Warriors win over Nets produces a unique symmetry
The Warriors reached the 40-games-above .500 mark (49 wins, 9 losses) by downing the visiting Nets, 112-95, a loss that rather symmetrically left the Brooklyn squad 40 games below .500 (9 wins, 49 losses). It marked the first “40/40” game in NBA history—that is, the winning team lifted its record to 40 games above .500 while the losing team fell to 40 games below .500.
This is the third consecutive season in which the Warriors have reached the 40-above-.500 level. (They reached it with a 53-13 record on March 16, 2015 and with a 44-4 mark on Jan. 31, 2016.) The last team that produced a 40-games-over-.500 record at some point in each of three straight seasons was Michael Jordan’s Bulls. They did in it each of Jordan’s last three seasons with the team, starting with the 1995-96 season; in each of those seasons, Chicago won the NBA title.
Rockets outslug Timberwolves, but Towns and Wiggins press on
The Rockets outlasted the Timberwolves, 142-130, in the first NBA regulation-length game either last season or this in which each team produced 130-or-more points. Minnesota rolled up an impressive 58-31 advantage in rebounds, but Houston’s 22-9 advantage in three-pointers proved decisive.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 37 points and Andrew Wiggins 30, marking the 14th consecutive Timberwolves game in which each of the young stars scored 20-plus points. It’s the longest streak of games by any NBA team in which the same two of its players scored 20-or-more points since Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe each scored at least 20 points in each of 17 consecutive games for the Nuggets in February and March of 1984.
Bulls exhaust Cavs with three-point barrage
The Bulls outscored the Cavaliers, 62-43, in the second half en route to a 117-99 win in Cleveland in a game that LeBron James missed, reportedly due to strep throat. Chicago made 15 three-point field goals in the game, matching the second-highest total it has ever achieved in a single game. The Bulls hit on 50 percent of their three-point attempts on Saturday night, after entering the game with the NBA’s lowest accuracy rate (31.9 percent) on such shots this season.
Carmelo’s 37 points and last-second jumper lead Knicks over 76ers
Carmelo Anthony hit a mid-range jumper with 0.3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, lifting the Knicks to a 110-109 victory over the visiting 76ers. Anthony finished with 37 points, his highest total in a regulation-length game this season. (Carmelo scored 45 points in a four-overtime loss at Atlanta on January 29.) It was third time this season that Anthony has hit what proved to be a game-winning field goal within the last five seconds of either the fourth quarter or any overtime period—the most game-winners of that type for any NBA player this season. Anthony’s late-game shots produced wins over the Hornets and the Timberwolves within a stretch of six days in late November.
The Knicks had lost the last eight games in which Anthony scored 30-or-more points, the longest such streak within a single season in the history of the franchise.
The victory was the 200th by the Knicks over the 76ers franchise, which entered the NBA as the Syracuse Nationals in 1949. The Knicks have collected as many as 200 wins against only one other opponent over the years—they have 205 victories over the Pistons.
Mavericks overcome Davis to top Pelicans
The Mavericks overcame an early 10-point Pelicans lead and came away as the 96-83 winners. Dallas won the game despite a remarkable first-half performance by Anthony Davis, who accumulated 27 points and 10 rebounds over the game’s first 24 minutes. The last player to score that many points during a first half in which he produced a double-digit rebound total was Yao Ming, who had 27 points and 11 rebounds in the first half on March 15, 2006, also against Dallas.
Record three-point spree fueling Heat’s run
The Heat continued its remarkable turnaround, winning for the 16th time in its last 18 games by taking a 113-95 decision over the visiting Pacers. That matched the most wins that the Heat has ever produced over any span of 18 consecutive games, outside of the four seasons during which LeBron James played for the team. Miami made 13 three-point field goals in the win over Indiana, after it had made 30 three-pointers during its wins at Houston and at Atlanta in its two previous games. That total of 43 three-pointers is the highest over any three-game span in the Heat’s 29 seasons in the NBA; never before had they accumulated as many as 40 three-pointers over three games.
Kaminsky’s big game leads Hornets to a win
Frank Kaminsky pulled down an NBA-career-high total of 13 rebounds and led all scorers with 23 points to lead the Hornets to a 99-85 victory in Sacramento. Kaminsky reached the 20-point mark for the eighth time this season, and the fourth time during February. But it was his rebound total that especially pleased Charlotte fans, especially given that in his previous game, an overtime loss at Detroit on Thursday, Kaminsky finished with just one rebound while playing 39 minutes, 16 seconds (his second-most playing time in his 137-game pro career).
Ross shows Hawks who’s boss
Terrence Ross, playing just his second game with the Magic, led all scorers with 24 points in Orlando’s 105-86 victory over the visiting Hawks. You have to go back to 2007 to find the last time that a player scored that many points in either his first or second game with the Magic; the last guy to do that was Rashard Lewis, who delivered 26 points in his first game with Orlando on Halloween night.
Saturday’s game produced the Magic’s largest margin of victory in any of their last 29 games against division-rival Atlanta, since a 113-81 win on Jan. 9, 2010.
Dog bites man: Canadiens top Maple Leafs again
The Canadiens beat the Maple Leafs for the 14th consecutive time with a 3-2 overtime win in Toronto. Montreal’s winning streak versus the Maple Leafs, which began in March 2014, is the longest current winning streak by one NHL team against another. (The Blackhawks have the only other current streak in double-figures, having won their last 11 games against the Sabres.)
Carey Price made 32 saves while recording the win for the Canadiens in Saturday’s game. It was Price’s 259th career victory for Montreal, which moves him past Ken Dryden into sole possession of third place on the list for most wins by a Canadiens goaltender, behind Jacques Plante (314) and Patrick Roy (289).
Matthews scores his 29th and 30th
Auston Matthews became the second rookie to score 30 goals in the NHL this season when he reached that level with the second of his two goals for the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Matthews, the first player selected in the 2016 Entry Draft, is now tied with the number-two pick, Patrik Laine, for the league lead in goals by a rookie. This is the first time since the introduction of the draft that the top two picks in one year each scored 30 or more goals in the following NHL season. The only other pairs of top picks from a particular draft class who each scored 30-plus goals in their rookie season (though not the same season) were Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, the first two players chosen in 2004, and Sidney Crosby and Bobby Ryan, the top two picks in 2005.
Matthews, who is 19 years old, and the 18-year-old Laine are the first pair of players each to score 30 or more goals as a teenager in the same NHL season since Vancouver’s Trevor Linden and Buffalo’s Pierre Turgeon did that in 1988-89. Matthews is the second teenager to score 30 goals in season for the Maple Leafs; Wendel Clark was 19 years old in 1985-86 when he set the Toronto franchise record for goals in one season by a rookie (34).
Quick is back and he’s in form
Jonathan Quick, who had not played for the Kings since suffering a groin injury in the first period of the season opener, returned to action on Saturday and made 32 saves in a 4-1 win over the Ducks. Despite missing nearly three-quarters of this season, Quick is tied with Nashville’s Pekka Rinne for the third-most wins over the last eight seasons by an NHL goaltender (231 each), behind Marc-Andre Fleury (261) and Henrik Lundqvist (260).
Blue Jackets blank Islanders
Josh Anderson and Nick Foligno each scored two goals for the Blue Jackets in their 7-0 win over the Islanders. It was the second time that Columbus won a game by at least seven-goal margin this season, having routed the Canadiens by a 10-0 score on November 4. The Blue Jackets, who entered the NHL in 2000, had recorded only one win by a seven-goal margin over their franchise history before this season (8-1 vs. St. Louis in November 2010). Columbus is the first NHL team to produce at least two shutout wins by a 7-0 or larger score in one season since the Bruins won four such games in 2011-12 (7-0, 8-0, 9-0 and 8-0).
Raanta is super on the road
Antti Raanta, who made 35 saves in his 4-3 overtime victory over the Devils in Newark, is 8-1-0 with a 2.25 goals-against average in his 10 road starts for the Rangers this season. Raanta has tied the record for most wins by a Rangers goaltender in his first 10 road starts in one season, a mark established by Dave Kerr in 1934-35 and equaled by Gilles Villemure in both 1971-72 and 1974-75.
Carter reached the big three-oh for first time in 6 seasons
Jeff Carter’s 30th goal of the season capped a four-goal flurry in the third period, allowing the Kings to defeat the visiting Ducks, 4-1. It marked the fourth time in his NHL career that Carter has scored at least 30 goals in a season, but the first time that he has done it since the 2010-11 season, which was the third of his three consecutive 30-goal seasons while with the Flyers.
This time, Forsberg scores just one, not three
Filip Forsberg didn’t produce a third consecutive hat trick but he did score one goal for the Predators in their 5-2 win over the Capitals. Forsberg scored three goals against Calgary on Tuesday and three more against Colorado on Thursday, becoming the first player in Predators history to score seven goals over a three-game span and the first NHL player to do so since Michael Grabner did just that for the Islanders in February 2011. The only active NHL players besides Forsberg and Grabner who have scored as many as seven goals over a three-game stretch are Sidney Crosby and Alex Burrows (both in the 2009-10 season).
Another two-goal game for Josi
Roman Josi scored a pair of goals for the Predators in their win over the Capitals. It was his second multiple-goal game this season and this month, having also scored twice when Nashville defeated the Stars on February 12. Josi is the third defenseman in Predators history to produce two multi-goal games in one calendar month. Shea Weber did that three times (March 2007, November 2008 and March 2014) and Andy Delmore once (December 2001).
Guentzel likes it outdoors
Jake Guentzel was credited with a pair of assists for the Penguins in their 4-2 win over the Flyers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Guentzel, who scored two goals when he made his NHL debut earlier this season (Nov. 21), became the third rookie to produce two assists in one of the NHL’s outdoor games. The others were the Maple Leafs’ Connor Brown and Zach Hyman, each of whom did so this past New Year’s Day against the Red Wings at BMO Field in Toronto.