Tari Eason is a good offensive rebounder. He might even be a great one. Among rookies this season, he ranks third with 2.2 of them per game. Alperen Sengun is the only Rocket to pull in more of them thus far this year. But Eason only plays 19.4 minutes per game. He’s started only three times in his career. If I were to tell you Eason had one of the greatest offensive rebounding games in the history of professional basketball, you’d probably scoff. But that’s exactly what happened against the Thunder on Wednesday.
First thing’s first: we specified offensive rebounding for a reason. Eason was invisible on the defensive glass, pulling in only a single defensive rebound. But in his 19 minutes against the Thunder, he pulled in a staggering 12 offensive rebounds.
Amazingly, that isn’t quite an NBA record. It has happened three other times in NBA history. Popeye Jones did in 1994, Zydrunas Ilgauskas did it in 2005, and Tristan Thompson did it in 2014. Essentially, that makes this a roughly once per decade feat. Eason was so good on the offensive glass that he managed to pull in four offensive rebounds on a single possession.
Lest you believe this game was a statistical oddity and nothing more, the performance was something of a breakout across the board for Houston’s 17th overall pick. It was also the first 20-point game of his career. He also had three steals and two blocks. Most importantly, he helped a short-handed Rockets team missing Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. to an upset victory over the Thunder.
But the history books won’t remember the NBA’s worst team pulling out a meaningless victory in the middle of a lost season. They will forever memorialize one of the great, random statistical performances in NBA history because chances are it’ll be a decade or so before we see another game like this one.