Warriors win series against Cavaliers…again
The Warriors won in Cleveland on Monday to complete a two-game season sweep of the Cavaliers, after topping Cleveland in last year’s NBA Finals. It’s the 13th time that a team that won the Finals swept their final-round opponent the following season. Ten of those, including this one, have been two-game sweeps. Special mention to the 1949–50 Minneapolis Lakers, who went 6–0 against the team they had beaten in the previous Finals, the Washington Capitols.
Hawks top Spurs
The Hawks, who entered Monday with the worst record in the NBA, at 11–31, defeated the Spurs, 102–99. Only four other teams with the lowest winning percentage in the NBA have defeated Gregg Popovich’s Spurs in January or later in a season: the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1997, Memphis Grizzlies in 2007, New Jersey Nets in 2010 and Knicks in 2015.
Howard controls the boards
Dwight Howard pulled down 17 rebounds, seven more than Andre Drummond, in Charlotte’s win in Detroit on Monday. It was only the fourth time that Drummond played at least 30 minutes in a game and was outrebounded by seven or more by an opponent. The other instances were against Reggie Evans in 2013, DeAndre Jordan in 2014 and Marcin Gortat in 2015.
No, it’s not a triple double
Russell Westbrook scored 19 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but also was charged with 10 turnovers before his ejection in the Thunder’s win over the Kings on Monday. Westbrook extended his own NBA record for 10-turnover games; he now has eight of them. Oklahoma City is 4–4 in those eight games.
Big night for Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and collected 20 rebounds in the Bucks’ win over the Wizards on Monday. Over the last 30 years, only two other Bucks players have had a 25-point, 20-rebound game: Vin Baker in 1996 and Ersan Ilyasova in 2012.
Ntilikina showing promise
Frank Ntilikina scored 10 points and had 10 assists in the Knicks’ win in Brooklyn on Monday for his second 10+ assist game this season. The last Knicks rookie to have more than one 10-assist game in a season was Greg Anthony, who had three of them in 1991–92.
Holiday better than could be expected
Justin Holiday led all players with 25 points in the Bulls’ win over the Heat on Monday. Holiday has scored 25 or more points in a game five times this season after having done so only once over his first four seasons in the NBA.
Grizzlies treat home fans to 123 points
The Grizzlies, who have scored the fewest points per home game in the NBA this season, exploded for 123 points in their win over the Lakers on Monday. That leaves Portland and Sacramento as the only NBA teams that have not scored 120 points in a home game this season.
Barzal the beast
Mathew Barzal scored one goal and assisted on two for the Islanders in their 5–4 overtime win against the Canadiens in Montreal. Barzal, who tallied five points in the Isles’ victory against the Rangers on Saturday, is the first rookie in Islanders history to register eight points over a span of two games in one season. Including the two points he produced in the Islanders’ shootout win versus the Devils on January 7, Barzal has tied the Islanders record for most points by a rookie over a three-game span within one season, a mark set by Bryan Trottier with 10 points over three games in October 1975.
Since 1994–95, the only other NHL rookies to rack up eight points over a two-game span in one season were Nicklas Backstrom for Washington in January 2008 and Artemi Panarin for Chicago in April 2016. Panarin (in April 2016) is also the only rookie besides Barzal to score 10 points over a three-game span in one season since 1994–95.
Greiss stays busy in Isles’ win
Thomas Greiss made 52 saves in his 5–4 overtime win against the Canadiens in Montreal. That’s the third-highest save total ever in a regular-season win by an Islanders goaltender, behind the 58 saves Dwayne Roloson made in his 4–3 overtime victory at Toronto on Nov. 23, 2009, and Felix Potvin’s 55 stops in a 4–2 win at New Jersey on April 12, 1999.
A dominant stretch for Avalanche
The Avs’ victory on Monday extended their winning streak to seven games. Colorado has not trailed for even one second of playing time during in those seven games. It’s the longest streak of consecutive wins without trailing in Nordiques/Avalanche franchise history. Since 2003–04, only two other NHL teams have had single-season winning streaks of seven games or longer in which they never trailed: the Blackhawks in January 2016 (10 games) and the Canucks in December 2013 (seven games).
20 goals for MacKinnon
Nathan MacKinnon reached the 20-goal mark for the third time in his five seasons in the NHL when he scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the Avalanche’s 3–1 victory against the Ducks. MacKinnon reached the 20-goal plateau in Colorado’s 43rd game this season, matching the fewest team games that any Avs player needed to do that since 2006–07. The only other Colorado player to score 20 goals that quickly in the last 12 seasons was Matt Duchene, who notched his 20th goal in the team’s 43rd game in 2015–16. The late Marek Svatos is the last Avs player to hit the 20-goal level in fewer than 43 games, having done so in Colorado’s 37th game in 2005–06, his rookie season in the NHL.
Seguin burns old team in OT
Tyler Seguin’s goal at the 2:59 mark of overtime earned the Dallas Stars a 3–2 victory in Boston on Monday afternoon. Seguin, who played his first three seasons in the NHL with the Bruins before they traded him to Dallas in July 2013, is the first former Boston player to score a regular-season overtime goal against the Bruins since Brad Boyes did so for the Sabres on March 10, 2011.
Jones is the new Kingslayer
Sharks goaltender Martin Jones notched his third win against the Kings this season with a 4–1 victory in Los Angeles on Monday. Jones broke into the NHL with the Kings in 2013 and he played two seasons for them before being traded to San Jose (via Boston) in June 2015. Jones is 9–3–2 in the 14 regular-season games he’s played versus the Kings during his three seasons with San Jose. (He was 4–1 against them in the 2016 playoffs.) The only NHL goaltenders with even half as many wins against the Kings over the last three seasons as Jones are Mike Smith (6) and John Gibson (5).
Tough weekend for Pittsburgh
The Pirates traded Andrew McCutchen to the Giants on Monday, ending McCutchen’s nine-year tenure with Pittsburgh. McCutchen is one of the three players to hit 20 or more home runs in seven consecutive seasons for Pittsburgh, along with Hall of Famers Ralph Kiner (7 straight, 1946–52), and Willie Stargell (13, 1964–76).