Nikola Vucevic did his part for the Orlando Magic against the Miami Heat, and even though his team ultimately lost, 112-110, it was still a night to remember for the dynamic second-year player out of USC.
His 29 rebounds are a franchise-high mark for the Magic, topping Shaquille O'Neal's 28-rebound game back in 1993. Of course, Shaq's overall line was a 24-point, 28-rebound, 15-block monstrosity of a performance that ended in a narrow win for the Magic.
I think Nic Vucevic has 74 rebounds against the Heat today.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) January 1, 2013
Pfffffft. Vucevic couldn't even get a 20-30 game. ONLY 20-29. Slacker.
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) January 1, 2013
Vucevic put up a career-high 20 points on the Heat, but the real story was the 29-rebound night he had, besting his previous high of 17 rebounds.
While his big night came with an extra five minutes under his belt, it was nonetheless impressive, as he grabbed just two rebounds in the overtime period, coming just a single rebound short of the rarely celebrated 30-rebound game.
Vucevic's 29 rebounds mark the highest total on the boards this season, surpassing Kevin Love's 24-rebound output in late November against the Sacramento Kings.
Between Vucevic, Andrew Bynum's 30-rebound game in April and Love's 31-rebound game (which was part of his 30-30 game) back in October 2010, we've experienced a rash of rebounding explosions recently.
The last time a player ended up grabbing 29 boards in a game before Love's 30-30 game was nearly a decade prior, when Dikembe Mutombo hauled in 29 against the Toronto Raptors in January 2001.
In fact, there were 17 instances of players grabbing 29 rebounds or more between 1988 and 2001, but none between Mutombo in 2001 and Love in 2010.