It was a heartening display of teamwork and mutual care in these troubled times, and it came late in a game no one on Earth should’ve been watching, between teams no one on Earth expects to be worth a damn. Rockets rookie Alperen Sengun tapped a loose ball into a pocket of space surrounded by teammates, and two of those teammates stood aside and encouraged a third, Kevin Porter Jr., to scramble over and collect the ball and record a defensive rebound. The generous, last-minute gesture was designed to get Porter his 10th rebound of Monday night’s home game and secure his first career triple-double, in a convincing Rockets victory over the visiting Thunder.
This appeared to have worked! After the game and all day Tuesday the box score available on the thorough and reliable statistics page of the NBA’s very own website showed Porter recording 11 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, in 33 minutes of action. Whatever else happens in the career of Porter, who on the season is posting scary-bad numbers for one the league’s very worst outfits, he would always have this box score, just a couple mouse-clicks away, to remind him of the happy moment when he played his way to the brink of one of basketball’s tidiest and most-celebrated individual single-game accomplishments, and then his teammates thoughtfully helped him over the hump. How nice!
Click on that box score Wednesday morning and you will notice something terrible:
No, I’m not talking about Porter’s 4-of-17 shooting line. And no, I am also not talking about Garrison Mathews starting at forward for an NBA team. I have helpfully circled in red what I am talking about: Porter’s line now indicates that he finished the game with nine total rebounds, leaving him one shy of the triple-double. What the hell happened?
Let us very quickly revisit the play in question, with the benefit of hindsight, so that we may enjoy the cruelty of the league’s final ruling. Here I have once again helpfully made a red circle, so that you can see that Porter was positioned to gather the long rebound all on his own before Sengun rose up with his greedy mitt and interfered.
Way to ruin everything, ALPEREN. So much for teamwork.