“I don’t remember us having a game like that where we got outrebounded that bad,” Bobcats guard Ben Gordon said, after the Bobcats were outrebounded by 29 in a home loss to the Indiana Pacers. Actually, it would be weird if Gordon could remember being outrebounded that bad, because it’s literally never happened in the team’s history. In his post-game blog, the Observer’s Rick Bonnell wrote, “I started covering the NBA in 1988 and I can’t remember a team being outrebounded by 29.” At least these guys have their answers ready if they’re ever forced to testify on rebounding in a Senate hearing.
I can understand Gordon’s remarks, which were made in a post-game environment, while he’s physically and emotionally drained and presumably without an online search engine nearby. But it seems odd for Bonnell to just throw that line out in an article and not follow up with a quick query to see how often a team has been outrebounded by 29 or more since 1988. Because it’s a blog, we know he’s got internet access, and considering that the Miami Heat were just outrebounded by 28 a few days ago, it might not exactly be a black swan event. So I decided to undertake the search myself. I put on a fedora, hummed the theme to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and googled “outrebounded by 30.” I actually didn’t get much, so I tried it again, this time using a hyphen between the “out” and “rebounded.” Still nothing. Hmm. This was harder than I thought. It was starting to seem like Rick was right not to bother. Or maybe he had bothered and couldn’t finish; he was the digital equivalent of Chester Cobblepot in Goonies.
Finally I tried “outrebounded” as two separate words, “out” and “rebounded,” no hyphen. Pay dirt! There was a 2007 thread in Warriorsworld.net that complained of Golden State being outrebounded/out-rebounded/out rebounded by 30 three times in that season, the latest of which had happened against the Lakers. Because I couldn’t resist, and because I wanted to continue not thinking about the Bobcats-Pacers game, I went and checked the recap. Here’s the weird part: in the recap, a game in which the Lakers won 115-113 and “out rebounded” the Warriors 63-33, there’s no mention of the huge rebounding disparity whatsoever (the headline is, “Kobe Scores 43 as Lakers Win Fifth in a Row” and—brace yourself—there’s an inordinate amount of coverage devoted to Kobe Bryant’s performance—how naïve we were back then!). No wonder why Rick can’t remember such an event happening; apparently nobody bothered to document it until last night.
As far as last night’s game, which I also wish I couldn’t remember, it actually started pretty well. First, the Bobcats took way longer than usual to fall behind by 20; it didn’t happen until the second half. Second, the Pacers scored 19 fast break points in the first half, and while this wasn’t a exactly a good thing, it at least offered a bit of variety to the beatdown. The Bobcats usually allow a ton of second chances, can’t cover the big men, and leave the wings wide open for 3-pointers. In fact, if someone were to do a supercut of all the open 3-point shots the Bobcats have allowed this season, by the time you finished watching it you’d look like William Shatner. So I was appreciative of the pleasant change of pace. Also, the game was at home, which meant I didn’t have to deal with the Pacers’ emblem at center court, which I always find distractingly similar to the old Guns N’ Roses logo:
But in the second half, it all went downhill. Make that down George Hill, who had 18 and 7 and got to the line 8 times. Plus there was the usual Paul George and David West demolition squad. Finally, Roy Hibbert (18 points/7 rebounds/4 blocks) didn’t just go Charles Barkley, he went Jamie Lannister: “A Hibbert always pays his debts,” he declared, referring to the $500 he promised to pay his teammates if they held the Bobcats under 80 points. Two points to make here: 1) I appreciated the Game of Thrones reference, although I don’t believe that Lannister ever added, “I guess I have to go find an ATM,” as Hibbert did. 2) Is this a potential bounty scandal?
Probably not, though when it comes to the Bobcats, I’d actually prefer it if they did have a bounty scandal. At least it would mean they were doing something well. They’ve just been routed 4 times in 5 nights—twice by House Indiana—with rebounding that Nat King Cole would want to forget. Let’s hope the weekend brings better tidings.
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