Max Mandel's Blog

Max Mandel

Nov 26

Lopez and Oden continue to shine

By Max Mandel Posted in: GregOden, Blazers, Nets, brooklopez
In the 93-83 victory over New Jersey on Wednesday night, Trail Blazers fans were able to see two of the best young centers in the league match up. Greg Oden continued his great play, scoring 18 points and grabbing eight boards. For the Nets, second year center Brook Lopez played the best game of his young career, scoring a career-high 32 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. What made this performance from Lopez even more impressive is the fact that Oden has dominated every big man he is faced in the past two weeks. Lopez is a unique guy to guard, due to the fact that he is able to score both in the post and out on the perimeter. In order to stay on the court and be productive, Lopez knew that he had to play smart and not commit fouls in the post.

"I was just trying to play smart defensively," Lopez said after the game. "As dumb as it sounds, if he (Oden) has me sealed deep for a dunk, I know I'm beat and just need to concede the two. I tried to meet him early, keep him out of the paint, and front him if I had to."

It was the performance of Lopez on the offensive end that was most surprising, since Oden is quickly emerging as one of the most dominant defenders in the NBA.

"Offensively, my teammates did a great job of setting screens for me, so I could get across the lane and seal deep or score from the elbow. They did a great job of just finding me so that I could turn and score."

Having faced off against Oden last season, Lopez immediately recognized the growth and improvement in Oden's game.

"I think he is just a lot more confident in what he can do," Lopez said of Oden. "He is attacking the basket with confidence. You see him out there making good decisions in the post. He is really surveying what the defense is doing, reading his cutters, and then if there is no help, trying to take his man one-on-one."


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