New acquisition Harris provides immediate help for Clippers
Tobias Harris, one of the players acquired by the Clippers in the Blake Griffin trade, scored 24 points in his debut for Los Angeles, a 113–103 home win over Chicago. One other player in Clippers franchise history has scored as many points in his first game for the team after having previously played for a different team that season. In February 1994, Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins put 34 points on the board against the Seattle SuperSonics in his first game after being traded by the Hawks in exchange for Danny Manning.
Williams extends bench-scoring streak
Lou Williams came off the bench to score 21 points in the Clippers’ 113–103 win over the visiting Bulls. Williams has scored at least 20 points in each of the last 14 games that he did not start. That’s the longest such streak by any NBA player since Seattle’s “Downtown” Fred Brown scored 20+ points in 16 straight non-starts late in the 1975–76 season.
Another 20/20 game for Drummond
Andre Drummond scored 23 points and collected 20 rebounds in the Pistons’ 111–107 home win against the Heat. It was the sixth game this season that Drummond has finished with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. That’s the highest such total by any NBA player since Dwight Howard had nine in 2011–12, his final season with the Magic. The last Detroit player with as many 20-point/20-rebound games in a season was Bob Lanier, who had six in 1973–74.
Cavs have been outscored this season
Saturday’s 120–88 home loss to the Rockets dropped the Cavaliers’ won-loss record to 30–21 and their point differential to minus-19 (5568 scored, 5587 allowed.) The only other teams that LeBron James has played for to have been in the red in net points at least 50 games into a season were the Cavs in 2003–04 (James’s rookie year) and 2007–08. Both of those teams finished the 82-game regular season allowing more points than they scored.
Nuggets come back to beat Warriors
The Nuggets overcame a six-point deficit at the end of the third quarter to beat the visiting Warriors 115–108. It was the first time Denver beat the defending NBA champions in a game it trailed entering the fourth quarter since Nov. 11, 2010, when the Nuggets climbed out of an eight-point hole after three quarters to defeat the Lakers 118–112 at Pepsi Center.
Rubio’s performance is rarely seen by a visitor to San Antonio
Ricky Rubio scored a career-high 34 points, making 11 of 14 field-goal attempts (78.6%) in the Jazz’s 120–111 road win over the Spurs. The only other NBA starting guards ever to score at least 30 points and shoot better than 75% from the floor in a road game at San Antonio were Otis Birdsong of the Kansas City Kings on March 4, 1981 (39 pts, 19-for-25) and the Suns’ Stephon Marbury exactly 22 years later on March 4, 2003 (35 pts, 12-for-14.)
Wizards backcourt comes through without John Wall
Washington’s starting guards Bradley Beal and Tomas Satoransky combined for 37 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists, and a .625 field goal percentage in Saturday’s 115–98 victory at Orlando. The Wizards/Bullets’ starting backcourt has matched each of those figures in only one game since the team relocated to Washington in 1973. On Dec. 9, 1997, Rod Strickland and Calbert Cheaney teamed up to produce 38 points, 12 rebounds, 15 assists, and a field goal percentage of .684 in a win over the Nets.
Stephenson and Sabonis come off the bench, fill boxscore
Lance Stephenson came off the bench to produce 14 points, nine rebounds, and four assists, while fellow substitute Domantas Sabonis finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in the Pacers’ 100–92 win over the visiting 76ers. It was the second time this season that Stephenson and Sabonis each generated at least 10 points eight rebounds, and four assists off the bench in the same game – the first was on Nov. 27 against the Magic. No other NBA bench duo has done that even once in any of the last three seasons (since 2015–16.)
Eight straight seven-point quarters by Butler
Jimmy Butler scored eight points in each of the first two quarters, and then seven more in the third and fourth periods of the Timberwolves’ 118–107 home win over the Pelicans. In his last game, on Thursday against the Bucks, Butler scored exactly seven points in all four quarters. The only other NBA player this season to score at least seven points in all four quarters of two consecutive games was LaMarcus Aldridge on Nov. 27 and 29 against Dallas and Memphis.
A disappointing final quarter for Sacramento
After three quarters, the Kings led the visiting Mavericks, 85–81. But Dallas outscored Sacramento 25–14 over the game’s final 12 minutes to come away with a 106–99 win. The last NBA home team to lose and fail to score 100 points after having scored at least 85 and holding a lead at the end of the third period was the Pistons on Dec. 30, 2013. Detroit led Washington 87–78 entering the final quarter but lost 106–99.
Rask is unbeaten in regulation in his last 20 decisions
Tuukka Rask extended his streak of consecutive decisions without a loss to 20 when he beat the Maple Leafs, 4–1, in Boston. Rask was 3–8–2 in his first 13 games this season but he’s 18–0–2 since then (Nov. 29 to date, including one no-decision relief appearance). Since 1996–97, only three other NHL goaltenders have posted a streak of 20 or more consecutive decisions without a loss in one season: Jose Theodore for the Capitals in 2009–10 (23), Roberto Luongo with the Canucks in 2010–11 (21), and Washington’s Braden Holtby in both 2015–16 (22) and 2016–17 (21). Rask’s streak is the longest by a Bruins goaltender in one season since Pete Peeters had a 31-decision skein in 1982–83.
Patrick’s late goal salvages a point for Philadelphia
The Flyers suffered a shootout loss to the Senators but they earned a point in the standings thanks to rookie Nolan Patrick, whose goal with 2.6 seconds left to play in the third period tied the score at 3–3. Patrick is the third rookie in Flyers history to score a tying goal in the final ten seconds of the third period. The other Philadelphia rookies to do that were Bill Lesuk (Jan. 23, 1971 at Minnesota, 19:58 of the third period) and Freddy Meyer (March 8, 2006 vs. Carolina, 19:59 of the third period). Patrick’s goal in Saturday’s game was the latest tying goal by a rookie on any NHL team since Anthony Mantha’s tying tally for the Red Wings at the 19:58 mark of the third period on Jan. 1, 2017, in the NHL’s Winter Classic at Toronto’s BMO Field.
Anderson stays hot against Flyers
Craig Anderson made 33 saves regulation time and overtime and then went unscored upon in the six-round shootout which earned him and the Ottawa Senators a 4–3 win in Philadelphia. Anderson has a 12–5–3 career record versus the Flyers, including a 5–1–3 mark against them on the road. He’s 3–0–3 in the six games he’s played in Philadelphia for the Senators, with all of those games decided in overtime (one) or via a shootout (five).
Huberdeau’s late goal gives Panthers a win
Jonathan Huberdeau’s controversial goal at the 19:51 mark of the third period broke a 2–2 tie and gave the Florida Panthers a 3–2 win over the Red Wings. This was just the second time in the team’s 24 seasons in the NHL that a Panthers player scored a tiebreaking goal in the final ten seconds of the third period. The other instance was a little less than one year ago, when Vincent Trocheck’s goal at 19:55 of the third period enabled Florida to register a 2–1 win at St. Louis.
Another big win for Dallas
Tyler Seguin scored one goal and assisted on two in the Stars’ 6–1 win against the Wild in Dallas. It was the Stars’ league-high sixth win by a margin of five goals or more this season. (No other NHL team has more than four such victories.) Dallas won only one game by a five-goal or bigger margin over the past two seasons combined, and the Stars have only six wins of that kind over the previous four seasons taken together.
Another 40-point season for Subban
Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban reached the 40-point mark for the fifth straight season by tallying a goal and an assist in the Predators’ 5–2 win against the Rangers. The only other active NHL player who scored at least 40 points as a defenseman in each of five or more consecutive seasons at any point in his career is Zdeno Chara, who had an eight-season streak from 2003–04 through 2011–12. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns has racked up at least 40 points in each of the last five seasons, but in the first season of that streak (2013–14) he played right wing for San Jose.
Defenseman Petry scores twice on the power play
Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry scored two goals, both on power plays, in the Canadiens’ 5–2 win against the Ducks. Petry, the son of former major-league pitcher Dan Petry, is only the second defenseman to score two power play goals in one game for the Canadiens over the last 11 seasons. Andrei Markov did that twice over that span: against the Islanders in 2009 (Dec. 19) and the Panthers in 2013 (Jan. 22).
Two other defensemen also scored a goal for the Canadiens in Saturday’s game at Bell Centre: Joe Morrow and David Schlemko. This was just the third time in the last 18 seasons that three different Canadiens defensemen each scored a goal in the same game. The other instances since 1999–2000 were in a win against the Islanders in 2009 (April 2: one goal each by Markov, Mathieu Schneider and Mike Komisarek) and in a shootout loss to Washington in 2015 (also on April 2: one goal apiece from Petry, P.K. Subban and Tom Gilbert).
Halak is busy in win
Jaroslav Halak made 46 saves (including 25 in the first period) in his 4–3 win against the Blue Jackets in Brooklyn on Saturday. Over the last seven seasons the Islanders have a 15–1–4 record in games in which one of their goaltenders made 40 or more saves. The Isles’ only regulation loss in that circumstance since 2011–12 came in their last game, when Thomas Greiss stopped 45 of 50 shots in a 5–0 defeat at Toronto on Wednesday.
Gunnarson scores the only goal in Blues win
Carl Gunnarsson’s goal with 5:41 remaining in the third period earned the St. Louis Blues a 1–0 win against the Sabres in Buffalo. This was the first 1–0 victory for the Blues with the goal scored by a defenseman since Jan. 19, 2012, when Alex Pietrangelo’s goal was the game-winner. Before Gunnarsson, the last 1–0 road win for St. Louis with a goal from a defenseman was at Colorado on Oct. 31, 2001, with Al MacInnis providing the goal.
Zajac scores two goals against Pittsburgh
Travis Zajac had a hand in all of the goals the Devils scored in their 3–1 victory over the Penguins. Zajac scored the first and last goals in the game, and he assisted on the game-winning goal by Blake Coleman. This was the 12th multiple-goal game for Zajac in his 12-season NHL career (all spent with New Jersey) and his second-multi-goal game versus Pittsburgh. (His other two-goal game against the Penguins was in October 2007.) The Flyers (also two) are the only other NHL team against which Zajac has produced more than one multiple-goal performance.