DALLAS -- Chris Kaman got his wish.
After playing a total of 44 minutes in his first two games this past Saturday and Monday, the Dallas Mavericks' center wanted coach Rick Carlisle to toss some more minutes his way. Carlisle gave in and awarded Kaman with 33 minutes Wednesday night against Toronto.
Kaman responded with 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists in a workmanlike performance. He also hit the baseline jump hook that put the Mavs up 109-102 with 41.4 seconds left and seal the victory that padded the Mavs' record to 4-1 for the first time since the 2007-'08 season.
In the aftermath, Carlisle noted that he is alwsys aware of not trying to run up Kaman's minutes. But with Shawn Marion (knee) and Elton Brand (wife gave birth to a girl) out, Kaman made his first start of the season and turned in an admirable performance.
"I wanted to be careful with his minutes and try not to play him in too many stretches beyond six minutes,'' Carlisle said. "He is doing better physically and made good plays.
"His postup in the last (41.4 seconds) was a huge play. But right now it's important for me to understand that he has to be brought along a certain way and we can't just throw him out there for seven or eight minutes and expect him to go the right way.''
Kaman, who missed considerable time during training camp and the first two regular season games while nursing a strained right calf, admittedly was tired after the game.
"I anticipated playing a little bit more with Elton being with his wife for the baby and everything, but I didn't know it woujld be so many,'' Kaman said. "There's still some cardio work I need to get in, but it's going to be hard to play and try to balance all that.
"But I'm definitely not in the shape that I was before I got injured.''
Maybe not, but Kaman's presence was huge for the Mavs against the Rapptors. He was 8-of-15 from the field and kept hitting timely buckets for the Mavs.
"I'll be honest with you, I get tired,'' Kaman said. "I'm dragging a little bit and my defense shows.''
-- Dwain Price
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