Friday, July 6, 2007 Updated: July 9, 12:11 PM ET
Debut review: Oden outing much fouler than Durant's
By Chris Sheridan ESPN.com
LAS VEGAS -- Kevin Durant struggled. But compared to Greg Oden, he was marvelous.
Oden received a rude welcome to the NBA in his professional debut Thursday night, committing 10 personal fouls and four turnovers while scoring just six points in Portland's 74-66 loss to Boston on the opening day of the NBA's Las Vegas summer league.
"I didn't play too well. I didn't play hard enough, and when you don't play hard you don't win," Oden said.
Durant missed his first five shots but began to find his touch in the second quarter and finished with a team-high 18 points in his first game for the Seattle SuperSonics, a 77-66 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Durant finished 5-for-17 from the field, including 1-for-4 from 3-point range, and 7-for-9 at the line with just one rebound and no assists -- the latter numbers illustrating how the No. 2 pick in last month's draft did not have a particularly active performance.
Still, Durant looked very good in stretches, especially when posted up on the lower block against smaller defenders who weren't able to deal with his height and quickness.
"It was good to get back out on the court and under the whistle," Durant said. "I had good shots [in the first quarter], but in this game you can't make every shot.
Asked what he would remember most about his first game as a pro, Durant answered: "That I was a little nervous in the days leading up to the game, but I was nervous for every game in college, too."
Seven-footer Greg Oden is expected to spend all of his first season in the NBA watching the Trail Blazers from off the court.
Oden said he, too, was nervous, and those nerves led to a horrific 3-minute first-quarter stint in which he committed three personal fouls and an egregious goaltending violation and was quickly sent to the bench. Oden had one nifty play in the first half, throwing down a vicious dunk off an offensive rebound and slapping both hands against the backboard after converting the bucket. He had a chance to convert a three-point play but missed the free throw.
Oden also had a brief stretch of effectiveness early in the fourth quarter before picking up his eighth, ninth and 10th fouls, joining Alexander Johnson of the Memphis Grizzlies as the only players to foul out of a game on the first day of summer league. Yi Jianlian of China looked like he might join them, too, but after picking up six first-quarter fouls and seven by halftime, he avoided any more during the second half of China's loss to Memphis.
Oden finished 3-for-4 from the field and 0-for-3 from the line with just two rebounds and two blocks.
"He has a lot of adjustments he has to make, just like Kevin Durant and Jeff Green," Portland summer league coach Monty Williams said. "These guys have been playing AAU basketball, and now they're playing against men. But this was good for him. This wasn't Florida. He's playing against young guys that are trying to eat, and it's different."
Durant played almost the entire first half, then scaled back in the second half and logged only seven minutes.
His first shot came early in the first quarter when he drove the lane from the right side and went up with a left-handed floater that DeSagana Diop swatted away.
"I can't get down on myself because he blocked my shot. I just got to keep going. It was a great block. I thought I was clear for the layup, but he came over and made a nice block," he said.
Durant wasn't shy about shooting, hoisting 17 shots.
Durant's second shot was an off-target 3-pointer as the shot clock as about to expire, and he also missed a drive on a fast break and two short shots from inside before finally breaking his drought on a 15-footer from the left corner early in the second quarter. His next two buckets came from the low post.
"He wasn't bashful. He kept shooting and kept trying to find his shot," said Durant's summer league teammate, veteran Jermaine Jackson.
"I think I played in the post pretty well," Durant said. "I think I played defense pretty well. There's a lot I can do to get better, but altogether I think it was a good day."
Durant was not the only rookie who will not have the greatest memory of his first shot as a pro, as Dallas' Nick Fazekas hoisted an airball from 3-point range on his first attempt.
Maurice Ager led the Mavericks with 17 points, Jose Juan Barea added 14 points and nine assists, Diop had nine rebounds and five blocks (and shot 0-for-6), and Brandon Bass had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Seattle's other lottery pick, Green, also committed eight fouls and scored just seven points with three turnovers. Bass also committed eight fouls, as did San Antonio's Jackie Butler in the day's first game.
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider. To e-mail Chris, click here.