JaVale McGee got his first career triple-double against the Bulls Tuesday night — 12 rebounds, 12 blocked shots and 11 points.
And he has taken heat for it. He got there because the Wizards — down 18 points on their way to a big loss — left their starting center in and ran 3 minutes of plays for him to get him the final two points needed to reach the milestone. He got it with a dunk with 18 seconds left — then picked up a technical for hanging on the rim in celebration.
Analyst Kevin McHale called it “terrible” on NBATV right after the game ended. Others called him out, including Zach Lowe at The Point Forward at Sports Illustrated (and the Wizards get it there, too).
McGee doesn’t care what you think, as he told the Washington Post.
“I got a triple-double,” McGee said. “Who can say they got a triple-double? I’m not really worried about it.”
McGee said, if anything, he was upset that some tried to discredit his accomplishment by comparing it to other failed triple-double quests — such as the one eight years ago by Ricky Davis, who was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers when he attempted to rebound his own miss on his basket in order to get a triple-double in a win against Utah. Davis finished with 26 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds.
“I couldn’t understand how they was saying it was like Ricky Davis,” McGee said. “The thing about it is, I wasn’t trying to get a triple-double until they started running plays for me at the end. So, that’s totally different.”
It’s not different in intent. A triple double that comes out of the flow of a game is one thing, what we as fans don’t like is guys chasing stats at the expense of team. And when McGee is getting isolations 20 feet from the hoop, you can bet the Wizards are breaking the flow of their offense and the game to get the stats.
McGee got the 12 blocks in the flow of the game (he was going after everything, allowing Chicago to dominate on the offensive glass, but at least it was in the flow). But the points were chased. And that just feels cheap.