JaVale McGee’s triple-double on Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls received a negative reaction from many pundits who believed that McGee went to seemingly embarrassing means to reach the milestone during a blowout loss. McGee finished with 12 blocked shots, 12 rebounds and 11 points in the Wizards’ 98-79 loss to the Bulls and needed a dunk with 18.7 seconds remaining to accomplish the feat.
NBATV analyst Kevin McHale called it a “bad triple-double” and described it as “terrible.” ESPN.com Fantasy writer Tom Carpenter said McGee was “acting like a buffoon,” especially after he received a technical foul for hanging on the rim in celebration of the dunk — with his team down by 18. But McGee said on Wednesday that he doesn’t care about the negative criticism that followed.
“I got a triple-double,” McGee said. “Who can say they got a triple-double? I’m not really worried about it.”
McGee said, if anything, he was upset that some tried to discredit his accomplishment by comparing it to other failed triple-double quests — such as the one eight years ago by Ricky Davis, who was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers when he attempted to rebound his own miss on his basket in order to get a triple-double in a win against Utah. Davis finished with 26 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds.
“I couldn’t understand how they was saying it was like Ricky Davis,” McGee said. “The thing about it is, I wasn’t trying to get a triple-double until they started running plays for me at the end. So, that’s totally different.”
Coach Flip Saunders called the plays down the stretch for McGee to get the final point needed for the triple-double and said he spoke with his third-year center about the disapproving response to his accomplishment.
“Two things, as I told him, I said the most impressive thing, rather than the triple-double, was the 12 blocks — ecause those were legit,” Saunders said. “Sometimes in games, assists, there’s a question. You give a guy the ball, a guy takes three dribbles and some places give him an assist. A blocked shot, there’s no ifs, ands or buts. You either block it or you don’t.
“I told him, ‘Don’t let what you did accomplish take away from the overall game.’ What people remember, they won’t remember the blocked shots, the way he played. They’ll remember, down by 19, he dunked it, pounded his chest. I said, ‘Individual doesn’t mean anything when your team loses.’ He said, ‘I know.’ Everything our league does is to promote. When you look at the top 10 highlights, it doesn’t matter if you won or loss. In the realm of it, I can see how people reacted like that. But looking back, JaVale probably wishes that he didn’t celebrate. It didn’t come across like, ‘I’m disappointed we lost.’ You never want to come across, in a team sport, that you care more about individual than you do about team.”
McGee said he wasn’t going to let the disparagement of his triple-double affect him. “It’s not disappointing. I got a triple-double. I’m not disappointed. It’s just them saying what they say.”