Jokic is bringing back memories of Wilt
Nikola Jokic produced his third consecutive triple-double with a 28-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist effort in Denver’s win over San Antonio on Friday. Jokic is the first player to record a triple-double in three straight games while starting at center in each game in nearly 50 years, since Wilt Chamberlain did it in nine consecutive contests in March of 1968.
Jokic is only the second player in Denver’s NBA franchise history to record a triple-double in three straight games, joining Fat Lever (three straight in January 1987).
Davis produces a historical performance
Anthony Davis registered 45 points, 17 rebounds, five steals and five blocks in the Pelicans’ overtime win over the Heat on Friday. Davis is the first player to produce at least 40 points, 15 rebounds, five steals and five blocks in the same game since the NBA began tracking steals and blocked shots in 1973-74.
Bucks trio putting themselves in elite company
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 26 points and Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe each scored 21 points in Milwaukee’s overtime win over the Raptors on Friday. That marked the eighth time the Bucks’ trio each scored 20 or more points in the same game since Bledsoe made his debut with the team on November 10. The only other threesomes with at least eight such games over that span are Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony (nine) and Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant (eight).
Age is not slowing down LeBron
LeBron James registered 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in the Cavaliers’ win over the Grizzlies on Friday. It’s the fourth time James recorded a triple-double since he turned 33 years of age just 55 days ago. No player has had that many triple-doubles in a season at age 33 or older since Jason Kidd recorded 13 during the 2007-08 season.
29 consecutive seasons with a winning record at home for the Pacers
The Pacers routed the Hawks by a score of 116-93 in Indiana on Friday. The victory was the 21st win of the season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Indiana assuring the team of a winning record at home for the 29th consecutive season. That’s the longest streak of consecutive seasons with a winning record at home by an NBA team since the Trail Blazers finished above .500 on their homecourt in 31 consecutive campaigns from 1973-74 to 2003-04.
Williams scores 35 off the bench
Lou Williams scored 35 points off the bench in the Clippers’ rout of the Suns on Friday. Williams has produced six 35-point games while coming off the bench this season, the most such games in a single season since Milwaukee’s Ricky Pierce scored at least 35 points in a reserve role six times during the 1989-90 campaign.
There have been fourteen 35-point games by bench players over the last two seasons, and Williams owns nine of those performances. The others belong to Will Barton (two), Bobby Portis (one), Ian Clark (one) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (one).
Harden is perfect from the line
James Harden made all of his 12 free-throw attempts in a 31-point effort in Houston’s win over Minnesota on Friday. Harden has been perfect from the line with at least 10 attempts 35 times since he joined the Rockets in 2012. Those are by far the most such games for any NBA player over the last six seasons, ahead of Kevin Durant (28) and Damian Lillard (20).
Celtics rookie leads team to win off the bench
Daniel Theis led the Celtics with a career high 19 points in Boston’s win over the Pistons on Friday. Theis is the first Celtics rookie in nearly seven years to come off the bench and lead the team in scoring in a winning effort, since Avery Bradley topped Boston with 20 points in a win over the Knicks on April 13, 2011.
Walker scores 20 in the second half on consecutive days
After scoring 22 points in the second half in Charlotte’s win over Brooklyn on Thursday, Kemba Walker registered 20 of his 24 points in the second half of the Hornets’ victory over the Wizards on Friday. Walker is the second player to score at least 20 points in the second half of victories in consecutive days this season, joining the Suns’ T.J. Warren, who also did it against the Nets and Wizards on October 31 and November 1. Walker scored 20 or more points in the second half of games 33 times prior to Thursday, but had never done it on consecutive days.
Blazers put an end to Utah’s winning streak
The Trail Blazers put an end to the Jazz’ 11-game winning streak with a 100-81 win in Utah on Friday. That’s the sixth time over the last 20 seasons Portland beat a team on a winning streak of more than 10 games, having also produced wins in that fashion against Golden State in 2015-16 (11 straight wins), San Antonio in 2011-12 (11 straight) and 2001-02 (13 straight), Sacramento in 2001-02 (13 straight) and Minnesota in 2000-01 (11 straight), The only NBA team to end more winning streaks of 11 or more games than Portland over that span is Denver (eight times).
Friday was the first time Portland ended a winning streak of more than 10 games with a road victory since it defeated the Heat in Miami on February 21, 1997. Miami entered that contest on an 11-game winning streak.
Staal and Granlund each produce four points
Eric Staal and Mikael Granlund each tallied two goals and two assists in the Minnesota Wild’s 4–1 win against the Rangers in New York. This was the first time in franchise history that two Wild players each produced four points in the same road game. That’s happened three times on home ice at Xcel Energy Center, most recently in Minnesota’s 6–2 win versus the Canucks on Dec. 15, 2015, when Mikko Koivu and Thomas Vanek each racked up one goal and three assists.
20 goals in 20 games for Malkin
Evgeni Malkin scored the final goal for the Penguins in their 6–1 win against the Hurricanes in Raleigh. Malkin tallied 14 goals in his first 38 games this season but he’s scored 20 goals in 20 games since then (Jan. 5 to date). This is the second time in Malkin’s NHL career that he has scored 20 goals over a 20-game span in one season, having also done that for Pittsburgh in 2011–12 (Jan 13–Feb. 26). Since 2011–12, the only NHL player besides Malkin to score 20 or more goals over a 20-game span within one season is Alex Ovechkin, who did that in several overlapping 20-game stretches in 2012–13 (with a high of 22 goals).
Hellebuyck sets franchise record for shutouts
Connor Hellebuyck set a Thrashers/Jets record for shutouts in one season when he posted a 4–0 win at St. Louis. It was Hellebuyck’s sixth shutout this season, breaking the old mark of five which was set by Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg in 2014–15. Hellebuyck is the fourth Michigan-born goaltender in NHL history to register at least six shutouts in one season. The others are John Vanbiesbrouck (six shutouts for the Flyers in 1998–99), Tim Thomas (nine for the Bruins in 2010–11) and Ryan Miller (six for the Sabres in 2011–12 and for the Canucks in 2014–15).
Four straight games with a goal for Laine
Patrik Laine extended his goal streak to four games when he scored the final goal for the Winnipeg Jets in their 4–0 victory against the Blues in St. Louis. This is the third time that Laine has scored goals in four or more consecutive Jets games this season. He had a five-game streak in November and a four-game skein in December. Laine is the first NHL player with at least three separate goal-scoring streaks of four games or longer in one season since 2015–16, when the Stars’ Jamie Benn and the Bruins’ Brad Marchand each had three such streaks.
Berube shines in his first start
Jean-Francois Berube, making his first start in goal for the Blackhawks, recorded 42 saves in a 2–1 win against the Sharks in Chicago. It’s the second time this season that a goaltender won his first start for the Hawks while racking up 40 or more saves. Jeff Glass did that with 42 saves in his NHL debut, a 4–3 overtime victory at Edmonton on December 29. Before this season, the last goaltender to win his first start for the Blackhawks and make at least 40 saves in the process was Gilles Meloche, who did so with a 7–4 victory in his NHL debut at Vancouver on March 16, 1971 (42 saves).