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Preseason Game 2: Blazers 89, Kings 86

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The Blazers held on to beat the Kings down in Sacramento in front of an estimated 6,500 fans

Greg Oden (20 and 12) beasted again, forcing Jason Thompson to foul out. Brian Wheeler made it sound like Jerryd Bayless (11 and 2 assists) had a good night. LaMarcus Aldridge (3 and 3) apparently loaned his rhythm to Brandon Roy (13 and 5 assists) for the evening.

Sergio Rodriguez had a shot at redemption but threw the ball away and missed a 3 pointer on the Kings's final two possessions after sitting for the first 3.5 quarters of the game.  Weird.

The Blazers move to 2-0 on the preseason.  Two steps closer to a completely unprecedented completely undefeated completely championship season.

Here are your video highlights courtesy of NBA.com.

Jason Quick writes...

In two preseason games, Oden is leading the Blazers in scoring (19.0 average) and rebounding (10.5) while hitting 11 of 20 shots from the field and 16 of 19 free throws. 

But it is so much more than just statistics. Oden looks good. 

In the preseason opener, he completed a spin move that left Sacramento center Spencer Hawes off-balance and guarding air. On Wednesday, he showed both power and agility, once powering through Kenny Thomas for a two-handed dunk, then later tipping an offensive rebound to himself through two defenders. Once he corralled the ball, he spun and completed a delicate left-handed layup in traffic.     

Matt Steinmetz on Fanhouse writes...

"Starting is something that will show I've had a great summer," Oden said before Portland's exhibition game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. "And it will mean that I deserve to be a starter in this league. I want to show everyone the work that I've put in."

...

"The player will make that decision," McMillan said about who will start between Oden and Joel Przybilla. "I've always been a coach who if you earn it, you get it. He knew at the end of last season that at the start of training camp he wouldn't be at that starting center spot. I wanted to see him hungry. He's been hungry to become a starter. ... He's coming in working for it."    

Here's the Associated Press recap...

After averaging only 8.9 points in an injury-shortened rookie season, Oden had 18 points and nine rebounds in Tuesday's exhibition opener at home against the Kings. He was even better a night later against a Kings team without starting center Spencer Hawes, who was out with anankle sprain. He shot 7 of 13 and made 6 of 7 free throws in 26 minutes.

Here are some postgame quotes from the Kings' Full Court Press Blog.

Nate McMillan on Greg Oden's progress:
"He's in better shape than last year. Last year, he came in off the injury and he didn't know how he wanted to come into the league to start his year. He wanted to be bulky because he wanted to be a physical player. He realized that after being in the NBA for a year that being a little lighter is better so he's dropped about fourteen or fifteen pounds. He is lighter than he was at the start of training camp last year and I think that has helped him. We've talked about being light is better when you play an 82 game schedule. He's moving much better, he's worked all summer long to come into camp mentally and physically ready to go."    

Kings.com also has some postgame video clips.

Tom Ziller sees aliens...

I believe that it is worth questioning whether Sergio Rodriguez is truly devoted to theSacramento Kings.

You have the opportunity to hang a bomb on your old captors, and you miss ... what kind of King are you? For those who have not read the recaps, a mini-run sparked by defense and Omri Casspi left the Kings behind three in the closing seconds. With a chance to send the game to overtime, Sergio clanked a three from the top of the key.

He clanked the shot, despite having just come into the game a few minutes prior and despite being a poor deep shooter. I mean, that just screams conspiracy, doesn't it?

The truth is out there.

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)