MIAMI — At first glance, Joel Anthony’s most recent stat line for the Miami Heat seemed unimpressive at best: 43 minutes, 0 shots, 0 points.
The Heat had a decidedly different view.
Anthony’s role for Miami revolves largely around rebounding, and he was never better than in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night. The former UNLV player had a career-best 16 rebounds — making him the only player in NBA history other than Dennis Rodman in 1994 to grab that many without taking a single shot or free throw in a game, according to STATS LLC.
And since minutes started getting charted, no NBA player had logged as many without trying a shot, either.
“He did a great job,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “To have 16 rebounds and not a shot attempt is remarkable. Hasn’t been done much. But Joel is doing what we ask him to do.”
Rodman had games of 20, 18 and 16 rebounds without any shot attempts in a three-week span for San Antonio in January 1994. No one else had done it since, before Anthony’s night to remember.
Entering Wednesday’s games, there were 188 players in the league who have been on the court for 770 minutes or more this season. Anthony has taken the fewest shots — by far.
He has tried 42 all season. Ben Wallace has taken the next-fewest, at 105. Everyone else has tried at least 165.
“Obviously, I understand my strengths,” Anthony said. “Defense and rebounding.”
That’s why Miami gave him an $18 million, five-year deal over the summer.
The Montreal native had five offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter alone, three of them in a 19-second span.
Anthony was asked to play big minutes because Chris Bosh was held out with a sprained left ankle, and he took advantage.
“You never know what happens, whether it’s injuries or matchups,” Anthony said. “The rotation can always change. That’s why it’s important for guys to always be ready.”