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Ed Davis’ double-double leads the way for Brooklyn Nets

Former Tar Heel guides Nets with season-highs in points and rebounds

Brooklyn Nets reserve power forward Ed Davis is widely considered to be one of the best rebounders in the NBA. And it’s not just fans that feel that way.

It’s coaches, general managers and even his peers; particularly those that he plays with, and the ones he left behind in Portland when the Trailblazers let him walk at the end of last season. Not only that, but there’s a fair amount of statistical data to back up the popular sentiment.

Davis averages better than eight-and-a-half rebounds per game despite playing just a hair over 18 minutes a night. That’s a very favorable number when compared to Andre Drummond, whose 14.9 rebounds per game lead the league. It’s especially favorable when looking at the numbers extrapolated out over 36 minutes.

Davis averages 16.9 rebounds per 36 minutes, whereas Drummond averages 16.2 rebounds over the same time frame. And both players average an outstanding 5.7 offensive boards per 36 minutes. Using the same metrics, Dallas Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan averages 16.1 and 3.8, and Philadelphia 76ers All-Star big man Joel Embiid averages 14.3 and 2.6.

On Friday night, though, Davis didn’t need 36 minutes to get his 16 rebounds. He needed just 28. And a remarkable nine of his 16 boards came on the offensive end of the court. To go along with his game-high 16 rebounds, Davis scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 5-of-11 from the free throw line. Granted, the struggles that he’s had from the charity stripe all season persisted on Friday against the Knicks, but it was a great game for the former Tar Heel, nonetheless.

Davis is with his fifth team in nine seasons, and averaging 5.9 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. He’s shooting an outstanding 62.4 percent from the floor, the best shooting percentage of his career. His 8.7 rebounds are a career-best, too, despite playing his fourth-fewest minutes per game since entering the league in 2010.

Another former Tar Heel and Brooklyn Net, Theo Pinson, also had a big game against the Knicks on Friday night. The rookie wing out of North Carolina scored a team-high 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting and 3-of-5 from three-point range. He also drained all six of his free throw attempts, while adding eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in 26 minutes of play.

Brooklyn beat New York 109-99, and improved to 27-23 on the season. The Nets are now just four games back of the Celtics, and 8.5 games behind the first-place Raptors.

Next: 5-star UNC target reclassifying to 2019?

Stick with Keeping It Heel for all the latest on UNC Alumni in the NBA, and around the globe.

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