Joel Freeland got his chance Saturday night for the Portland Trail Blazers and didn’t waste a second in impressing his coach. That’s not a bad way to earn some more playing time.
Freeland, in Portland’s 112-101 victory over the slumping Detroit Pistons, saw more than 10 minutes of action and shot 4-of-6 from the floor for eight points. He also grabbed four rebounds.
“Joel’s been working really hard,” said Portland coach Terry Stotts. “Before (LaMarcus Aldridge) getting two fouls, I had planned on getting Joel in the game in tonight. It was just earlier than expected because of the fouls. I thought this was a game that kind of was set up for him to play. They played a little conventional with their big guys and it just seemed to make sense.”
Freeland has seen action in only 37 games and started one. He’s been averaging 8.5 minutes per game with 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds. Then he got his chance to do some good things against Detroit.
“I thought he did very well,” Stotts said. “He made things happen. He finished around the basket and he played with some energy.”
Freeland also showed promise in the Blazers’ recent 136-106 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. He was 3-of-3, scored six points and had three rebounds. In three minutes of action, that’s not bad stuff.
The Blazers like it that Freeland was ready, and that he has been practicing hard. He was ready when he was given a chance. In the final 17 games of the regular season, as they fight for a playoff spot, it would be wise for the Blazers to give him even more chances.