Even when the Heat lose, they still win.
Let the Washington Wizards and the NBA critics own two days, because the Heat were the team who came up looking victorious in the long run.
With the Heat facing a 30-point deficit halfway through the second quarter, they inserted Greg Oden into the lineup, making it his first regular season action since December 5th, 2009.
Surely enough, his impact was immediately felt. On his first offensive possession, Oden rebounded a Dwyane Wade miss, easily going over the top of Marcin Gortat, and slammed it with authority.
It marked the first time in the ‘Big Three’ era that a Heat player was able to rebound over a center and then slam it home. It’s a dimension the Heat have yet to experience, until now.
Oden was spry in his eight minutes on the floor. He played excellent defense on Gortat, grabbed two rebounds, made a pair of free throws, missed a hook, and had another dunk off a pick-and-roll with LeBron James.
He was a plus-3, the only player off the bench to be in the positive in plus/minus last night.
It’ll be interesting to see what direction the Heat go in if Oden is able to stay healthy. Even with Chris Andersen set to return soon, Oden is still a special talent that could provide in areas that Andersen can’t.
Namely, one-on-one defense against opposing centers and just being a presence. Oden has the body type and the athleticism to go with it to always have an impact on both ends of the floor.