Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Garnett's Long Streak on Rebounds is Over

This is the kind of streak that is impressive not because of brilliance or fortitude, but due to its longevity. After all, if you're 6-foot-11 and one of the great players of the NBA's modern era, getting one rebound (or more) in a game is not that difficult.

However, when the Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett failed to get a single rebound against the Philadelphia 76ers this past Saturday, according to ESPN Boston, he "was shut out on the glass for the first time since Jan. 21, 1997 -- when he was a mere 20 years old." Garnett only played 23 minutes out of a possible 48 against Philly, thus hindering his chances for a rebound somewhat. Nevertheless, the streak is over, as I learned today watching ESPN's show "Around the Horn."

Though we know that Garnett went nearly 16 years between rebound-less games, I could not find any articles that gave the exact number of consecutive games in which he had secured at least one rebound. Thanks to the abundant resources at Basketball Reference, I was able to answer this question without too much difficulty. One can simply go to the page on Garnett, scroll down a bit until a grey horizontal links bar appears, and then click on "Game Logs."

There, I found that KG had pulled down at least one board in his final 42 games of 1996-97. Next, I needed to find out how many games Garnett had played in each season from 1997-98 to 2011-12, as we know he got a rebound in each game he played during that span. Finally, I ascertained that Garnett had gotten at least one rebound in his first 19 games of 2012-13, before being shut out vs. the 76ers. Here are all the consecutive games in which Garnett had gotten a rebound.

1996-97: 42 2002-03: 82 2008-09: 57
1997-98: 82 2003-04: 82 2009-10: 69
1998-99: 47 2004-05: 82 2010-11: 71
1999-00: 81 2005-06: 76 2011-12: 60
2000-01: 81 2006-07: 76 2012-13: 19
2001-02: 81 2007-08: 71 TOTAL: 1,159

Garnett thus had grabbed at least one rebound in 1,159 straight games. No wonder he was exasperated (seemingly in a humorous way) after the Philly game upon learning he had come up empty on the boards. This page has videos of both Garnett's post-game statement (warning: salty language) and the play on which Garnett claimed he should have been credited with a rebound. Unfortunately for KG, a teammate pulled the rebound away from him!

Another thing to note from the above chart is Garnett's durability. For several seasons, he played in all or nearly all of his team's 82 games (the 1998-99 season was shortened to 50 games due to an owners' lockout).

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