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Daily Digits: A lesson from history on the Wizards’ rebounding woes

NBA: Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Daily Digits is a new daily feature we’re doing at Bullets Forever this year where we take a look at stats about the Wizards. We’ll dive into the numbers, add some context, and discuss how they affect the product on the court.

Today’s stat is the single-game franchise record for rebounds in a game, which is...

37

On Tuesday, the Wizards reminded us that Walt Bellamy set a franchise record which will probably never be broken.

There hasn’t been a 37 rebound game league-wide since 1970, when Tom Boerwinkle pulled down 37 in a 152-123 win over the Phoenix Suns, who were in their second year of existence and playing their fifth game in seven nights, with a sixth to come the following night in Milwaukee.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a full box score from Bellamy’s big night against the St. Louis Hawks, but when you look at Boerwinkle’s game in 1970, you can see why he and Boerwinkle were able to grab so many boards: They were everywhere. Teams played at a far faster rate than what we see today and didn’t shoot nearly as well, which meant there were far more chances to clean the glass. The Bulls and Suns combined to miss 124 shots in that game!

A lot has changed in the 54 years since, Bellamy’s big night, but you’d think a team collectively should be able to get to that number every game, right? Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. They’ve failed to reach 37 rebounds on four separate occasions this season. Remarkably, three of those came with Dwight Howard — their leading rebounder — in the lineup.