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Trail of Sneers

We'll call it opening night jitters. Everybody gets'em. Portland Trailblazer No. 1 pick Greg Oden was no different on July 6 in Las Vegas's Cox Pavilion. In 20 minutes against the new-look Boston Celtics, Oden scored six points, grabbed two rebounds, swatted a couple of shots and managed a Vegas Summer League max 10 fouls. Yeah, there were some signs of the Oden we got to know in an Ohio State jersey –he had a thunderous dunk and altered numerous interior shots- but overall, this one will definitely have to go down in the "life experiences” category. But that's not to say there wasn't a lot of good happening on the floor for the Blazers. Here, in fact, are just a couple of the highlights (and one lowlight) I saw while watching revitalized franchise's first game of the summer:

-Newsflash: Lamarcus Aldridge is going to be pretty special. Though he looks like he weighs about as much as Ciara, dude's got some amazing skills and simply knows his way around the basket. A quiet 26 point/11 rebound performance proves as much.

-Taurean Green has been slept on for years. (Few folk even know he was the leading scorer for national champion Florida last season.) But if the energetic kid keeps this up (seven points, seven boards, three assists), he'll wake everyone up by earning a spot on the team.

-Starting his night off 1-for-7, it would have almost made sense for Martell Webster to walk with his head down the rest of the game, but the talented combo guard didn't do that. Instead, he kept at it and ultimately found his shot in the second half, ending with 18 and earning a "Glen Rice at Michigan” comparison from the NBA TV announcer. For the youngsters out there, that's one helluva compliment. Still, I don't care what anybody says, dude looks like he could be a forgotten half-brother to the Clipse's Pusha and Malice.

-I don't know about that Josh McRoberts. You know how folks appear out of place sometime? That was Josh the other night. Be it footwork or his jumpshot or just his overall positioning under the hoop, everything was a touch or two off for the power forward. Plus, I'd have to second the announcer's call that the former Duke star needs to spend some more time in the weight room.