DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was true to his word when center Chris Kaman announced he will start at center for the Mavs in tonight's game against the Washington Wizards.
Carlisle said on Tuesday that he was contemplating shuffling his starting lineup in an attempt to help his team get off to a more efficient start. In Kaman, Carlisle believes he'll provide the offensive bump that the Mavs (4-4) have been lacking.
"We get size, we get rebounding, we get -- he's a good player, he's a good all-around player,'' Carlisle said. "We get inside game, he can shoot the ball.
"There's a lot of good things.''
A 7-foot, 265-pounder, Kaman averages 14.3 points and six rebounds per game and is shooting 60.7 percent from the field. The Mavs need some of those points in the first quarter to help an offense that has suddenly become anemic during this three-game losing streak.
"I've just got to go and do my job and do the best I can out there,'' Kaman said. "I think I've been struggling a little bit lately, and it's frustrating for me.
"But nobody goes out there and try not to play hard or try to miss. We haven't shot the ball well the last three games and we chalked up three losses as a result of that, and (lack of) defense.''
Tonight's game will be the second start of the season for Kaman. His other start came during the Nov. 7 home game against Toronto when Elton Brand missed that contest so he could fly to New York for the birth of his daughter.
The Mavs signed Kaman to a one-year, $8 million contract over the summer with the sole purpose of him becoming their starting center. That time has finally arrived.
"That's where I've been for most of my career,'' Kaman said. "I probably feel a little bit more comfortable starting the game, but I've got to bring wtih the energy right away, I can't wait and get started late.
"It's got to come early and be ready, otherwise coach is the kind of coach he'll take you out and put someone in who'll be ready to go.''
-- Dwain Price
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