Warriors clobber defending champs
• The Warriors clobbered the Cavaliers, 126-91, on Monday night. It was the largest margin of defeat suffered by the defending NBA Champions since the Bulls beat the Heat by 42 points (108-66) in the season opener for both teams on Halloween in 2006.
Green triple-double and five blocked shots
• Draymond Green recorded a triple-double and had five blocked shots in the Warriors’ destruction of the Cavaliers (11 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists). It is the second time in his career that Green has had at least five blocked shots in a game in which he reached double figures in points, rebounds and assists. The only other players to have two such games since the NBA first recorded blocked shots in 1973-74 were Kareem-Abdul Jabbar (three), David Robinson (three) and Alvan Adams (two).
Thomas and the Celtics continue to score big
• Isaiah Thomas scored 35 points in the Celtics’ 108-98 win over the Hornets. It is the 15th consecutive game in which the Celtics scored at least 100 points, the longest such streak for the team since they had a 19-game streak in 1991-92. Larry Bird (392 points), Reggie Lewis (344) and Robert Parish (256) led the Celtics during that streak.
The 35 points scored by Thomas matched Larry Bird (1987) for the third most for any Celtics player in a game played on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Paul Pierce scored 42 points on MLK, Jr. Day in 2001 and 40 points on this holiday in 2003. Pierce is one of two players to score 40 or more points in a game on MLK, Jr. Day twice in his career. Amar’e Stoudemire is the other (42 in 2007, 41 in 2011).
Embiid is speeding up “the process”
• Joel Embiid scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the 76ers’ win over the Bucks. Embiid has scored at least 20 points and grabbed at least five rebounds in each of his last nine games. The only other rookies over the last 20 seasons to fashion a streak like that were Tim Duncan, who had a 13-game streak in 1997-98, and Blake Griffin, who had a 14-game streak in 2010-11.
Embiid has scored at least 20 points and grabbed at least 10 rebounds in a game four times this season. All other NBA rookies combined have had only one such game this season. Embiid’s teammate Dario Saric had that game.
Embiid has helped the Sixers to six wins over their last eight games. It is the first time the 76ers went 6-2 or better over an eight-game span within one season since November 2012 (6-2).
Jordan on target yet again for Clippers
• After missing his first shot of the night, DeAndre Jordan connected on his final seven shots from the field, helping the Clippers blow out the Thunder to conclude Monday’s NBA action. It was the second game in a row that Jordan missed just one field-goal attempt – the Clippers center went 12-for-13 from the floor against the Lakers this past Saturday. Jordan’s field-goal percentage of 90.5 percent over his last two games (19 field goals in 21 attempts) is the highest in franchise history for any player that attempted at least 20 shots from the floor over a two-game span.
Dwight Howard is the only active player that has compiled a higher field-goal percentage than Jordan over a two-game span while taking at least 20 shots from the floor. Howard made 22 of 23 field-goal attempts – good for 95.7 percent – over two games while manning the middle for the Magic in February 2007.
Jokic is no joke
• Nikola Jokic scored 30 points on the strength of making 13-for-19 shots from the field (68%) and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Nuggets’ victory over the Magic. Only three other Nuggets players over the last 25 seasons had that many points and rebounds and that high a field-goal percentage in a game: Antonio McDyess (2001), Carmelo Anthony (2008) and Kenneth Faried (twice in 2014).
Pacers riding a roller coaster
• The Pacers beat the Pelicans, 98-95, one game after the Nuggets mauled them, 140-112. It is the second time this season that an NBA team allowed 140 or more points in one game and then less than 100 points in the next and the Pacers have accounted for both such instances. Indiana lost to the Warriors, 142-106, and then beat the Suns, 109-94 in consecutive games in December. The last NBA team to have two sets of consecutive games like that – allow 140 points in one game and then less than 100 the next – was the Kings during the 1991-92 season.
Schroder’s efficiency leads Hawks to win
• Dennis Schroder made 13 of 16 shots from the field including a go-ahead three-point field goal with 22 seconds left in the Hawks’ win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Schroder is the first Hawks player to take at least 16 shots from the field and make at least 80 percent of them since Joe Smith went 14-for-16 in a win over the Nets on December 7, 2010.
Knicks on MLK Day
• The Knicks have played on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 31 of the last 32 seasons, dating back to 1986 when Dr. King’s birthday was first observed as a federal holiday, and the Knicks hosted 30 of those 31 games. The 31 games the Knicks have played on MLK Day are the most for any NBA team.
Gobert dominates the paint
• Rudy Gobert scored 18 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked four shots in Utah’s win over the Suns. It was the fourth time in his NBA career that Gobert reached those levels in all three categories. The only other player in Jazz history to have four games like that was Rich Kelley, who had six such games when the franchise was located in New Orleans.
Beal and Wall lead Wizards
• Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall chipped in with 24 points in the Wizards’ win over the Trail Blazers. It was the 12th time this season that both Beal and Wall each scored at least 20 points in the same game; the Wizards are only 7-5 in those 12 games.
Good old-fashioned hockey
• The Penguins’ 8–7 overtime victory against the Capitals was only the third NHL game over the last 20 seasons in which each team scored at least seven goals. The only other such games since 1996–97 were both home losses by the Flyers: to Tampa Bay on Nov. 18, 2010 (8–7) and Winnipeg on Oct. 27, 2011. Scorefests of this kind were fairly common in the NHL not too long ago. In fact, there were 91 NHL games in which each team scored at least seven times during the 20 seasons from 1976–77 through 1995–96, even though over 6,000 fewer games were played than in the 20 seasons since then.
Malkin records second period hat trick
• Evgeni Malkin recorded the 11th hat trick of his NHL career when he scored three goals, all in the second period of the Penguins’ 8–7 overtime win against the Capitals. This is the third time that Malkin scored three goals in one period of an NHL game, having previously done so against the Islanders in November 2008 and the Lightning in January 2012. That ties him with the Red Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg for the most single-period hat tricks by an active NHL player. Malkin ranks second for most one-period hat tricks in Penguins history, behind Mario Lemieux, who produced eight of them.
Coreau and Crozier
• Red Wings rookie Jared Coreau recorded his second NHL shutout with a 1–0 win against the Canadiens at Joe Louis Arena. Coreau is the first Red Wings rookie to post a shutout versus the Canadiens since Roger Crozier beat them 6–0 on Feb. 7, 1965, at Olympia Stadium (Crozier won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie that season), and he’s the first Detroit rookie ever to beat the Canadiens by a 1–0 score. Coreau is only the second Red Wings rookie in the last 50 years to register a 1–0 shutout victory. Jimmy Howard had two of them, both via shootouts, during his rookie season (2009–10, at Nashville and Columbus).
Greiss blanks Bruins
• Thomas Greiss posted his first shutout of the season for the Islanders with a 4–0 victory against the Bruins in a Monday matinee at TD Garden. The Islanders entered the NHL in 1972 but this is the first time that they’ve ever shut out the Bruins in Boston in regular-season (80 previous games) or postseason play (six games). Greiss was coming off a loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday in which he was pulled from the game after allowing seven goals, but he’s shown a remarkable ability to bounce back from losses this season. Greiss has won his next start after each of his seven losses this season, with two of those wins coming against the Bruins in Boston.
Eichel goes 2-for-10
• Jack Eichel scored on two of his single-game career-high 10 shots on goal when the Sabres beat the Stars, 4–1, in Buffalo on Monday afternoon. Eichel is the first Sabres player to produce a game in which he scored at least two goals and recorded a double-digit total of shots on goal since Oct. 10, 1993, when Dale Hawerchuk scored twice on 10 shots in a 3–2 loss to the Hartford Whalers. The last Buffalo player before Eichel to do that in a Sabres victory was Pat LaFontaine with two goals on 10 shots in a 10–7 win versus the Red Wings on Feb. 24, 1993. LaFontaine also notched three assists in that game.
Boyle scores GWG
• Brian Boyle scored the winning goal for the Lightning in their 2–1 victory over the Kings in Los Angeles. Boyle began this season by scoring only four goals in his first 27 games but he has tallied seven goals in 12 games since then, which ties him with Jonathan Drouin for the Tampa Bay team high in goals scored over that span (Dec. 14 to date). This is the first time that Boyle has scored as many as seven goals over a 12-game stretch during his 10 seasons in the NHL.
Burns has 10+ points in nine straight months
• Brent Burns scored what proved to be the game-winning goal for the Sharks in their 5–2 victory against the Jets. Burns, who leads San Jose with 10 points in the team’s seven games in January, has recorded a double-digit point total in all four months this season (10, 11, 14, 10) and in each of the last nine full calendar months on the NHL regular-season schedule (i.e., excluding April 2016). Before this streak began in November 2015, Burns had produced a double-figure point total in a calendar month only nine times in his 12 seasons in the NHL.