11 DayZ of Z: Chairman of the Boards
When you look at the list of Cavaliers all-time leading rebounders, what might be most impressive about Zydrunas Ilgauskas leading the pack is how close some franchise heavyweights aren’t.
On December 9, 2008, the Cavaliers and their starting center both shared a record-breaking night. For Ilgauskas, it was eclipsing another mark in team history – and one that itself might never be eclipsed.
In the second quarter of a 114-94 home blowout over Toronto, Big Z grabbed a Jason Kapono miss to pass Brad Daugherty on the Cavaliers all-time rebounding list with 5,228 boards.
On the night, the two-time All-Star finished with a rather pedestrian line – 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting and six rebounds – before getting the fourth quarter off with most of Cleveland’s starters.
The reason Z and Co. got (another) fourth quarter off was because of the team record the Cavaliers set that night – becoming the first squad to win nine straight games all by more than a dozen points. That night’s win over Toronto was the Cavaliers ninth straight win and part of the Wine and Gold’s 18-3 start, easily the best in franchise history. The win was also one of four straight games that the Cavs had won by more than 20 points, something only done by one team – the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who did it twice.
Z’s second-quarter rebound wasn’t one of his more demonstrative moments, snagging the record-breaking board late in the second quarter. Afterward, the beloved big man received a standing ovation from 20,000 strong at The Q.
Watch Video: All-Time Rebounder
“It felt great,” said Z. “It was everything I anticipated. It’s been a long road, but I enjoyed it and I cherish it. After I’m done playing, it’ll be one of the top moments that I’ll remember from my career here.”
The Large Lithuanian would go on to grab 676 more rebounds with the Cavaliers – and his mark now stands at 5,904. After Daugherty, the next Cavaliers in line are Hot Rod Williams, 1,235 boards behind Z, and LeBron James, who’s 2,034 behind. Z’s close friend, Anderson Varejao, continues to climb through the record books, but at 4,036, still has a ways to go.
For Z, it was another Wine and Gold all-time record broken –culminating a career that almost ended before it truly began.