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Blazers’ Whiteside Credits Stotts for Improved Comfort Level

Following a career-high 33 points, Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside took a moment to acknowledge coach Terry Stotts’ impact.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Trail Blazers’ 114-99 loss to the Nuggets did feature a highlight: a new career high for Hassan Whiteside. The former Heat center bested his previous single-game high of 32 points, a feat achieved in the 2016-17 season, with a 33-point outburst against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets.

When asked about his improved performance, Whiteside explained to The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman that coach Terry Stotts’ support is acting as a catalyst.

“I’ve got a coach playing me,” Whiteside said, when asked why he’s flourished recently. “Coach (has) been ... letting me play out there and my teammates are trusting me.”

Along with his impressive point total, Whiteside attempted and connected on his first three-point shot of the season. The 30-year-old big man explained that his outside shooting is a skill that he is focused on improving.

“I’ve been shooting 200 or 300 of them in practice,” he said. “I’ve been shooting them in shootaround. I shoot them all the time. So when it is a situation like that, I feel comfortable.

“I hate when people always say, ‘Why are you working on that? You don’t do it during the game.’ Well, maybe that’s why you’re working on it.”

Here are the highlights from Whiteside’s career night against the Nuggets:

Whiteside is currently averaging 16.2 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. His current scoring and rebounding averages trail only his output from the 2016-17 season.