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Kaman is avoiding foul trouble, playing longer

Times Staff Writer

Chris Kaman is putting up nice statistics so far this season.

A big reason why?

He is staying on the court.

Kaman is playing 38.1 minutes a game, a large upgrade from the 29.0 he averaged in 75 games last season.

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So far, he is avoiding unnecessary fouls and staying out of trouble in that category all together. Kaman, who did have three fouls in the first half Saturday against New Orleans, has yet to pick up more than four fouls in a game.

He fouled out of six games last season, twice the amount of any teammate.

“I’ve got to be careful when I take my fouls,” he said. “You don’t want to get that first and second foul in the first quarter and then you are kind of stuck playing behind the rest of the game.”

Kaman averaged 18.4 points and 14.1 rebounds through the team’s first 11 games.

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He began training camp 20 pounds lighter this season, coming in at 255, and said the extra mobility is helping him to avoid needless fouls.

It also helps him maintain his ability to block shots without picking up fouls. Kaman is fifth in the league in that category at 2.7, after averaging 1.55 last season.

“We’ve been pretty successful so far this year in what we have,” he said. “It has to do with blocking shots, trying to get myself in the right position and staying out of foul trouble.”

Coach Mike Dunleavy said if Kaman does get into foul trouble, the team looks to quickly protect him.

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“Put him on a weaker player or we double team,” Dunleavy said. “The other part too is dribble penetration, having to come and block shots, but he’s been better.”

Both the Clippers and New Orleans Hornets played the tail end of consecutive games Saturday.

New Orleans Coach Byron Scott said the fatigue of playing on consecutive nights is a poor excuse for a defeat.

“I think most of it is mental,” he said. “I just think it’s a bunch of crock. It’s a bailout to me. Good teams don’t complain about that stuff.”

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Corey Maggette (strained right hamstring) did not play his fourth straight game and Brevin Knight (strained right groin) sat out his second.

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jonathan.abrams@latimes.com


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