Elias Says: March 12, 2017

Mills makes quick work of Warriors in San Antonio

Patty Mills finished his night’s work in a hurry, scoring a team-high 21 points in 21:18 of action in the Spurs’ 107–85 win over the Warriors. This is far from the first time that Mills topped 20 points in less than half a game. Including Saturday’s performance, Mills has nine games with the Spurs in which he scored at least 20 points while logging no more than 24 minutes (i.e., half a regulation-length game). Since San Antonio joined the NBA in 1976, the only Spurs player with more games of that kind is Manu Ginobili, who has compiled 20 games in which he totaled 20 or more points with no more than 24 minutes played.

Career night for Clark

With most of the Warriors’ top scorers watching from the sidelines, Ian Clark led Golden State with a career-high 36 points off the bench in Golden State’s loss to the Spurs. Clark, who had never scored more than 23 points in a NBA game prior to Saturday, reached his lofty point total despite going scoreless in the first quarter. Only two other players this season scored at least 35 points in a game after finishing the first quarter with a goose egg in the points column. Sean Kilpatrick needed two overtime periods to rack up 38 points after a scoreless first quarter for the Nets on November 29 versus the Clippers, and the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry totaled 36 points with none in the first quarter on December 23 at Utah.

Rough night for Splash-less Warriors backcourt

Patrick McCaw and Shaun Livingston struggled in their one-night replacement for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. McCaw and Livingston finished the night with two points apiece, with McCaw going 0-for-12 from the field and Livingston making one field goal in seven attempts. Livingston’s lone field goal saved Golden State from posting the worst field-goal percentage by a starting backcourt in a game this season, which was done just two days prior. On March 9 at Portland, Philadelphia’s starting guards T.J. McConnell and Nik Stauskas combined to go 0-for-14 from the floor in an overtime loss for the 76ers.

McCaw and Livingston’s combined field-goal percentage of 5.3 percent on Saturday was the lowest in a game for a Warriors’ starting backcourt in almost 40 years. Phil Smith and Gus Williams combined to go 0-for-10 from the field for Golden State on Mar. 18, 1977 at the Lakers.

Another TD for Westbrook despite poor shooting

Russell Westbrook struggled from the field, missing 17 of 26 field-goal attempts, but still managed his 32nd triple-double of the season in the Thunder’s 112–104 victory over the Jazz. Westbrook has shot 42 percent from the field in his triple-doubles this season. That’s the lowest field-goal percentage in triple-doubles by any player in NBA history who recorded at least 15 TD’s in one season. There have been 13 such seasons, not including Westbrook’s or James Harden’s in 2016–17, and none of those players made less than 45 percent of their field-goal attempts in their triple-doubles.

Amway Center is notch #20 on LeBron’s belt

LeBron James scored 24 points with 12 rebounds and 13 assists in the Cavaliers’ 116–104 win at Orlando. That was James’ 51st triple-double but his first at Amway Center, which becomes the 20th NBA arena at which James has recorded a TD—significant because for the moment that’s one more venue than Russell Westbrook has tripled at. Oscar Robertson, the all-time NBA leader with 181 triple-doubles, had at least one of them at a record 31 arenas.

Morris nets his first game-winner in OT

Markieff Morris nailed a baseline jumper with 0.4 seconds remaining in overtime, flipping a one-point deficit into a one-point lead for the Wizards in their 125–124 victory over the Blazers in Portland. Entering play on Saturday, Morris had seven field-goal attempts in his NBA career which took place in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime and had the potential to give his team the lead. Morris made just one of those shots, putting the Suns ahead of the Bucks with less than four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter on Dec. 15, 2014 in Phoenix. That shot wasn’t a game-winner, however, as Khris Middleton nailed a three in Milwaukee’s final possession to steal the victory for the Bucks.

McCollum and Lillard surpass legendary Blazers duos

CJ McCollum scored 34 points for the Blazers in a losing effort against the Wizards, and backcourt mate Damian Lillard chipped in with 33 points of his own. Saturday’s game marked the seventh time that McCollum and Lillard each scored at least 30 points in the same game. That’s the most games of that kind for any duo in Blazers history. Two other pairs of Portland players had six games in which both players reached 30 points. Geoff Petrie and Sidney Wicks had six games of that kind in the 1970’s, and Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter had six such games in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Davis celebrates birthday by browbeating Hornets

Anthony Davis commemorated his 24th birthday by scoring 46 points and grabbing 21 rebounds (including nine points and four rebounds in the overtime period) in the Pelicans’ 125–122 OT victory over the Hornets. Davis is the third player in NBA history with at least 45 points and 20 rebounds on his birthday, joining the Warriors’ Neil Johnston on Feb. 4, 1955 versus the Rochester Royals (45 points, 20 rebounds) and Shaquille O’Neal with the Lakers on March 6, 2000 against the Clippers (61 points, 23 rebounds).

Davis is the first player with at least nine points and four rebounds in one overtime period since Dirk Nowitzki did so on March 2, 2008 (also nine points and four rebounds) in a Mavs’ loss to the Lakers.

Booker beats the buzzer again

Devin Booker sank a fallaway jumper at the buzzer to give the Suns a 100–98 road victory over the Mavs. That is Booker’s second game-winning buzzer beater of his NBA career, having also hit one last month on February 3 at Sacramento. Booker is the only player with multiple game-winning buzzer beaters this season. Over the last 10 seasons, only two other players connected on multiple game-winning buzzer beaters on the road within one season: J.R. Smith (two in 2012–13) and Joe Johnson (two in 2013–14).

The Clippers’ formula for success

If you drew a blueprint for success by the Clippers, it would probably look a lot like Saturday’s 112–100 win over the 76ers: DeAndre Jordan scored 19 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, Blake Griffin added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Chris Paul led all scorers with 30 points. It was only the third time that Paul scored at least 30 points in a game in which both Jordan and Griffin achieved double-doubles (all wins).

Bucks notch sixth win in last nine days

The Bucks extended their winning streak to six games by defeating the Timberwolves 102–95 on Saturday night. Milwaukee has won six games in the span of nine days, marking the second time in the last 15 seasons that the Bucks won that many games in fewer than 10 days. The Bucks also won six games in the span of nine days in February 2010. Three other NBA teams have won six games within nine days this season – the Clippers (Nov. 4–12), Warriors (Nov. 18–26), and Rockets (Dec. 9–17).

Harris’ fast start fuels Pistons’ victory

Tobias Harris scored 28 points, including 23 in the first half, in the Pistons’ 112–92 win over the Knicks. Over the last 15 seasons, only one other Pistons forward or center scored that many first-half points in one game; Josh Smith scored 24 points before halftime in a loss to the Mavericks three years ago.

Hawks win big on the road

Reserve Taurean Prince led all Hawks with 17 points in Atlanta’s 107–90 win at Memphis on Saturday. Since the start of the 2015–16 season, the Hawks have won 13 road games by at least 15 points (including six this season). The only other Eastern Conference team with a double-digit number of wins of this type over that span is the Celtics, with 12.

Heat cruise to victory over Raptors

Despite being outrebounded 48 to 35, the Heat coasted to an easy 104–89 victory over the Raptors in Miami. The last time Miami won a game by 15 or more points despite being outrebounded by 10 or more boards also came at the expense of Toronto. On March 17, 2013, the Heat won 108–91 at Toronto despite finishing with 25 fewer rebounds than the Raptors.

Stafford stuns the Flyers with a late game-winning goal

The Bruins and Flyers were only seconds away from overtime in their game on Saturday afternoon, but Drew Stafford’s goal with 5.6 seconds left to play in the third period snapped a 1–1 tie and earned Boston a 2–1 victory over Philadelphia. It was the second-latest tiebreaking goal in regulation time in an NHL game this season, behind the go-ahead goal Vincent Trocheck scored for the Panthers with 4.6 seconds remaining in the third period of their game at St. Louis on February 20. Over the last 30 years the Bruins have scored only two other tiebreaking goals in the final 10 seconds of the third period in a regular-season game. Both of those late tiebreakers were scored at the 19:59 mark, by Sergei Samsonov at Colorado on Oct. 14, 2002 and David Krejci on Oct. 24, 2013 versus San Jose.

Buffalo’s three-goal comeback victory

The Sabres rallied from a 3–0 deficit at the end of the first period to beat the Blue Jackets, 5–3. This was the first time that the Sabres won a game in regulation time after trailing by three goals or more since their 4–3 win over the Penguins on Dec. 29, 2009. Before Saturday’s comeback, the Sabres had not posted a 60-minute victory in a game in which they trailed by at least three goals at the end of the first period since a 7–6 win against the Bruins on Feb. 25, 1983. Boston led 3–0 at the first intermission in that game.

Two straight shutouts and eight straight wins for Brian Elliott

Brian Elliott recorded his second consecutive shutout and his eighth win in his last eight games with a 3–0 victory at Winnipeg on Saturday. Elliott’s eight-game winning streak is the longest by a Flames goaltender within one season since Mike Vernon posted eight straight wins in 1992–93. This is the first time that a Calgary goaltender has notched back-to-back shutouts since Karri Ramo did so in November 2014. It’s the fifth time that Elliott has registered two or more consecutive shutouts in his NHL career, including three streaks of three in a row for the Blues. It’s interesting to note that all five of Elliott’s sets of consecutive shutouts have come in either March (four times) or April (once).

Chychrun sets franchise record with three-point game at age 18

Rookie defenseman Jakob Chychrun tallied one goal and two assists for the Coyotes in their 5–4 win over the Devils. The 18-year-old Chychrun is the youngest defenseman ever to score three points in one game for the Jets/Coyotes franchise. The only other teenage defensemen to register three points in a game for the club both did so at age 19 for the original Winnipeg Jets: Dave Babych (twice in 1980) and Deron Quint (in December 1995). Chychrun is only the third 18-year-old defenseman in the last 20 years to record three points in one game for any NHL team. The others are Zach Bogosian for the Thrashers (Feb. 16, 2009) and Aaron Ekblad for the Panthers (Dec. 6, 2014).

Another 50-assist season for Erik Karlsson

Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson notched his 49th and 50th assists of the season in the Senators’ 4–1 win at Colorado. Karlsson has racked up at least 50 assists in four of his eight seasons in the NHL. All other active NHL defensemen combined have produced only six 50-assist seasons. Duncan Keith has recorded two such seasons and Brian Campbell, Mike Green, Kris Letang and Andrei Markov have each done so once.

Fourth straight 40-point season for Roman Josi

Roman Josi reached the 40-point mark for the fourth consecutive season when he assisted on the Predators’ first goal in their win against the Sharks. Josi is one of five NHL players who have tallied at least 40 points as a defenseman in each of the last four seasons. The others are Dustin Byfuglien, Erik Karlsson, Duncan Keith and Kevin Shattenkirk. Brent Burns has also recorded 40 or more points in each of the last four seasons, but he played right wing for San Jose in the 2013–14 season.

Vasilevskiy continues his resurgence in goal for the Lightning

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy posted his fifth win in his last six games (5–0–1 since Feb. 27) by making 32 saves in a 3–2 victory over the Panthers. (The only blemish on his record over that span was a 1–0 overtime loss to the Rangers on Monday.) Vasilevskiy, who is tied with Craig Anderson and Brian Elliott for the most wins by an NHL goaltender since February 27, had a 1–8–3 record since January 1 when he began this six-game hot stretch.

First overtime goal for Leafs d-man Morgan Rielly

Morgan Rielly scored the first overtime goal of his NHL career and that goal gave the Maple Leafs a 3–2 victory against the Hurricanes. Rielly’s overtime goal was the third by a Toronto defenseman this season; Jake Gardiner scored the two before that, against the Penguins on December 17 and the Jets on February 21. This is the first season in which the Maple Leafs have had three OT goals from defensemen since 2007–08, when Pavel Kubina scored two and Tomas Kaberle notched one.

Tarasenko tallies twice for the Blues

Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals to lead the Blues to a 4–3 win over the Islanders. It was Tarasenko’s sixth multiple-goal game this season and his 15th multi-goal game over the last three seasons. (He had five such games for St. Louis in 2014–15 and four last season.) He’s the first player to record at least 15 multiple-goal games for the Blues over a three-season span since Keith Tkachuk racked up 17 from 2001–02 through 2003–04.