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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NBA REPORT

Wilt's feats dwarf Love's 'record'


NEW YORK — What were the odds of Kevin Love's double-double streak ending at 54 with a resounding thud against an escort service like the pedal-to-the-metal Warriors?

Would somebody kindly explain how he only managed to get six shots (making one; 4-for-6 free throws) in 33 minutes. Oh, I see; David Lee: defensive specialist. I should have known.

Extraordinary 76ers' statistician Harvey Pollack, whose 2010-11 yearbook is a must buy/read, generously provides clarifications, err, corrections and amplifications concerning Wilt Chamberlain's double-double record.

Below is Pollack's substance:

Wilt hit double-doubles 968 times out of 1,045 games played. His longest streak was 220 (not 227 as purported by the Elias Bureau) starting in 1959-60 with 15, 1960-61 with 79, 1961-62 with 80, all with the Philadelphia Warriors. His streak continued with San Francisco in 1964-65 with 46.

Battling Nate Thurmond for rebounds when he was with San Francisco, Wilt also had a streak of 219 starting with 52 for the Warriors and 76ers in 1964-65. He had 79 in 1965-66, 81 in 1966-67, and ended with seven in 1967-68 all with 76ers.

OK, now the critical question is posed by e-mail; does Pollack know which team ended Wilt's first/longest streak?

And did it end due to a lack of rebounds or points?

In no time at all, Pollack replied after some research. "I learned that the game was at St. Louis and Wilt was thrown out of the game with four minutes elapsed. He had one rebound and six points when ejected. I'm trying to find out what referee heaved him. However, my source hasn't let me know if he can garner that information yet.

"I can tell you this, in 1962 when Wilt played every minute of every game, except one. I checked it out and found out that Norm Drucker (still going strong in Florida) was the referee who threw him out with seven minutes to play.

"Wilt was thrown out with three technical fouls against the Lakers. Richie Powers was the ref who called three technicals on Kevin Loughery and Bernard King on Nov. 8, 1978. Larry O'Brien ruled the final seven minutes of that game had to be replayed since three technical fouls are illegal.

"Flash — I just heard from my source that Red Oates was the referee who ejected Wilt for protesting too vehemently a foul called on teammate Wayne Hightower."

Wilt, by the way (a term that certainly doesn't do the following feat justice) is the lone player with a double triple-double. That occurred when Philadelphia played Detroit (poor Joe Strawder) on Feb. 2, 1968.

Not even Oscar Robertson amassed 22 points, 25 rebounds and 21 assists in one game.

* * * * *

If Johnny Most were alive and lighting himself on fire while doing radio broadcasts, he would be mortified how preposterously prejudice Tommy Heinsohn is when "analyzing" Celtics games.

Saturday night his rooting reached an all-time loss of objectivity. He spent 90 percent of his TV time ragging the refs.

"Call a foul! Call a foul! Call a foul!" he bellowed at one point late in the game when Paul Pierce fell down at midcourt while being harassed by two Hornets.

Even when replays show Heinsohn is loud wrong —and that happens constantly as everyone but him can plainly see — he remains unrepentant or shy about favoring the Celtics the very next time or 10.

I hate other team's homers — ex-players, former coaches, shilling almost to a man — almost as much as Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith make me cringe. But I cannot get enough of Tommy Gun's funky outrage whenever Boston doesn't get the benefit of the whistle or a non-call.

It's great entertainment!

I never touch the remote once. Not even during commercials. I don't ever want to miss a moment of Heinsohn's histrionics.

* * * * *

I wouldn't go here if the ending wasn't happy so here's the story. After last Sunday's Knicks-Pacers game at the Garden, Indiana radio voice and former coach Slick Leonard suffered a heart attack on the team bus on the way to the airport.

Eyewitnesses thought he was going to die but the trainer revived him.

The previous week, Mel Daniels was in New York for a scouting meeting presided over by Knicks president Donnie Walsh. A few years ago, he underwent heart surgery. Familiar chest pains sent him moseying to the team's heart specialist where it was determined one of his arteries was blocked.

Would it kill him if he waited a week?

No. So he went on a scheduled trip he wanted to make.

And low and behold,last week, Slick and Mel, the Pacers' coach and MVP center of the franchise's three (ABA) championships, reunited in an Indianapolis hospital for heart procedures on the same day.

Leonard was first on the operating table and became the delighted implant recipient of a defibrillator. Shortly before Daniels got rolled out of his room to have his artery unclogged a concerned visitor knocked on his door. It was Slick.

Peter Vecsey covers the NBAfor the New York Post.


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