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Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Board work makes easy work of Wolves

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- Tyson Chandler has this habit of sometimes perceiving his energy and level of play as unacceptably low, and then taking that annoyance out on his opponent.

Latest example: Wednesday night, third quarter, Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks.

Chandler was out of the game at the 5:29 mark of the first quarter after picking up a second foul. He didn't get back until the 3:49 mark of the second quarter and he picked up a third foul with 18.2 seconds to play in the half and the Mavs leading by 12.

He came into this one with the idea of pushing the Mavs over the top against the NBA's best rebounding team and rebounding machine Kevin Love. Chandler headed to the locker room with four boards, half as many as Love, and two points.

Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler outrebounded league leader Kevin Love, 18-15.
"I was more concerned with my energy level and the way I was playing out there," Chandler said. "I play a certain style and my team thrives on it so I was a little upset at myself for allowing myself to get in foul trouble and not give my team the lift that I wanted to give. Even though we played great in the first half, I didn't feel like I gave the team what I normally give them."

So he went out in the third quarter and set a franchise record for most boards in a quarter with 14. The team had 17. He grabbed 10 of Minnesota's 24 missed shots in the period. The previous record for a quarter was 12 rebounds by Popeye Jones (April 6, 1996) and Lorenzo Williams (Feb. 21, 1996).

"I wasn't planning on that," Chandler said, laughing. "But, I'll take all that. That works out even better."

The Mavs finshed with a season-high 50 rebounds. This on a night when Dirk Nowitkzi and Caron Butler each had one. Still, the Mavs grabbed four more than Wolves in the end and won the battle by four in the second half after an even first half.

Chandler finished with a game-high 18 rebounds, three more than Love. Mavs backup center Brendan Haywood nabbed six of his 10 boards in the first half while Chandler sat with fouls. Shawn Marion continued his heady board work with eight, giving him 23 in the last three games.

"He [Love] still got a lot of rebounds, so it's hard to keep him away from the defensive rebounds," Haywood said. "But, we wanted to eliminate his offensive rebounds and that just comes down to meeting him early, getting in hand-to-hand combat with him and fighting to keep him off the glass."

Love finished with three offensive rebounds and the Mavs won the game of second-chance points, 19-15. But, the moment of truth on the glass for this team really had nothing to do with Love coming to town or the fact that the Wolves are the league's best rebounding team despite being one the worst in accumulating wins.

No, the Mavs' gut-check came on Nov. 19 when Taj Gibson and the Chicago Bulls came into the Mavs' building and kicked the Mavs on the boards at both ends, tallying 59 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive glass, and put back 25 second-chance points to Dallas' eight.

That night the Mavs flew to Atlanta for a game the next night.

"We had a late meeting that day in Atlanta," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We watched all the second-chance points in the last 17 minutes. That's 21 points given up on purely the inability to go get the ball out of the air. Guys were kicking themselves. We all knew that we had a let one slip away. Starting that night in Atlanta, we just have become more steadfast about the importance of getting the ball, you know, rebounding it."

The Mavs won the boards in Atlanta and have outrebounded the opposition in six of seven games since the Chicago loss. In the last three games, the Mavs have grabbed 143 rebounds.

"We're going to continue to preach it. The guys are going to talk about it, hopefully," Carlisle said. "Utah [on Friday night] is another one of these teams. They're always in the top five in offensive rebounds and second-chance points, so getting the ball off the boards is huge."