- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2009

Greg Oden took another step in his rookie progression with a second solid performance in less than a week.

The 7-foot center had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Portland Trail Blazers in a 100-87 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.

“I’ve got to keep it consistent, keep it going,” he said. “The next game, try to do it again. And the next game, and the next game, and the next game.”

On Monday, Oden had a career-high 25 points and 15 rebounds over the Milwaukee Bucks. He had 10 points and 8 rebounds before fouling out against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, but bounced back against the Wizards.

Oden, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft who’s playing as a rookie after missing last season because of knee surgery, said it feels like he’s getting closer.

While some of his success may have to do with certain matchups opposing teams present, the confidence Oden gains from big nights will lead to more consistency.

“We want to see Oden stretch out and be a force and I thought tonight he showed us that,” coach Nate McMillan said.

Oden, however, was only truly satisfied with one aspect of his night against the Wizards.

“I’m satisfied that we won,” he said.

Portland led by as many as 22 points. Brandon Roy scored 22 points and tied a franchise high with 10 steals.

Caron Butler had 31 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who have lost nine of 11.

“I thought we could have done better as a group,” Butler said. “When our guys come in, we have to realize no one is feeling sorry for us.”

The injury-depleted Wizards, who have been playing without All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas and center Brendan Haywood all season so far, lost 117-97 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. They didn’t fare any better against the Blazers.

Portland went up 19-8 early, but the Wizards were surprisingly resilient. Juan Dixon hit a 3-pointer to close Washington to 22-20, before Darius Songaila tied it with a jumper.

The Wizards could not pull ahead, and the Blazers responded to with a 12-2 run, capped by Travis Outlaw’s jumper, to make it 36-24.

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