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NBA’s Best Night For Big Men Since 1978

NBA action on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day favored the big fellas inside the paint even though the league is increasingly becoming a perimeter, guard-oriented league. On Monday night, five players grabbed at least 20 rebounds in a game. It was the first time five NBA players had broken the 20-rebound plateau on the same night since the 1984-85 season. But those guys also scored at least 15 points, and it was the first time five players had achieved the 15-point, 20-rebound performance on the same night since way back before the contemporary game, in 1978.

Of the five guys who accomplished the feat in ’78, four of them are in the Hall of Fame. Via ESPN Stats & Info:

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time since Feb. 24, 1978, that five players had at least 15 points and 20 rebounds on the same day. The players who did it that day were Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Wes Unseld, Artis Gilmore and Swen Nater — the first four of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

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Here are the five from last night:

1. Anderson Varejao had 18 points and 21 rebounds in a loss to the Mavericks.

2. Joakim Noah had 17 points, 21 rebounds, 6 assists and two steals in that exciting OT win over the Lakers.

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3. DeAndre Jordan had 16 points, 21 rebounds and four blocks in LA’s win in Detroit. He also had seven dunks (including this pretty reverse), which is the most by any player in a game this season.

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4. LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 20 rebounds in a disappointing blowout to the Rockets. Plus, Dwight lifted off. But Aldridge can rest easy since it was his his third 25-point, 20-rebound game of the season, which is pretty exclusive company this year.

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5. Zach Randolph had 23 points and 20 rebounds in a loss to the visiting Pelicans. It was his first 20-20 game of the season, but he had 10 offensive rebounds (resulting in 10 points) and 10 defensive rebounds, but according to ESPN States & Info, “It was his third career game with at least 20 points, 10 offensive rebounds and 10 defensive rebounds, most among all active players.”

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But there were a host of other big rebounding performances last night, too, with Pau Gasol and Al Jefferson falling one rebound short of the 20-rebound plateau and old favorite Chuck Hayes putting together a double-double for Toronto in their loss.

What do you think?

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