Tyson Chandler averaged a double-double in 2008-07 with the New Orleans Hornets and, mostly due to injury, has been unable to obtain such lofty numbers since. However, Chandler is moving in that direction and, as of the past seven games, rather quickly.
He enters tonight's second of a three-game road trip against the Boston Celtics averaging 10.2 points, bolstered by a 16.9-point average over the past seven games, and 9.3 rebounds. He's posted consecutive double-doubles and has four in his last seven games. But, other than sounding good, is a double-double necessarily a benchmark Chandler strives to reach?
"As a big guy you want to be in double figures rebounding," said Chandler, who has done that in two of his previous nine seasons. "Scoring, I think, is just opportunities. If you get opportunities to score as a big guy and you get good looks you can average a double-double. But, for me, the impact for a big guy, you want to be in double-digit rebounding, you want to have your blocks up and you want to keep the opponent’s field-goal percentage down."
That's music to coach Rick Carlisle's ears. The coach has rewarded his big man's defensive determination with more offensive opportunities and Chandler's been cashing them in.
Tonight's game offers a far more rugged challenge for the Mavs' 7-foot-1, 235-pounder. The Celtics present wider, thicker bodies inside than most Western Conference teams and especially so now that 6-10, 280-pound Kendrick Perkins is back in the lineup. Shaquille O'Neal might not play tonight. He sat out Thursday's practice and Boston coach Doc Rivers revealed that Shaq might be dealing with an Achilles issue. The 325-pounder's minutes have been drastically reduced over the past four games.
Jermaine O'Neal remains sidelined, but Chandler and the Mavs also must deal with the shorter (6-9), but heftier (289 pounds) Glen Davis, who is averaging 12.1 points and 5.3 rebounds. He uses that extra-large, low-center-of-gravity frame to gain positioning.
"It’s always different in the East when you have guys that are a little more big, more physical, pack the paint. So, it’s always a different game," Chandler said. "It’s always fun to clash the West Coast runners-and-gunners against the brutes of the East. This is another one of those challenges. For us, we have to allow our ball movement, our floor spacing to overwhelm their defense as far as packing the paint."