chanting his first name after a series of flashy plays. He dunked off a lob pass from Rodriguez, a longtime friend and countryman, and then later caught another lob from Rodriguez and in a dipsy-do move, drifted under the basket and blindly banked it high off the backboard.

And there was more. Fernandez threaded a pass through the legs of Jason Thompson that Aldridge converted, and later made a sharp bounce pass in traffic that Aldridge dunked. He also lobbed a pass that Martell Webster dunked, putting the finishing touches on a six-point, five-assist night.

Whether I’m allowed or not, I’m going to be a bandwagon jumper to this Blazers run. Even in this despairing stock market, Portland is a must buy.

Photo Update: Stacy Elizabeth Beshear Is Luke Walton’s Stalker

Timeout! is our daily diversion from real sports news, which is likely to mean an excuse to post pictures of beautiful, partially clothed women, or mere just the bizarre happening of the pop-culture world…

Also news: Luke Walton HAS a stalker. Unbelievable.

The Los Angeles Lakers forward recently reported that he had a stalker, and today the women has been charged. Her name: Stacy Elizabeth Beshear.

Update: Thanks to Deadspin, we have a photo. About what I expected, just as ugly as the Waltons.

His accusation:

Walton said Beshear has been harassing him since late last year. He told the Orange County Register she waited outside his Manhattan Beach home numerous times and wrote on his car with a marker after he refused to sign an autograph.

“When she pulled up to my house and started yelling at me after she fired a fake gun at me, I couldn’t help but to start yelling back at her,” Walton said. “She was in my driveway. But when we were interacting, I could tell by the stuff she was saying that she’s not all there in the head — which makes me feel bad for her.

“At the same time, most people who go on killing sprees are people who aren’t all there in the head.”

Some people who aren’t all there in the head also play in the NBA, but that’s a completely different discussion.

Sadly, not photo of Stacy Elizabeth Beshear can be located, but you can be sure I’ll diligently continue my internet stalking of her.

Woman charged with stalking Lakers forward Walton [ESPN]

Shaq Calls Himself “The Black Michael Phelps”

Some of you may be looking forward to Shaquille O’Neal’s retirement. I, however, am not.

I’ll be enjoying every minute of the final two years (?) because of sound bites like this. Interviewed yesterday about Phoenix Suns training camp in Tucson, Shaq shares that some members of the University of Arizona women’s swim team challenged him to a race.

“I told her I was the black Michael Phelps.”

No report on whether Shaq won the race, but I’d pay good money to see O’Neal attempting the butterfly.

HT: The Sports Culture

Shaun Livingston Signs With Miami Heat

The last time we saw Shaun Livington in an NBA game, this was the unfortunate result. It’s been a year and a half since this serious injury to his left knee and it may not be much longer before the 23-year-old returns to the court.

Livingston was signed today by the Miami Heat to a 2-year deal. Outstanding news. The kid is a once in a lifetime talent, who will become better than most point guards in the league even if he never returns to 100%. I think the Heat would settle for 85.

‘You normally would never get a player of that talent at this time,” first-year Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Livingston. “He has the size and the vision. His passing ability reminds me of Penny Hardaway — when [Hardaway] was young.”

When he returns he’ll compete for the starting point guard position against Chris Quinn, Marcus Banks and rookie Mario Chalmers. So needless to say, he’ll be the starting point guard when healthy, but he’s not there just yet.

”Explosion is the last part of this process,” said Livingston, who has averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 assists in two-plus NBA seasons. “Soreness is going to be something — the mental process [of] going out on the court and just trusting it. I’m confident.”

Just another fun story to track heading into the NBA season. He’s got a lot of fans behind him.

Miami Heat takes a gamble, signs point guard Shaun Livingston [Miami Herald]