I never had the change to see Pistol Pete Maravich – that is unless you count YouTube - but last night at the Rose Garden I think I saw glimpses of his twin.
Rudy Fernandez was absolutely ridiculous as the Portland Trail Blazers worked over the Sacramento Kings in their first preseason game of the year. As Rudy subbed in for Martell Webster halfway during the first quarter, you knew it was only a matter of time before he’d showcase his skills.
Pistol Pete style.
Rudy has that same sense of flare.
An alley-oop, pass between Kings rookie center Jason Thompson’s legs, the reverse lay-up off the glass and lob after lob after lob – Fernandez did his best Pistol Pete impression in his debut. Six points and five assists never looked so good. Now you almost sense that everytime this guy touches the ball, the crowd is going to start the chants of “RU-DY, RU-DY, RU-DY”, just as they did on Tuesday night.
It was good to see Rudy and the rest of the fellas get the jitters out of the way early, particularly the rookies. Greg Oden was called for planting in the paint minutes into the game, Jerryd Bayless traveled once he got in, Rudy traveled and fouled Francisco Garcia during a corner jumper, Bayless carried the ball and all of a sudden you remember these guys are novices.
But you forget that quickly once Oden dunks the ball so hard the whole rim almost comes down, Bayless hits a couple jumpers and Rudy does Rudy.
Notice I haven’t even mentioned Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge or Travis Outlaw yet.
That’s how deep this team is.
Through the whole first quarter, I watched as Blazer after Blazer came off the bench and into the game. You forget any of these guys in the second unit could start. How Nate McMillan juggles this lineup I will never know. This team may be young, but they are deep and extremely talented. You can’t help but be anxious for the middle of December or maybe even earlier as these guys really start to gel.
Sure it was one game, a preseason game at that.
Sure it was against the Kings who were soft in the middle and without two starters. But still…..
You have to appreciate Rudy staring as Pistol Pete and applaud the supporting cast who prepares for an encore tonight against the Golden State.
pic via: si.com