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Detroit’s Wallace Top NBA Defender

April 20, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons was a nearly unanimous choice as NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday after becoming just the fourth player to lead the league in rebounding and shot blocking.

In the most lopsided count in the award’s history, Wallace received 116 of 120 votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters. Kevin Garnett, Dikembe Mutombo and Kobe Bryant received the other votes.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Wallace averaged 13.0 rebounds and 3.48 blocks. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton and Hakeem Olajuwon also have topped the NBA in both categories in the same season.

Wallace is the first player other than Mutombo or Alonzo Mourning to win the award since 1995-96.

He helped the Pistons win their first Central Division title in 12 seasons.

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