Oden better in
second summer game

LAS VEGAS — Top pick Greg Oden’s second summer league game with the Portland Trail Blazers was better than his first, but still not up to the high profile center’s expectations.

Two days after he was disqualified with 10 fouls in 20 minutes, Oden had 13 points, five rebounds and nine fouls Sunday in a 72-68 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Summer league rules allow for 10 personals.

“I felt more comfortable, but we lost so it doesn’t matter,” Oden said. “I’m all about winning.”

Oden picked up his ninth foul with 3 minutes, 23 seconds to play, but didn’t foul out. Fouling out twice, with double the amount of fouls at his disposal from this winter at Ohio State, would have been embarrassing, he said.

“The guys tell me it won’t be like this during the regular season,” said Oden, who scored four points in the final minute. “They are trying out new guys (referees) who are trying to make a good impression.”

Oden had six points, three rebounds and three fouls in 14 first half minutes. He picked up his first foul 36 seconds into the game, but appeared more comfortable. He had three fouls in the first 2:59 Friday and spent most of the game on the bench.

The 7-foot, 250-pound Oden had three blocks in the first quarter and took out some frustration with a backboard-rattling dunk that resulted in a technical for hanging on the rim. He finished with four blocks.

Diop looks to
develop offense

LAS VEGAS — The last time Avery Johnson had a center who was in position to cash in big but needed an occasional sneaker to the seat, the results were stunningly good.

Dallas Mavericks fans can only hope the scenario that made Erick Dampier a gazillionaire will repeat itself with DeSagana Diop.

Johnson is doing all he can to make sure that Diop gets a chance to follow Dampier’s blueprint. It was Johnson who was teammates with Dampier in the 2003-04 season at Golden State. It was Johnson who was on Dampier like beads of sweat making sure he worked harder than he’d ever worked to become a $63-million man.

World tops U.S. 7-2
in Futures game

SAN FRANCISCO — Chin-Lung Hu is known for his slick fielding at shortstop more than a big bat. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ prospect showed Sunday he can hit a little too.

Hu had a pair of RBI hits and stole a base to lead the World team to a 7-2 victory over the U.S. team in the All-Star Futures game.

“I want to be able to do both,” Hu said. “I’m not a power hitter. I’m a good opposite field hitter. I’m not an A-Rod who’s going to hit 40, 50, 60 homers.”

The Double-A shortstop from Taiwan showed off some of his talents for former Giants great Juan Marichal’s World team that featured players from 11 countries and territories.

WNBA report

•Shock 111, Mercury 82

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Katie Smith scored 20 points, Deanna Nolan added 18, and the Detroit Shock used a 72-point second half to rout Phoenix.

•Fever 86, Sky 70

INDIANAPOLIS — Tamika Catchings had 16 points and a career-high 11 assists to lead the Fever.

Reserve guard Cathy Joens led Chicago with 16 points.

•Liberty 71, Monarchs 61

NEW YORK — Erin Thorn and Cathrine Kraayeveld scored 13 points apiece, pacing the Liberty.

Rebekkah Brunson scored 18 points and Nicole Powell had 11 for Sacramento (12-7).

•Comets 79, Lynx 67

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Tina Thompson scored 23 points to help Houston beat the Lynx, giving the Comets their first road win of the season.

Lawmakers, leagues
look at metal bats

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The collision of an aluminum bat and a baseball produces a distinctive “ping,” a sound of summer heard on youth ballfields across the country.

But a small though vocal contingent of lawmakers, coaches and parents have tried to drown out the “ping” with calls to ban metal bats. The bats are dangerous, critics contend, because balls can fly off of them at high speeds that can injure younger, less experienced fielders with little time to react.

“In the end, it’s a question of safety,” said Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Carroll, who introduced a bill this month in the legislature that would make kids under 18 use only wood bats. His proposal comes after the New York City Council passed a metal bat ban in high school games, to the chagrin of sporting goods companies and organizing bodies like USA Baseball and Little League Baseball. They say there is no evidence proving wood bats are safer than aluminum or composite bats.

“We think no injury is acceptable,” said Little League president Stephen Keener, from his office overlooking the field where the Little League World Series is played each year with aluminum bats.

“But at the same time, we’ll never be able to regulate injuries out of the game.”

Vindicator staff⁄wire reports

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