Oden makes return in Heat loss
WASHINGTON — Greg Oden played in his first NBA regular-season game in more than four years Wednesday night, coming off the bench in the second quarter of the Miami Heat's game against the Washington Wizards.
Wearing No. 20 and with both knees heavily wrapped, Oden entered with 6:03 remaining in the first half and made an immediate impact: He had an offensive rebound, a dunk and a foul in his first 30 seconds.
By halftime, Oden had two dunks, two free throws and a pair of rebounds. The Heat were getting blown out when he stepped on the floor, but he helped trim a 34-point deficit to 21 at halftime.
Oden started the second half — he said it was to keep him from getting stiff — and played four more minutes before sitting for good. His final line: eight minutes, six points, two rebounds, 2 for 3 from the field and 2 for 2 from the free-throw line in a 114-97 loss.
Oden's last appearance in a regular-season game was Dec. 5, 2009, when he fractured his left kneecap playing for the Portland Trail Blazers against the Houston Rockets. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft also missed what would have been his rookie year because of a right knee injury. He has had three microfracture surgeries on his knees.
"He's been working very diligently," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game. "It's been all part of the plan. He's made great progress. He's getting stronger. He's getting healthier. He's getting his core right. Everything without skipping steps. We're very patient with him."
Oden signed with the Heat last summer as a low-risk investment, accepting a deal that pays him about $1 million this season with a player option for next season. He made a brief appearance in one preseason game but had been inactive for every regular season game before Wednesday.
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Clippers 129, Mavericks 127
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Nuggets 123, Warriors 116
At Oakland, Calif., Nate Robinson scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, J.J. Hickson grabbed a season-high 24 rebounds and streaky Denver outlasted Golden State.
Rockets 103, Pelicans 100
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Grizzlies 82, Bucks 77
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Spurs 109, Jazz 105
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Suns 121, Lakers 114
At Phoenix, Gerald Green had a strong second half to finish with a season-high 28 points and lead Phoenix over Los Angeles.
Kings 111, Timberwolves 108
At Minneapolis, Rudy Gay had 33 points, five rebounds and six assists, and Isaiah Thomas had 26 points and seven assists to lead Sacramento over Minnesota.
Celtics 88, Raptors 83
At Boston, Jared Sullinger scored 25 points and grabbed a career-best 20 rebounds, Avery Bradley had 20 points and Boston held on to snap a nine-game losing streak.
76ers 95, Bobcats 92
At Philadelphia, Thaddeus Young made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left to lift Philadelphia over Charlotte.