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March 23, 2011, 11:29 PM ET
An Unlikely Triple-Double

by Kevin Pelton

The NBA regular season delivered one of its random gems Wednesday, when Houston Rockets center Chuck Hayes recorded a triple-double against the Golden State Warriors. Hayes, known more for his stout post defense than putting up statistics, got to double-figure points last of the three categories, scoring his 10th and 11th points midway through the fourth quarter. He added 14 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists, topping his previous best of eight.

Hayes is an unlikely triple-double candidate, but just how rare was his milestone? Dating back to 1986-87, Basketball-Reference.com lists 191 players who have posted point-rebound-assist triple-doubles. Of them, Hayes’ career assist average of 1.2 per game is second lowest.

Player                  Year  APG_car  APG_sea

Rodney White           02-03    1.1      1.7
Chuck Hayes            10-11    1.2      2.4
Robert Parish          86-87    1.4      2.2
Clarence Weatherspoon  93-94    1.5      2.3
Sam Perkins            92-93    1.5      2.0
Kenny Thomas           05-06    1.5      2.0

Hayes’ triple-double looks a little more predictable when we consider his assist average this season, which is best of this group. Hayes has been handing out extra assists lately, including seven in a win a week ago. On the other hand, most of the other guys were nightly double-double threats. Hayes had just 15 double-doubles in his career, so getting the points and rebounds categories filled in was no sure thing. (This is also true for Rodney White, a middling rebounder. He also had a 12th of his total assists for the season in his triple-double, almost certainly the most improbable in modern NBA history.)

Unlikely or not, Hayes’ triple-double meant a night to remember for a player whose contributions are rarely found in the box score.

You can contact Kevin at kpelton@basketballprospectus.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kpelton.

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