A “triple-dozen” assists in Cleveland
Three players were credited with at least 12 assists in the Cavaliers’ 125–97 win over the visiting Timberwolves: Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving (14) and LeBron James (12), and Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio (13.) It was the first time that three players assisted on at least a dozen field goals in a non-overtime game since Nov. 13, 1990. On that date, Portland’s Terry Porter (13 assists) and Clyde Drexler (12) came away with a 155–129 home win over Corey Gaines (12) and the Nuggets.
Thomas’s Bird-like streak
Two nights after putting up 41 points and eight assists in a win over the Pistons, Isaiah Thomas scored 44 points and handed out seven assists in the Celtics’ 109–104 win over the Raptors. Thomas is the second player in Celtics history to have at least 40 points and five assists in two straight games. Larry Bird did that in March 1987 (42 pts, 5 ast vs. Seattle, 40 pts, 13 ast vs. New Jersey.)
Nobody has ever shot three-pointers like Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry made 11 three-point field goals in the Warriors’ 126–111 home win over the Hornets. It was the eighth time that Curry made at least 10 three-pointers in a game. No other NBA player has even half as many games with 10+ threes.
Bulls outshoot Thunder by a large margin
The Bulls improved their record to 25–25 with a 128–100 win at Oklahoma City, in which Chicago out-shot the Thunder (now 28–22) from the field, 60.5% to 38.0%. That was the largest positive shooting margin by a team that entered the day with a losing record over an opponent with a winning record (minimum 20 games played by each team) since March 10, 2006, when the Magic out-shot the Cavaliers, 57.5% to 34.2%. The last road team with as high a differential in this kind of matchup was the Suns, at Atlanta on Jan. 31, 1996.
Whiteside grabs 18 versus Howard
Hassan Whiteside (18 points, 18 rebounds) got the better of Dwight Howard (6 pts, 11 reb) in the Heat’s 116–93 home win over the Hawks. It’s the second time this season that Whiteside has grabbed at least 18 boards against Howard’s team – he had 25 (to go along with 19 points) on Nov. 15. No other center has had more than one career game with 18+ rebounds in a head-to-head start versus Howard.
Teague extends team-record assist streak
Jeff Teague scored 13 points and handed out a game-high nine assists in the Pacers’ 98–88 win at Orlando. It was Teague’s 16th consecutive game with at least seven assists, representing the longest streak by any Indiana player in the team’s 41 seasons in the NBA. The previous record of 13 straight games was set by Don Buse, early in the Pacers’ first NBA season (1976–77.)
Gobert has 629 rebounds through 50 games
Rudy Gobert grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds in the Jazz’s 104–88 home win over the Bucks. Gobert has racked up 629 boards in 50 games in 2016–17. Only one player in franchise history has had as many rebounds through his first 50 games of a season: Leonard “Truck” Robinson (809) for New Orleans in 1977–78.
Big first quarters for Caldwell-Pope and Davis
The Pistons’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 17 first-quarter points and the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis scored 16 over the opening 12 minutes of Detroit’s 118–98 home win over New Orleans. It was the first time that two players scored at least 15 points in the first quarter of a game since March 28, 2016, when Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns scored 18 and Phoenix’s Brandon Knight had 16.
Hernangomez’s big effort off bench leads Knicks to win
Willy Hernangomez came off the bench to score 16 points and grab 16 rebounds in the Knicks’ come-from-behind 95–90 win at Brooklyn. Hernangomez is the first substitute to put up at least 15 points and 15 rebounds in a game for New York since Wilson Chandler (22 pts, 16 reb), against Portland on Oct. 30, 2010.
Mejri doesn’t start but grabs 12 first-half rebounds
Salah Mejri came off the bench to grab 12 first-half rebounds (and 17 for the game) in the Mavericks’ 113–95 win over the visiting 76ers. That was the highest first-half rebounding total by any non-starting player this season. Three substitutes grabbed 11 boards before halftime: Boban Marjanovic (Jan. 5), Nikola Vucevic (Jan. 6), and Kyle O’Quinn (Jan. 11.)
Two Memphis subs hand out six assists
Vince Carter and Andrew Harrison each came off the bench to assist on six field goals in the Grizzlies’ 119–99 road win over the Nuggets. The last time two Memphis substitutes handed out more than five assists in a game was in the final contest of the 2007–08 season, also at Denver (Casey Jacobsen 7, Juan Carlos Navarro 7.)
Neither center misses a shot in Phoenix
Centers DeAndre Jordan (3-for-3) and Tyson Chandler (5-for-5) each made all of their field-goal attempts in the Clippers’ 124–114 win at Phoenix. It was the second game this season in which both starting centers attempted at least three shots and made them all. On Dec. 26, Dwight Howard was 9-for-9 and Karl-Anthony Towns went 8-for-8 in a Hawks win at Minnesota.
Another two-goal game for Marchand
Brad Marchand scored two goals for the Bruins in their loss to the Capitals. It was the third time in Boston’s last four games that Marchand scored two goals, having previously done it against the Red Wings (Jan. 24) and Penguins (Jan. 26.) He’s the first Bruins player to produce three multiple-goal games over a four-game span within one season since Cam Neely did so in January 1992. Marchand is the fourth NHL player to pull off that feat this season, after Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary, and the Islanders’ John Tavares.
Backstrom scores three more points against Boston
Nicklas Backstrom notched his fourth game with three points or more this season by scoring one goal and assisting on two in the Capitals’ 5–3 win over the Bruins. Backstrom has racked up 34 points in the 30 regular-season games he’s played versus the Bruins during his NHL career, and he’s tallied 13 points in eight games against Boston over the last three seasons (with at least one point in each of the eight games.) That’s the most points any player has produced against the Bruins since the start of the 2014–15 season.
Monahan scores a goal in fifth straight home game
Sean Monahan scored two goals for the Flames in their 5–1 win over the Wild Wednesday night in Calgary. It’s the fifth consecutive home game in which Monahan has scored at least one goal, matching the longest such streak in the NHL this season. Montreal’s Paul Byron scored and Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter both also scored goals in each of five consecutive home games. Monahan is the first Calgary player to do that since Jarome Iginla lit the lamp in each of five consecutive games at Scotiabank Saddledome in March 2012.
Kings score a lot of early goals
Marian Gaborik scored 47 seconds into the Kings’ win over the Avalanche on Wednesday night. It was the fourth time this season, and second time in the last eight days, that Los Angeles scored a first-minute goal - Anze Kopitar scored 50 seconds into L.A.’s 3–1 win at New Jersey on Jan. 24. The Kings are tied with Washington for the most such goals in the league this season.
Hitchcock is out in St. Louis
The St. Louis Blues announced Wednesday that head coach Ken Hitchcock will be replaced by Mike Yeo. Hitchcock, whose teams have won 781 regular-season games, has the most wins by any full-time head coach ever to be replaced during a season. We say “full-time” because the Islanders brought back Hall-of-Fame coach Al Arbour for a planned one-game stint in November 2007, in which he was credited with his 782nd career win.