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Houston Rockets: Will Clint Capela reach the 30 rebound plateau?

By Anthony Duckett
Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Clint Capela has become the first Rockets player to grab 20 or more rebounds in five consecutive games since Elvin Hayes in the 1970-71 season. Could Capela further pen himself in the record books by grabbing 30 rebounds?

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela has been dominating the boards during the 2019-20 season, as he’s currently averaging 13.7 rebounds per game, which is tied for fourth in the league. What’s more impressive about this is that the players ahead of him in the rebounding column have played at least three minutes more than Capela per game, which begs the question of how many more rebounds he would have if he were playing more minutes.

Capela has gotten at least 20 rebounds in each of his last five games, as he’s essentially made it look easy. It makes you wonder if Capela can enter the NBA history books and enter the 30 rebound club. This is certainly an elite club, as this feat has only been accomplished three times since 2010.

The three players who have attained this feat during that timespan are Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dwight Howard of the Charlotte Hornets. Howard has been dominant as a rebounder throughout his career, but that was the sole time he accomplished the 30 rebound mark. Although Howard played in Houston for three years, the most rebounds he ever snagged in a Rockets’ uniform was 26, which he did twice.

Capela’s single game career-high is 25 boards, which he accomplished once during the 2017-18 season. Capela reached his career high in 2018 in a game against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 9th. During that game, Capela played 35 minutes, which is more than the 30.9 minutes he’s playing this season.

Based on his tear on the boards this season, it seems like a realistic milestone the Houston Rockets’ center could reach. If Capela is able to do this, it would place him in a class of the greatest players in Rockets’ history. In fact, for as great as Hakeem Olajuwon was during his Rockets’ career, he never reached the 30 rebound plateau, as his career best on the boards matched Capela’s 25 rebounds.

In fact, the only Rockets’ players to achieve this feat were Charles Barkley and Moses Malone, who are both among the best rebounders in NBA history. Barkley only accomplished the 30 rebound plateau once, as he had 33 rebounds during his Rockets-debut. Malone grabbed 32 rebounds once during the 1981-82 season for the Rockets.

Capela has already become the first player in Houston Rockets team history with 20+ rebounds in five consecutive games since Elvin Hayes in the 1970-71 season. In addition, he’s become the first player in NBA history with 20+ rebounds in five straight games since Ben Wallace during the 2002-03 season. But even Wallace never had 30 rebounds in a game, as his career-high was 28.

It’ll be interesting to see if Capela reaches 30 rebounds, but the key could very well be the amount of minutes he plays. During Capela’s 20 rebound streak, he’s averaged 35.4 minutes per game, as compared to the 27.13 minutes he’s averaged during the previous eight games.

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Through 15 games, the Rockets are averaging 47.1 rebounds per game, ranking eighth best in the league. Capela’s 13.7 rebounds represent 29 percent of the Rockets’ total rebounds this season, which is a number that will only increase if he continues his dominance on the glass.

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