2. April 1st, 1979 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The 1978-79 season was Malone’s first full season with the Houston Rockets, as he played in all 82 games for the first time in his Rockets’ career. Although Malone played in just 59 games the year before, he still made the All-Star team for the first time as a member of the Rockets during the 1977-78 season.
During year three for Malone and the Rockets, the Rockets went 47-35, which landed them the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. Although the Rockets were swept in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks, it was a drastic improvement over their 28-54 record from the 1977-78 season.
Malone averaged 17.6 rebounds per game during the 1978-79 season, which not only led the league, but also ended up being the highest clip of his career. This is the second-highest single season rebounding average in Houston Rockets’ history, behind only Elvin Hayes. On top of that, this is the third-best rebounding average in the last 45 years, behind only Dennis Rodman, who accomplished the feat twice.
During the 1978-79 season, Malone registered 14 games in which he scored at least 20 points and hauled in at least 20 rebounds, including the performance on April 1st, 1979, which happened to fall on a Sunday. The Rockets were 43-34 heading into that matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were 30-48 at the time.
Malone had 24 points, which was a team-high and also the second-most point totals in the game. The Chairman of the Boards also hauled in 20 rebounds, which was a game-high and was more than double the second-place rebounder in the game. Malone also added three blocks and two assists, while making 100 percent of his free throws.
All in all, Malone went 10-of-19 from the field and played a game high 46 minutes, but it wasn’t enough as the Cavs defeated the Rockets 114-105.
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