Kevon Looney beats Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell in one NBA playoff stat
Looney remarkably beats Wilt, Russell in one playoff stat originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Kevon Looney evolved from unsung hero to just plain hero during the Warriors’ trek to the 2022 NBA championship.
He was rewarded in the offseason with a new three-year deal worth $22.5 million.
One year later, Looney is worth that and more to Golden State. He is starring again in the Warriors’ first-round NBA playoff series against the No. 3 seed Sacramento Kings and providing the defending champs with exactly what they need.
Grit. Grind. And, of course, rebounding.
Looney has three career playoff games with at least 20 rebounds, five assists and fewer than five points. The only other two players to post such a stat line in the postseason? Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, per Statmuse.
Looney is winning the battle of big men against Kings center Domantas Sabonis, a three-time All-Star who likely will be named to an All-NBA team in the coming weeks.
In five games this series, Looney is averaging 6.0 points, 14.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 30.6 minutes per contest. He leads all players in playoff rebounding and is the only player to grab at least 20 rebounds in two different games -- 20 in Game 3 and 22 in Game 5, both Warriors wins.
Looney is one of three players in Warriors franchise history to notch multiple 20-plus rebound games in a single playoff series, joining Chamberlain and Nate Thurmond. Chamberlain did it seven times, and Thurmond five times.
"We’ve got to send three bodies at [Looney]," Kings guard Malik Monk said at Kings practice Thursday [h/t FOX 40]. "Something. Because he’s been killing us, especially on the offensive rebounds."
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The 27-year-old big man been a critical piece in the Warriors flipping this series around after they faced a two-games-to-none deficit.
"When we were a lot younger in this run, we had those guys -- Shaun [Livingston], Andre [Iguodala], that list goes on -- but those two guys in particular, no matter what was going on ... they would come in and calm us down," Warriors forward Draymond Green told reporters after Game 5. "And Kevon is that for this team.
"He's that stabilizing force that allows everyone else to focus on what they need to focus on."
Draymond shares what Loon means to the Dubs ð¯ pic.twitter.com/fUJVU4YKDq
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 27, 2023
Looney and the Warriors are one win away from advancing to the Western Conference semifinals. They will battle the Kings in Game 6 at 5 p.m. PT Friday night. Tune in to NBC Sports Bay Area at 4 p.m. for “Warriors Pregame Live.”
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