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Elias Says: November 21, 2017

Falcons strike early against Seahawks’ depleted D

The Falcons jumped out to an early lead over the Seahawks and held on for the 34–31 win in Seattle on Monday Night Football. Atlanta scored 24 points in the first half, marking the second time in the last six seasons that Seattle allowed that many points in the first two quarters of a game. The Seahawks gave up 31 points in their divisional-round playoff loss at Carolina in January 2016.

Two long streaks come to an end on Monday

The Seahawks had won their last 11 games on Monday Night Football before their loss to the Falcons, which was the second-longest winning streak for any team in MNF history. The Raiders won 14 straight Monday Night games from 1975 to 1981.

Matt Ryan threw a pair of touchdown passes in the Falcons’ win, though he was held to a season-low 195 passing yards. That snapped Ryan’s streak of 64 games with at least 200 passing yards, the longest streak of that kind in NFL history. Ben Roethlisberger now owns the longest active streak of 200-yard games; his streak stands at 15 games.

Lockett like a rocket on special teams

Tyler Lockett was one of the bright spots for the Seahawks on Monday, gaining at least 35 yards on four of his five kickoff returns for Seattle. Lockett became the first player to produce at least four kickoff returns of 35 or more yards in a game since the Giants’ David Wilson had four such runbacks in 2012 at Philadelphia.

Celtics survive scare in Dallas for 16th straight win

It was a close call for the Celtics in Dallas on Monday night, but Boston prevailed in overtime to extend its winning streak to 16 games. The Celtics blew an early 15-point lead and had to climb out of a 13-point hole in the fourth quarter to force extra time. Only one other team in the last 20 years extended a winning streak of 15 or more games by erasing a deficit of 13 or more points in the fourth quarter. And that team did so against the Celtics – on March 18, 2013, the Heat extended its winning streak to 23 games with a 105–103 win in Boston. The Celtics led by 13 points in the final period but were outscored, 22–7, in the final eight minutes to let the game slip away.

Irving explodes for biggest game of season

Kyrie Irving poured in a season-high 47 points in the Celtics’ comeback win, including 10 of Boston’s 14 points in overtime. Including Monday, Irving has scored 10 or more points in an overtime period five times in his NBA career. The only active players that have reached double-digits in OT more often are Dwyane Wade (eight times) and LeBron James (seven).

Irving became the 22nd player to score at least 40 points in a game for the Celtics, doing so in his 17th game in a Celtics uniform. Only two of those 22 players had fewer than 17 games played for Boston at the time of their first 40-point game for the team. Todd Day scored 41 points in his 13th game with the Celtics in 1995, and Bob McAdoo compiled 42 points in his 16th game for Boston in 1979. That was the highest-scoring game in Day’s NBA career, and it was the last of 58 40-point games for McAdoo.

LeBron goes to work early against Pistons

LeBron James scored 16 of his 18 points in the first quarter, helping the Cavaliers build an early lead in their 28-point victory over the Pistons. That first-quarter point total stands as the highest for James in any of his 73 matchups with the Pistons (52 in the regular season, 21 in the playoffs). He had scored 15 points in a period versus Detroit twice before, both times in the fourth quarter: once in the 2006 playoffs and again in the 2009–10 regular season.

Monday’s game marked the 53rd time that James scored at least 15 points in the first quarter of a game (regular season or playoffs), and it was the first of those contests that he finished with fewer than 20 points for the game.

Free points lead to big night for Davis

Anthony Davis scored half of his 36 points from the free-throw line, hitting 18 of 22 from the charity stripe in the Pelicans’ 114–107 triumph over the Thunder. Davis is the second player this season to score more than 35 points in a game with at least 50 percent of the points scoring via foul shots – James Harden went 19-for-19 from the line in his 38-point game versus the Raptors on November 14. No player had a game of that kind all of last season, and no Pelicans player had ever achieved that feat prior to Davis.

Another triple-double for Westbrook versus New Orleans

Russell Westbrook posted his fifth triple-double of the season in a losing effort against the Pelicans, totaling 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 12 assists. Including Monday’s outing, Westbrook has produced a triple-double in each of his last three games versus New Orleans. He has compiled three consecutive triple-doubles against six other teams, including a four-game streak against the Nuggets and active three-game streaks versus both the Knicks and Magic. The only other active player to record a triple-double in three straight matchups against a particular opponent is Rajon Rondo, who had a three-game streak of that kind against the Hawks spanning the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons.

What a start for Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis led the Knicks with 25 points in their 107–85 victory over the Clippers. Porzingis has compiled 414 points in 15 games this season, notching at least 25 points in 10 of those 15 contests. Only two Knicks players totaled more points through their first 15 games of a season. Bernard King racked up 493 points through 15 games in the 1984–85 season, and Patrick Ewing produced 438 points in his first 15 games of the 1989–90 campaign.

Porzingis usurped Giannis Antetokounmpo as the youngest player to score at least 400 points through 15 games this season; the “Greek Freak” is also 22 years old but is several months older than Porzingis. There have been only two other NBA seasons in which multiple players age 22 or younger compiled 400 or more points through their first 15 games of the season. Oscar Robertson and Walt Bellamy achieved that feat in 1961–62 (both players were 22), and LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony did so in 2006–07 (James was 21, Anthony 22).

Howard’s huge night done in a hurry

Dwight Howard needed just over 30 minutes on the court to produce a game-high 25 points and 20 rebounds, helping the Hornets knock off the Timberwolves, 118–102. Since Howard’s NBA debut in 2004–05, there have been only three other instances of a player producing at least 25 points and 20 or more rebounds in a game while finishing with fewer than 31 minutes. Kenneth Faried did so once for the Nuggets in December 2014, and Hassan Whiteside had two such games for the Heat, one in February 2016 and the other in February 2017.

Howard now has 207 rebounds in 16 games with the Hornets, becoming the fastest in team history to secure his 200th rebound. Larry Johnson had previously held that mark for Charlotte – “Grandmama” grabbed his 200th rebound in his 17th game for the Hornets in 1991.

A rare two-digit winning score for Wizards against Bucks

The Wizards defeated the Bucks, 99–88, marking Washington’s first win this season in which they finished with fewer than 100 points. The Wizards had not scored fewer than 100 points in a victory over the Bucks since a 98–86 win on March 14, 1999. Washington had topped the century mark in points in all 31 of its wins over Milwaukee since then, prior to Monday. The Bucks scored fewer than 100 points in 10 of their wins over the Wizards in that span.

76ers backcourt comes alive in second half

Ben Simmons and JJ Redick combined for 42 points after halftime, helping the 76ers pull away in their win over the Jazz. Redick, who scored all of his 20 points in the final two quarters, had never scored that many points in a game after posting a goose egg in the first half. As for Simmons, he registered 22 points after intermission to finish with a season-high 27. Only two 76ers rookies in the last 20 seasons scored at least 22 points in the second half of a game, and both did so last season. Joel Embiid totaled 24 points in the third and fourth quarters against the Nets on Dec. 18, 2016, and Dario Saric compiled 22 points after intermission on March 24, 2017 at Chicago.

Oladipo steals win for Pacers

Victor Oladipo racked up a career-high seven steals while also scoring a game-high 29 points to lead the Pacers to victory over the Magic in Orlando. Oladipo’s overall statline – 29 points, nine rebounds, five assists, seven steals, and two blocked shots – has been equaled or bettered by only four players since steals and blocks were first tracked in the 1973–74 season. The most recent player before Oladipo to meet those minimums in a game was Hakeem Olajuwon, who did so in a double-overtime loss to the SuperSonics 30 years ago.

Oladipo finished the night with one more steal than the entire Magic’s roster (six), making him the fourth player this season to produce more steals in a game than the opposing team. The others to do so were Terry Rozier (October 17 at Cleveland), Andre Drummond (October 29 at Golden State), and Dion Waiters (November 12 at Detroit).

Blazers win brick-fest in Memphis

The Blazers shot just 39.8 percent from the field on Monday night, but they still managed to outshoot (and outscore) the Grizzlies in Memphis. There have been nine games this season in which both teams finished the game with a field-goal percentage of 40 percent or lower, and Portland has been involved in three: a win over the Pelicans on October 24, a loss at Utah on November 1, and Monday’s victory. Entering this season, the Blazers had lost 24 of their last 25 games in which they shot 40 percent or worse from the floor.

Gaudreau on fire for Calgary

Johnny Gaudreau tallied a goal and an assist in the Flames’ 4–1 win at Washington. Gaudreau has scored at least one goal in each of Calgary’s last six games. It’s the longest goal-scoring streak by a Flames player since Jarome Iginla scored in six straight games in March 2012, and it’s the second longest goal streak in the NHL this season, with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov having scored in each of the Lightning’s first seven games. Gaudreau has also recorded at least two points in each of his last five games. He’s the first Flames player to register a single-season streak of five consecutive multiple-point games since Iginla did so in February/March 2002. Steven Stamkos (Oct. 16–24) is the only other NHL player to rack up five straight multi-point games this season.

100th game for Auston Matthews

The Maple Leafs’ 4–1 loss to the Coyotes was the 100th regular-season NHL game for Toronto’s Auston Matthews, who had a potential score-tying goal disallowed for goaltender interference late in the third period. Had that goal counted, Matthews would have had sole possession of the record for most goals by a U.S.-born player in his first 100 NHL games, but he will have to share that mark – 52 goals – with Jimmy Carson. Matthews ranks second for most goals in a player’s first 100 NHL games among active skaters, regardless of birthplace, behind Alex Ovechkin (64 goals).

Moore OT winners for Devils

Defenseman John Moore scored the winning goal for the Devils in their 4–3 overtime win at Minnesota. It was Moore’s second overtime goal this season and the sixth OT goal of his NHL career, with all of those goals coming since he signed with the Devils as a free agent in July 2015. Moore leads NHL defensemen in overtime goals over the last three seasons and he’s tied with Jonathan Toews and Alex Galchenyuk for the second most OT goals overall during that span, behind Jeff Carter with seven.

Butcher looking bloody good for New Jersey

Rookie defenseman Will Butcher scored the first goal of his NHL career in the Devils’ loss at Winnipeg on Saturday, and he made it two goals in two games when he scored against the Wild on Monday. Butcher has tied the record for most consecutive team games with a goal by a Devils rookie defenseman, done many times in the team’s first 11 seasons in New Jersey but only twice since 1993–94: by Brian Rafalski in February 2000 and Paul Martin in February 2004. The franchise record is six straight games with a goal by the Colorado Rockies’ Barry Beck in December 1977.

Ekholm extends scoring streak

Mattias Ekholm extended his goal streak to four games, setting a Predators record for a defenseman, when he scored what turned out to be the winning goal in Nashville’s 5–3 victory over the Jets. Ekholm is the first defenseman on any NHL team to score goals in four consecutive team games in one season since Brent Burns did that for the Sharks in 2016 (Feb. 29–March 7). Ekholm had scored only one goal in 16 games this season when he began his current streak with a goal against the Capitals last Tuesday.

Nutivaara chips in for Blue Jackets win

Defenseman Markus Nutivaara assisted on two goals for the Blue Jackets in their 3–2 win at Buffalo. It was the team-leading third multiple-assist game this season for Nutivaara, who also tallied two assists on October 30 versus Boston and November 2 at Florida. Only three NHL defensemen have recorded more multiple-assist games this season than Nutivaara: Erik Karlsson (six), Mike Green (four) and Alex Pietrangelo (four).