Sunday, January 29, 2023
Jan. 29, 2023

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Blazers give Kaman room to work

Veteran has been team's consistent contributor

By , Columbian Trail Blazers Writer

TUALATIN, Ore. — Portland Trail Blazers big man Chris Kaman has been the team’s most consistent contributor in the first two games of the season, putting up almost identical numbers from the preseason.

Averaging 12 points and six rebounds isn’t something new for Kaman, who has made his way in the league by doing that type of work. What is new for Kaman is he is enjoying the freedom to work in the post and have the Blazers’ space at his disposal.

“Definitely,” said Kaman when asked about how much he likes Portland’s floor space. “I think it will get better and better. I’m figuring that out because for all the years we didn’t really have as many great shooters as we have on most teams, so guys don’t really double.”

Kaman has flashed his passing ability, something he wasn’t able to display at his most recent stops.

“It’s a lot of open space for me a do a little bit of work and make plays for people as well as finish opportunities for myself.”

Kaman says that it’s still an adjustment for the Blazers to have another dependable player to throw the ball to on the block.

“So far this year he’s made good passes out of the post to shooters,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I think he’s able to get to the rim and get to the paint because there’s more space.

Kaman is still riding along the learning curve, having to learn both the center and power forward spots in Portland’s offense.

“I’m still learning the plays. I’m still messing up plays. Coach is still on my butt about it. I’m going to get there. I don’t know the 4 spots as much as I should,” he said.

After their loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday when they shot 26 percent in the fourth quarter, the Blazers get no respite. Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors come to town on Sunday under the direction of new coach Steve Kerr.

“Offensively, they are a very potent team,” Stotts said about the Warriors. “They have a lot of movement, off-ball screening, not as much one-on-one (as last season).”

The Warriors beat the same Kings team Portland fell to on Friday by 18 points on opening night.

Meyers Leonard returned to practice after missing almost a week with an upper respiratory illness.

He said he’s unsure whether he will be available or if he’ll have a minutes restriction if he does play on Sunday, but says the worst is over.

“I’m a pretty active guy and couldn’t even get out of bed the first three days,” he said. “It felt pretty good today. I’m going to come back later and do more running.”

Columbian Trail Blazers Writer