Elias Says: February 25, 2018

Warriors silence Thunder with defense and big 3rd quarter

The Warriors walloped the Thunder, 112-80, blowing open a close game by outscoring the visitors by 32-21 in the third quarter and by 28-14 in the fourth. It marked the 20th time in 60 games this season that Steve Kerr’s team has outscored its opponents by at least 10 points in the third quarter, by far the highest total for any NBA team. The Warriors led the league in that category last season (outscoring its opponents by 10-plus points in 24 third quarters) and tied the Thunder for the lead (each team had 18) the previous season.

Golden State’s defense was the story on Saturday night, as OKC was limited to 29 field goals on 88 attempts, a rate of 32.95 percent. It was the Thunder’s lowest field-goal percentage in a game in more than three years—since the team shot 32.6 percent in a loss at Sacramento on Jan. 7, 2015. Oklahoma City’s “big three” of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George shot 11-of-46 from the floor (23.9 percent). George went 1-of-14, matching his lowest shooting percentage (7.1 percent) in any of the 409 NBA games in which he has taken at least 10 shots from the floor. (George’s other 1-for-14 game came at San Antonio on Dec. 21, 2015, while with the Pacers.)

Lillard scores 40, including game-winner, and sets team record

Damian Lillard saw his consecutive free-throws streak end at 54, but overcame that disappointment by finishing with 40 points, including a game-winning driving layup in the game’s final second as the Trail Blazers won in Phoenix, 106-104. Lillard has now scored 197 points over his last five games (including games of 50, 44 and 40 points), the most by any NBA player over a five-game span this season, topping James Harden’s total of 193 points over five games, November 5-14. Lillard also now owns the top five-game total by anyone in the Trail Blazers’ 48-season history; the previous high was 182 points over five games by Brandon Roy, Dec. 9-18, 2008.

Embiid leads 76ers to 10th straight home win

Joel Embiid contributed 28 points and 14 rebounds in leading the 76ers to their 10th consecutive home win and their seventh straight win overall, a 116-105 victory over the visiting Magic. Embiid played just shy of 27 minutes in the game, and became the first 76ers player to reach those levels of points and rebounds in a game in which he played less than 30 minutes since the franchise relocated from Syracuse to Philadelphia in 1963.

The 76ers’ 10-game home winning streak is their longest since the 2002-03 squad won its first 10 home games; that was the last season in which Larry Brown was the team’s head coach. The 76ers are the second NBA team within the last 30 days to lengthen a home winning streak to double-digits after not having enjoyed such a streak for more than a decade. The Timberwolves saw a 13-game home winning streak snapped on February 13 after they hadn’t enjoyed a home winning streak of 10-plus games since 2004.

Irving drops 31 in “rubber game” at MSG

Kyrie Irving pumped in 31 points to lead all scorers in the Celtics’ 121-112 triumph over the Knicks in the 125th regular-season meeting between the teams at the current Madison Square Garden. With the victory, the Celtics now hold a 63-62 advantage over the Knicks in that building, which opened 50 years ago this month. Irving, who scored 32 points in Boston’s last game in New York in December, became just the fourth Celtics player to produce a pair of 30-point games at the Garden in one season since it opened in 1968. The others: John Havlicek in 1969-70, Larry Bird in 1986-87, and Paul Pierce in 2006-07.

Mitchell ties Jazz rookie record

Donovan Mitchell finished with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Jazz’s 97-90 victory over the Mavericks. It marked the fourth game this season in which Mitchell has garnered 20 points, five rebounds and five assists; that tied a franchise record for most 20/5/5 games by a player in his rookie season. Darrell Griffith and Karl Malone each had four such games as rookies.

Teague leads the way for Wolves

Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague combined for 70 points to lift the Timberwolves to a 122-104 triumph over the Bulls. Teague, with 25 points, led all scorers on both teams. It was the first time that Teague had outscored every other player in a game since Dec. 22, 2016, when he did it while scoring 31 points for the Pacers against the Celtics.

Another Heat beatdown of Grizzlies

Tyler Johnson scored a game-high 23 points as the Heat won for just the second time over its last 10 games, defeating the Grizzlies, 115-89. Johnson had led Miami in scoring only once over its last 20 games, but that came in the team’s only previous victory this month—he scored 19 points in the Heat’s win over the Bucks on February 9. The 26-point margin of victory was Miami’s largest in any game this season, surpassing the previous high set in a 107-82 victory at Memphis on December 11. Other than those two wins over the Grizzlies, the Heat has not won a game this season by a margin of 20-plus points.

Eight threes for KCP

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocked down eight three-point field goals in the Lakers’ 113-108 win at Sacramento. Kobe Bryant is the only player in Lakers history who made more three-pointers in a single game; he made 12 in a game in 2003 (an NBA single-game record at the time, since surpassed by Stephen Curry), and had three games in which he made nine.

Ovechkin nets goals #300 and 301 at Capital One Arena

Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of goals in the Capitals’ 5-1 win over the Sabres in Washington. Those were the 300th and 301st goals that Ovechkin has scored in regular-season play at Capital One Arena. He’s the 10th player in NHL history to score 300 or more regular-season goals at one venue and one of six players to do so in the expansion era. The other players who scored 300-plus goals in one building since 1967-68 are Mario Lemieux (373 goals at Civic Arena, later Mellon Arena), Steve Yzerman (330 at Joe Louis Arena), Wayne Gretzky (327 at Northlands Coliseum), Mike Bossy (316 at Nassau Coliseum) and Guy Lafleur (306 at Montreal Forum).

Laine, in 2nd season, reaches 30 goals again

Patrik Laine scored his 30th and 31st goals of the season in the Jets’ 5-3 win in Dallas. Laine scored 36 goals last season, his first in the NHL, putting him second among rookies behind the Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews (40 goals). The only other active players who scored at least 30 goals in each of their first two NHL seasons are Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Artemi Panarin.

Dadonov’s 3rd goal of game is a winner

Evgenii Dadonov completed the first hat trick of his NHL career when he scored the tiebreaking goal at 18:07 of the third period, boosting the Panthers to a 6-5 win over the Penguins. Dadonov’s hat trick was the third this season by a Panthers player. (Radim Vrbata and Vincent Trocheck produced the other three-goal games.) That’s as many hat tricks as the Panthers had over the previous five seasons combined (one in 2012-13 and two in 2016-17). This is the first season in which Florida players have earned as many as three hat tricks since they had four in 2009-10 (one each by Steve Reinprecht, Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton and Radek Dvorak).

Zetterberg’s 100th power play goal is game-winner

Henrik Zetterberg’s first power play goal this season proved to be the game-winner for the Red Wings in their 3-1 victory against the Hurricanes. It was the 100th power play goal for Zetterberg in a 15-season NHL career spent entirely with Detroit. Only seven other active NHL players have scored 100 or more power play goals for their current team: Alex Ovechkin, Daniel Sedin, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby, Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry.

Point gets 25th goal, then lifts Lightning in shootout

Brayden Point scored once in regulation time and then was the only player to score in the shootout by which the Lightning copped a 4-3 win in Montreal. Point, who finished with 18 goals for Tampa Bay as a rookie last season, has scored 25 this season, second on the team to Nikita Kucherov (33 goals). Point’s goal total stands third among NHL “sophomores” this season (i.e., players who were rookies in 2016-17 but not in 2017-18), behind Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine (31) and Toronto’s Auston Matthews (28).

Patrick’s 4th straight game scoring a goal

Nolan Patrick extended his goal streak to four games when he scored for the Flyers in the third period of their 5-3 win in Ottawa. Patrick’s four-game goal streak matches the high for a rookie in the NHL this season. Canucks rookie Brock Boeser has had two four-game goal streaks this season (Nov. 16-22 and Dec. 19-28) and Devils rookie Nico Hischier put together a four-game streak earlier this month (Feb. 13-18). The 19-year-old Patrick is the second teenager in Flyers history to produce a goal streak of at least four games; Sean Couturier was also 19 years old when he scored in five straight games in January 2012.

Marner’s 3rd game with at least 4 points this season

Mitch Marner contributed a goal and three assists as the Maple Leafs tied a franchise record with their ninth consecutive home win, a 4-3 victory over the Bruins. It was the third time that Marner has racked up at least four points in a game this season. He produced four points versus Carolina on December 19 and five against Ottawa on February 10. Marner is the first Toronto player to register four or more points in a game at least three times in one season since Doug Gilmour tied a franchise record with five such games in 1993-94.

Anderson’s goal makes the difference

Josh Anderson’s goal with 8:46 left to play in the third period was the game-winning goal in the Blue Jackets’ 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks. Anderson leads Columbus with 18 goals this season. The Blue Jackets are one of the three NHL teams that have not had a player score 20 or more goals for them this season. The others are the Coyotes (rookie Clayton Keller leads the club with 17 goals) and the Senators (Mark Stone leads with 19 goals).

Palmieri 2, Islanders 1

Kyle Palmieri’s two third-period goals enabled the Devils to overcome a 1-0 deficit and beat the Islanders, 2-1, in Newark. Over the last ten seasons, the only other time a player had a multiple-goal game in which he scored every goal for the Devils in a New Jersey victory was on Oct. 18, 2016, when Taylor Hall scored twice in a 2-1 win on home ice against the Ducks. Hall assisted on both of Palmieiri’s goals in Saturday’s game.

Gillies: 3 wins in 3 NHL starts

Flames rookie Jon Gillies earned his third win in three starts in the NHL, a 5-1 victory over the Avalanche in Calgary. Gillies, whose first NHL start was a win for the Flames in Los Angeles on April 6 last year, didn’t make his second start until Thursday, when he won in Arizona. The only other goaltender to win the first three starts of his NHL career while playing for the Flames is the man who served as the backup for Gillies in Saturday’s game, David Rittich, who did that earlier this season (winning on Nov. 25 at Colorado, Dec. 7 at Montreal and Dec. 17 at Vancouver). The only goaltender to win his first three starts for the Flames after making starts for other NHL teams was Yves Belanger in 1977-78. Belanger, who joined the Atlanta Flames after making 45 starts for the Blues, won his first four starts with the Flames.

Raanta’s turnaround continues

Antti Raanta delivered his second shutout of the season as the Coyotes blanked the Ducks, 2-0. Raanta, acquired by Arizona in a trade with the Rangers last June, was 6-12-5 with a 2.64 GAA in his first 25 games this season, but he’s 7-3-1 with a 2.10 GAA in 12 games since then.