HOUSTON -- There's a good chance that Chris Kaman had no business playing in Saturday night's game against the Houston Rockets.
The Dallas Mavericks' center sprained his left ankle during last Thursday's 97-94 win over the Phoenix Suns. But that didn't keep Kaman out of the starting lineup of the Mavs' game against the Rockets.
However, it was clear to coach Rick Carlisle that Kaman could hardly move laterally. And it was affecting what the Mavs were trying to do at the defensive end of the floor.
Still, Kaman was able to gut out 19 minutes while finishing with 20 points and seven rebounds.
“I tell you what, Kaman showed a lot of guts even being out there tonight,’’ Carlisle said. “His ankle is purple, if you want to go look at it in the training room.
“He strapped it up and went out there and gave us everything that he had. He’s obviously struggling laterally, but to pick up the scoring numbers that he did is phenomenal, and it proves a lot to the team about what he’s about.’’
Asked about his "purple'' left ankle, Kaman said: "Yeah, it's a beauty.''
Kaman converted 9-of-13 shots and had eight points in the first period when the Mavs got off to a 39-24 start. The 39 points were the most the Mavs scored in the first period this season, and Kaman was right in the middle of all the action.
But after playing 13:06 in the first half, Kaman could only play 5:29 in the second half. And in the locker room after the game, he was clearly limping and favoring that left ankle.
“I was hurting the team a little bit defensively with the pick-and-rolls with (James) Harden,’’ Kaman said. “I didn’t want them to take advantage of that and put us in a bad way.
“I went and re-taped it at halftime and got some ice on it, and came out and it stiffen. I was ready to go back in, but coach went a different direction with a smaller, mobile lineup and we got it done.’’
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter