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Freeman: Blazers Coach Terry Stotts To Start J.J. Hickson At Center Vs. Lakers

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Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reported from Tuesday's practice that Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts named J.J. Hickson the starting center for next week's 2012-13 regular season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers. Hickson beat out Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland.

"He's earned it," Stotts said. "He's played well.""Meyers and Joel are playing well," Stotts said.

"But I think J.J. has earned the starting spot."

The move was widely expected but both Leonard and Freeland entered camp saying they would compete for the spot.

Hickson will join Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge. He is averaging 8.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 21.0 minutes per game so far during the 2012-13 preseason.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter