Hornets’ 40-point win is at home, of course
The Hornets vanquished the Magic in Charlotte, 121–81. Each of the last 12 NBA games decided by at least 40 points was won by the home team, the second-longest streak of that kind in the last 50 years. There was a stretch from 1991 to 1992 in which the hosts emerged victorious in 13 straight 40-point games. The last visiting team to win an NBA game by 40 or more points was the Spurs, at Philadelphia, in December 2015.
Rubio perfect from line
Ricky Rubio handed out 13 assists in the Timberwolves’ win over the Warriors, but it was his 11-for-11 performance from the line that caught our eye. Minnesota needed every one of those free throws to earn its 103–102 victory. The only other NBA player who was 10-for-10 or better from the line in a game his team won by one point this season was James Harden, who sank all 18 of his free throws in Houston’s 107–106 victory against the Celtics in December.
Warriors win streak at Minnesota snapped
The Warriors had won each of their previous ten games at Minnesota, matching the longest road win streak against a particular opponent in the 71-year history of the franchise. Golden State won ten consecutive games against the Nets in New Jersey from 1984 to 1992.
Antetokounmpo gives and takes
Giannis Antetokounmpo put on a give-and-take show, with six turnovers and five steals in the Bucks’ win over the Pacers. Antetokounmpo also had six giveaways and five takeaways in a game against the Cavaliers in November. No other NBA player has had more than one 5/5 (turnovers/steals) game this season.
Jokic makes impressive return
Nikola Jokic, returning from a two-game absence because of illness, played only 27 minutes on Friday night. But he contributed 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to the Nuggets’ victory over the Celtics. No other NBA player produced at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a game in which he played fewer than 30 minutes this season.
Rockets rally for easy win
The Rockets trailed the Bulls, 33–20, but Houston took over from there for an easy 115–94 win. It was only the third time this season that an NBA team won a game by more than 20 points after it was behind by more than 10 points. The Heat (against the Bucks in November) and Raptors (versus the Magic in December) also rallied for comeback victories of that kind.
Schroder lifts Hawks in fourth quarter
Dennis Schroder scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to help lift the Hawks to a 105–99 victory over the Raptors. That was one point shy of Schroder’s career high for points in the fourth quarter; he netted 14 points in final period at Phoenix in November of this season.
Werenski sets rookie record
Zach Werenski became the first rookie in Blue Jackets history to score 40 points in one season when he assisted on a goal by Nick Foligno in Columbus’ 4–3 win over the Sabres. Werenski broke the old team record of 39 points set by Rick Nash in 2002–03. The 19-year-old Werenski is only the second NHL defenseman in the last 23 years to score 40 or more points in one season as a teenager, joining Cam Fowler, who did so for the Ducks in 2010–11.
Tarasenko’s third straight 30-goal season
Vladimir Tarasenko became a 30-goal scorer for the third consecutive season when he scored the first goal in the Blues’ 4–3 win versus the Ducks. Tarasenko, who scored 37 goals for St. Louis in 2014–15 and a career-high 40 goals in 2015–16, is the first player to register three straight 30-goal seasons for the Blues since Keith Tkachuk had a three-year streak from 2001–02 through 2003–04.
Staal hits 20-goal mark again
Eric Staal reached the 20-goal mark for the ninth time in his 13 seasons in the NHL when he scored the first of his two goals for the Minnesota Wild in its 7–4 win over the Panthers. Staal, who signed with Minnesota as a free agent last summer, produced his eight other 20-goal seasons for the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s the ninth player to score at least 20 goals in his first season with the Wild and the first since Thomas Vanek in 2014–15 (21 goals).
Edmundson scores late tiebreaking goal
Joel Edmundson’s goal at the 19:40 mark of the third period broke a 3–3 tie and earned the Blues a 4 –3 victory over the Ducks. Edmundson’s goal was the latest tiebreaking score in regulation time for the Blues since March 27, 2003, when Doug Weight snapped a 1–1 tie in a game against the Panthers with a goal at 19:58 of the third period. Edmundson is the first St. Louis defenseman to score a tiebreaking goal so late in regulation time since Al MacInnis did so at the 19:58 mark versus Calgary on Oct. 24, 1998.
Malkin extends goal-scoring streak
Evgeni Malkin extended his goal-scoring streak to four games when he scored the second goal for the Penguins in their shootout win at Edmonton. This is only the second time in the last five seasons that Malkin has scored goals in each of four consecutive games, having also done so in 2015 (Nov. 25–Dec. 1). Malkin is the third player to produce a four-game (or longer) goal streak for Pittsburgh this season. Sidney Crosby has had streaks of five and four games, and Phil Kessel had a four-game streak.
Tatar leads Detroit in three-point games
Tomas Tatar tied his career high for points in one game when he scored two goals and assisted on one in the Red Wings’ 4–2 victory against the Blackhawks. It was the fifth three-point game of Tatar’s six-year NHL career and his team-high third such game for Detroit this season. Seven other players have scored three points in a game for the Red Wings this season but none of them have done so more than once.