Numbers can be a strange thing.
If you were to look only at the points scored in Friday night's huge blowout win over Phoenix, you might see one glaring thing. Thirteen guys saw action for the Blazers. Only one did not score. In a 109-71 thrashing, how dare we leave anyone scoreless! That particular player took four shots and none of them went in, but still we won by 38!
Oh wait. Hold on a second. Let's take a pause. Marcus Camby did not score in this game. That's not too big a deal. We have him in there for his defense, right? Now, if you take your eyes away from the points column and go a few spots the the left. Your eyes may get wide.
Marcus snared 20 rebounds to to along with his three assists, two steals and two blocks. He did all that in just under 24 minutes. Marcus was claiming seemingly every miss Friday night. It should also be noted that his backup at center, Kurt Thomas, had nine rebounds of his own.
Twenty rebounds certainly isn't unheard of. Marcus has done it 43 times in his career, including his 22-rebound performance against Memphis last Tuesday. Oh, and for good measure, he pulled down 16 boards at Golden State on Wednesday.
"He's incredible. He does all the little things to help the team win," said Jamal Crawford following the Memphis game in which Marcus also had a season-high five blocks. "Sometimes they show up in the stat sheet; sometimes they don't. But he's the glue guy on this team. He's always there."
For Marcus, rebounding is merely part of the job.
"Just the right place at the right time," he said after the Memphis game. "I've been around for a while. I just try to play the angles and try to put myself in the best position, to read the angles of the basketball. That's what I've been taught."
In fact, Marcus is averaging 19.3 rebounds in his last three games, and 21.0 in his last two home games. After seeing the Blazers outrebounded in nine straight games, it seems Marcus has taken it upon himself to clean up the boards. The Blazers have won the rebounding battle the past six straight -- four of them wins.
Marcus has 170 rebounds in 17 games this season, good for a 10.0 per game average. For perspective, check out these nuggets:
* Marcus' 43 20-rebound games ranks him first among active NBA players in the NBA.
* Only 12 times has the league seen a player record 20+ rebounds and zero points in a game. Marcus did it once before on December 5, 2007 while with Denver. Of the remaining 10 times it's happened, Dennis Rodman owns the honor seven times, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
* Marcus is the first Blazer ever to score record 20+ rebounds and zero points.
* It's been over 37 years since an NBA player has recorded 20+ rebounds and zero points while playing 24 minutes or less (Marcus played 23:40 against the Suns). The last time it was done was on October 22, 1974 by Clyde Lee of Atlanta (21 points in 22 minutes).
Much seems to be made of Marcus' age; that he's in his 16th season. However, he consistently proves he has great value to the Blazers and possesses a team-first attitude. In fact, he seems unimpressed with his personal rebounding numbers, especially after a win like the one over Phoenix.
"I don't care about that stuff (stats)," he said following the game. "We won and have tomorrow off so I'm happy."
Each Blazer seemed to have something to say about avenging the January 6 blowout loss at Phoenix as they took the court Friday night. After a tight first quarter, the Blazers really took control in the second and third quarters, outscoring the Suns 57-21 combined in the middle two stanzas.
The Blazers had one of their better shooting performances across the board (47 percent from the field, 84 percent from the line and 35 percent from beyond the arc), and won every major statistical category. They outrebounded the Suns, 58-41 which led to a several fast-break opportunities.
Wesley Matthews shot 6-13 en route to 16 points. Jamal Crawford took on pg duties when he was inserted into the game and dished out a season high 10 assists. Wesley said after the game that he wasn't surprised by Jamal's ability to distribute the ball.
"He can do that," Wesley said. "He's a great talent in this league and one of the best two guards in it, and he can also play the one. He's a playmaker. He draws so much attention that someone else has to be open."
With the Blazers ahead by over 30 points in the the fourth quarter, many of the starters were allowed to rest, and eventually the bench was cleared. Elliot Williams took advantage of his nine minutes, shooting 4-8 from the field, including a pair of impressive dunks which kept fans' enthusiasm elevated until the final buzzer. Elliot finished with a career-high eight points.
After losing by 25 on January 6 in Phoenix, Gerald Wallace felt the Blazers were focused on what they had to do to avenge the defeat.
"Our main thing is we felt like we owed them, so we wanted to keep the pressure on, keep attacking; keep moving forward," Gerald said. "We stopped looking at the scoreboard in the first quarter and just wanted to keep doing what we were doing on defense and offense as far as attacking on both ends."
A few points about the game:
* The Blazers got 49 points from their bench, including 14 from Nicolas Batum.
* All 16 of Wesley's points came in the third quarter.
* In addition to his eight points, Elliot claimed two rebounds and one block.
* Kurt Thomas scored eight points to go along with his nine rebounds.
* The Suns shot 18 free throws and made just nine of them, including usually reliable Steve Nash shooting 1-3.
* Former Blazer Sebastian Telfair drew two technical fouls after Elliot blocked his shot with 7.3 seconds left in the game and was ejected. Nolan Smith went to the line and made one of the foul shots. He finished with one point.
* At about 32-and-a-half minutes, LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers in minutes played, and scored a game-high 23 points. No other Blazer played more than 30 minutes.
* Despite scoring 109 points for the game, the Blazers had just four players score in double figures (LaMarcus 23, Gerald 17, Wesley 16, Nicolas 14).
* Gerald scored 10 of his 17 points in the first quarter.
* Just two Suns players reached double figures in scoring for the game (Grant Hill 12, Telfair 10).
* Both teams went scoreless from 5:32 to 2:25 in the second quarter while the Blazers led, 42-32.
* The Blazers have played 10 home games (9-1) and 10 road games (3-7).
The Blazers stand at 12-8 and are tied for third with Utah in the Northwest Division. Minnesota, at 9-10, is the division team without a winning record. The Blazers are four-and-a-half games behind division (and conference) leader Oklahoma City.
Portland, 3-7 on the road, faces division rival Utah Monday night after having a two days off. The two teams have yet to play this season, but split two games in the pre-season.
In Kassandra's Words features regular blogs throughout the year. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end; players come and go; our Blazers are forever. Please follow on twitter: @PDXKass