Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Here Comes The "Spanish Fly" Combo

In our post from last week previewing the preseason action, we lamented the fact that Portland was not on national TV this preseason, b/c seeing the Blazers - and specifically, seeing Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez in NBA action - is perhaps what we are most eagerly anticipating about the upcoming season.

Judging by the highlights from Portland's preseason opener, a 110-81 demolition of the Kings, we were right. Oden was a powerful, dunk-crazy force on the O-boards, and Rudy was a human highlight reel.

It also sounds like the energy - and the near-sellout crowd - in the Rose Garden was remarkable for a preseason game.

The Oregonian offered this from the prose recap:
    With one stunning play after another, the Blazers on Tuesday put on one of the most entertaining preseason shows in recent memory, blowing away Sacramento 110-81 in front of 19,321 at the Rose Garden.

    With Greg Oden dunking and swatting, Rudy Fernandez soaring and slicing, Sergio Rodriguez swishing and lobbing, the Blazers were a nightmare for the Kings, and fans who dared use the restrooms or concessions.
Meanwhile, Blazers Edge represented with something closer to poetic exuberance:
    It was halfway through the fourth quarter of an exhibition game, a 30 point blowout, and I absolutely did not want it to end. Time: move slower so this moment stretches.

    Dunk Parade.


    I could have stayed all night. I cannot wait for tomorrow.

    I could have slept in a chair in an empty Rose Garden.
While Oden and Rudy were expected to be centers of attention, perhaps it's surprising that the third name spotlighted in the Oregonian was that of Sergio Rodriguez. Going back to the highlights from Tuesday which are linked above, note that both of Rudy's spectacular finishes came off of lob passes came from Sergio.

Hope you'll forgive the back-patting and self-quoting to follow, but on Draft Night 2007, we noted that one of the side benefits of the Rudy draft pick was that he and Sergio had developed excellent chemistry as teammates on the Spanish national team which won the World Championship in 2006.

Here's what we wrote then, along with a few sample clips:

"2. Sergio/Rudy. I don't know if people realize how well Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez played together off the bench in Spain's impressive run to the World Championship [in 2006]. Spain would start the game with its collection of veterans - Gasol, Garbajosa, Calderon, J.C. Navarro - playing its brand of steady team basketball, and then Sergio/Rudy would come off the bench to give them a massive energy burst.

They were often electrifying to watch - going up and down the court with alley-oops left and right - they must have led the tournament in terms of alley-oops as a combo.

Here are a few quick tastes:

vs. Lithuania - you need to watch this one for the Andres Cantor-quality entertainment on the broadcast call:

vs. Argentina in the semis - technically not an alley-oop, but still an impressive fast-break combo by the two, esp. given the quality of the opponent and the magnitude of the game:

vs Serbia

Again, it could be a challenge to get Rudy over here, but I'd have to think that having Sergio helps a lot, and if they do get him, let me be the first to dub the combo's alley-oops as "Spanish Fly". Thank you, I'll be here all the week."

Spanish Fly, baby, here they come. What a huge bonus for the Blazers if the presence of Rudy helps make Sergio a better player.

Just 20 days left til Cavs-Celtics and Blazers-Lakers. Let's get it on, baby.