Dancing With Noah

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Guess Pau’s Strange: Induction into the 20/10 Club (and revisiting Charles Barkley)

We used to get 20s & 10s more frequently than we do these days. In the 2000s, we’ve seen at least two players average twenty points and ten rebounds in every season until now. We have scorers who are just OK rebounders and rebounders who aren’t so offensively evolved. But I’m not here to deceive you. This isn’t about that 20/10 club, it’s about the 20-rebound/10-assist club that Pau Gasol, (the greatest Spanish-born NBA player in league history) joined on Wednesday night in a critical victory for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Pau  Gasol 20-10                             

Gasol has re-focused himself since his return from injury and is averaging a dynamic 17.5ppg, 12.1rpg and 6.6apg on 51% shooting in eight April games. His performance against the shallow Rockets front court on Wednesday night was just a further reminder of why all of us thought this Lakers team would be so much better than they have been this season.

As is and has so often been the case, a unique performance this season has opened up my eyes to another great performance from days gone by. This time, it was Charles Barkley on April 4th, 1986. Barkley, a 6’4”-ish power forward, went for 27 points, 22 rebounds and 10 assists on 12-18 shooting. I’m not calling this out just because Charles Barkley is a member of the 20/10 club. Certainly Tim Duncan’s 21-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist, 8-block game—in the NBA Finals—is a more dynamic and historical event. What’s more impressive is that it seems like Barkley shows up on every other “Guess I’m Strange” post I do:

  •         John Henson’s filter: 17pts/20rebs/7blks. Barkley achieved the same feat on November 28th, 1986
  •         Spencer Hawse’s filter: 18pts/16rebs/8assts/7blks. Yep, Barkley’s same game on 11/28/86: 31pts, 21rebs, 9asts, 7blks
  •         Reggie Evans’s filter: 16 FTAs/24rebs. On December 9th, 1987, Chuck had 38pts, 24rebs and attempted 21 FTs.
  •         Pau Gasol’s aforementioned line: 20/10

This post seemed appropriate after Henry Abbott’s interview on TrueHoop TV with Tim Grover where Grover (Michael Jordan’s long-time personal trainer and the current trainer for Kobe and D. Wade) singled out Barkley as the greatest athlete he’s ever worked with. When you think about the size and speed of Barkley (his 76ers fast breaks were frightening) and what he was able to accomplish as a player who measured between 6’4” and 6’6”, it’s hard to fathom. In 1987, he led the league with 14.6rpg. That same season he averaged 23ppg, 4.9apg and 1.8 steals with a TS of 66%. The only other players in league history put up the 23/14/4 are Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Unbelievable, Barkley and unbelievable trails we find ourselves on when we stray just a little bit off the paths that are paved for us.  

Now let’s all kick back and soak in the animal style of the one and only, Charles Barkley:

Guess Spencer’s Strange

The usual elements were in place for something statistically outlandish to happen on Saturday night, March 16th, 2013: An NBA game with little-to-no discernible historic purpose shaded over by an eye-catching stat line from Seattle’s favorite Republican NBA player: Spencer Hawes:

The game: Central Division-leading Indiana Pacers at the Andrew Bynum-less Philadelphia 76ers

The Matchup: Roy Hibbert vs. Spencer Hawes

The Assumption: Hibbert and Hawes guarded each other (I wasn’t present for the game and didn’t see the matchups, so this will remain an assumption).

The line: Spencer Hawes: 18 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, 7 blocks

The history: Hawes becomes just the sixth player since the 1985-86 season to accomplish the 18 x 16 x 8 x 7 line:

 Guess Spencer's Strange - 03-17-13

As is often the case with these abnormal stat lines, the company Hawes just joined is about as decorated as you can get. Every other player on the list has won the MVP award and there are a total of 11 NBA championships between them. The games listed above are games for the ages; the numbers pop off the page and while they’re random in every sense of the word, each time this particular line has occurred, it’s resulted in a win.

Beyond honoring Hawes for his performance on Saturday night I want to acknowledge a couple of things about Charles Barkley. For starters, he’s the only guy on the list under 6’11”. Barkley blocked seven shots in a game? And in the same game he wrecked the 86-87 Trail Blazers for 31pts, 21rebs and 9asts? I shake my head at numbers like this. If it happened today, we’d be discourteously shoving each other out of the way to anoint his game as one of the best of all time. To add a little more to the bizarro element of Barkley’s performance: He didn’t even start.

As much as I want to dive deeper into the on-court life of Charles Barkley, the emphasis is on the magnificence of Spencer Hawes on this strange spring night in 2013.

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