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KIDD: ONE OF A KIND
From Elias: Jason Kidd took only one field-goal attempt (a first-quarter three-pointer, which he made) and no free-throw attempts, but contributed 14 assists and eight rebounds to the Mavericks' 105-99 victory at Washington. It was the first time in NBA history that a player had collected that many assists and that many rebounds in a game in which he had a combined total of no more than one shot from the floor and the foul line.
Prior to Saturday night, Kidd had been credited with 12 assists in each of his last two games, and this is the first time since joining the Mavericks in February 2008 that he has strung together three games of 12-or-more assists. Less than a month shy of his 38th birthday, Kidd is one of only two players in NBA history with back-to-back games of at least a dozen assists at that age. John Stockton twice had three straight games of 12-or-more assists at age 38 in the 2000-01 season.
CELTICS' LARGEST COMEBACK WIN THIS SEASON
From Elias: The Clippers, playing at home for the first time since February 2, ran out to a 38-25 lead five minutes into the second quarter, but the Celtics wore the home team down to take a 99-92 decision. It was the first time this season that the Celtics have won a game after overcoming a deficit that large; Boston had been 0-6 in games in which it fell behind by 13-or-more points.
GRIFFIN JOINS BELLS AND SHAQ
From Elias: Blake Griffin had 21 points and 11 rebounds against Boston on Saturday night, and 60 games into his NBA career he owns averages of 22.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while shooting 50.9 percent from the floor. Only two other players in NBA history, over their first 60 games, averaged at least 22 points and 12 rebounds per game while hitting at least half of their shots from the floor: Walt Bellamy in 1961-62 (32.0 points, 19.3 rebounds, 51.6 percent) and Shaquille O'Neal in 1992-93 (23.9 points, 14.0 rebounds, 56.1 percent).
BUDINGER A BUDDING STAR?
From Elias: Chase Budinger scored 27 points in his first start of the season and the Rockets rolled to a 123-108 triumph over the struggling Nets. Budinger, on the heels of a 30-point off-the-bench performance at Cleveland on Wednesday, earned the starting nod after Shane Battier was traded to Memphis earlier in the week. Prior to the Cleveland game, Budinger had never scored as many as 25 points in any of his 129 NBA games.
Since the year 2000, only two other NBA players have produced consecutive games of 25-or-more points after never before having had one in a career of at least 100 games: Travis Outlaw with Portland in April 2007 and Jared Dudley with Phoenix two months ago. Among other prominent players who did that: Michael Cooper (in 1981), Doc Rivers (in 1984) and Gary Payton (in 1992) .
WILLIAMS SETS NBA RECORD BUT NETS LOSE AGAIN
From Elias: Deron Williams was credited with 17 assists in his second game with New Jersey, after chalking up a dozen assists at San Antonio in his Nets debut on Friday night. In the history of the NBA, that's the highest assist total by any player in his first two games with a team. The old record was 26 assists in a player's first two games with a team, last done by Kenny Anderson in his first two games with the Charlotte Hornets back in January of 1996.
But Williams's record doesn't lead tonight's "Elias Says" column because it's tempered by the fact that the Nets lost each of those games by double-digit margins. Deron had a total of 36 games of 15-or-more assists with the Jazz, and the team went 30-6 in those games, with none of the losses came by a margin of more than five points.
DERON-LESS JAZZ STILL GET A LOT OF ASSISTS, BUT...
From Elias: Newly-acquired Devin Harris led the Jazz with 12 assists and Utah was credited with 37 assists on its 44 field goals¿playing on the road, no less¿but still wound up losing to the Pistons. You don't see that very often: The last 28 NBA teams that made at least 44 field goals in a game and had such a high percentage of assisted field goals all won their games. The last such loss came back in 1992, when the Cavaliers dropped a 119-114 decision to the Nets despite being credited with 39 assists on 46 baskets.
PISTONS WIN, BUT DEFENSE REMAINS SUSPECT
From Elias: The Pistons scored 37 points in the fourth quarter to overcome a one-point Utah lead and capture a 120-116 victory. It had been nearly four years¿since March 30, 2007¿since the Pistons had won by scoring so many fourth-quarter points to overcome an end-of-third-quarter deficit.
But Detroit's defense continues as a concern: the Jazz shot a whopping 59.5 percent from the floor, marking the eighth time in their last 10 games that the Pistons have seen their opponents make at least half of their field-goal attempts. Prior to this season, the Pistons had not been victimized in that manner since 1993.
NOAH'S BACK AND MAKING AN IMPACT
From Elias: Joakim Noah, for the second time in three games since returning from injury, had nine offensive rebounds in a game as the Bulls smothered the Bucks, 83-75, in Milwaukee; Noah had retrieved nine off the offensive boards at Toronto on Wednesday. That equals the total of games (two) in which Noah had nine-or-more offensive rebounds in the 242 NBA games that he had played prior to his recent thumb injury. And he became the first Bulls player with two such games in the same season since Ben Wallace had four in the 2006-07 season.
GRIZZLIES OVERPOWER KINGS
From Elias: The Grizzlies overwhelmed the Kings, outscoring the visitors by a 97-64 margin over the game's final three periods, as Memphis continued its playoff push with a lopsided victory. It was the 1,258th regular-season game in Grizzlies history, but only the second of them in which they outscored their opponent by such a wide margin over the final three quarters. The Grizzlies outscored the Nets, 84-49, over the final three quarters of a game on Dec. 13, 2003.
SEMIN SCORES? CAPS WIN
From Elias: The Capitals overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Islanders, 3-2, with Alexander Semin's third-period goal providing the winning margin. This season, Washington has won all 14 games in which Semin has scored goals, compared to its 13-16-5 record in games in which he has played but failed to score a goal, and to its 6-4-5 record in games that Semin has missed.
KOPITAR: 5 SEASONS IN NHL, 20+ GOALS IN EACH
From Elias: Anze Kopitar scored the first goal as the Kings built a 4-0 lead, and they held off a late rush by the Avalanche to take a 4-3 decision. Kopitar's goal was his 20th this season, the fifth time in five NHL seasons that he has reached that mark. Only four other active players have played at least five seasons in the NHL and have scored at least 20 goals in each of them: Ilya Kovalchuk (nine), Sidney Crosby (six), Alex Ovechkin (six) and Thomas Vanek (six) .
AVALANCHE'S GENEROSITY STREAK NOW NHL's LONGEST SINCE 2000
From Elias: The Avalanche's 4-3 loss marked the 17th consecutive game in which it has allowed three-or-more goals, the longest single-season streak in the NHL since the Thrashers gave up at least three goals in 18 straight games in February and March of 2000.
GOLIGOSKI, MR. THIRD PERIOD, STRIKES AGAIN, THIS TIME FOR STARS
From Elias: The Stars scored twice in the third period, overcoming a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Predators, 3-2. Defenseman Alex Goligoski, playing just his third game for Dallas after coming over from Pittsburgh, scored the tying goal and assisted on Loui Eriksson's game-winning power play goal with 3:42 to play. It didn't take Dallas fans long to realize what Pittsburgh fans had learned: Goligoski bears watching late in games: Of his 10 goals this season (including nine with the Penguins), seven have come in the third period (six) or overtime (one) .
PENGUINS' EXPLOSION ENDS STREAK OF LOW-SCORING GAMES
From Elias: Alex Kovalev was the only player to score in the shootout that earned Pittsburgh a victory at Toronto, after the Penguins and Maple Leafs played to a 5-5 stalemate. The Penguins entered play on Saturday having scored three-or-fewer goals in each of their last 16 games, which matched the second-longest single-season streak of its kind in franchise history. Pittsburgh scored no more than three goals in 23 consecutive games in 2002-03 and in 16 straight games in 1999-2000.
DO YOU LIKE HOT WINGS? HUDLER IS YOUR GUY
From Elias: The Red Wings beat the Sabres via a shootout on Saturday night, after Detroit's Jiri Hudler had knotted the score at 2-2 with a goal at 19:02 of the third period. Hudler scored only six points in his first 30 games this season (one goal, five assists) but he has produced 24 points in 27 games since then (six goals, 18 assists), ranking second on the team in points over that span (December 27 to date), behind Henrik Zetterberg (27 points).
CONDRA GETS HIS FIRST TWO
From Elias: Rookie Erik Condra scored the first two goals of his NHL career in the Senators' 4-1 win over the Flyers. It was the second two-goal game by an Ottawa rookie this season; Bobby Butler scored twice against Florida on Wednesday this week. This is the first time that the Senators have had two rookies record multiple-goal games in the same season since Brandon Bochenski and Patrick Eaves did so in 2005-06.
CAMMALLERI: ANOTHER 2-POINT GAME
From Elias: Mike Cammalleri, who recorded a goal and an assist against Toronto on Thursday, matched that performance in the Canadiens' 4-3 win over Carolina on Saturday. It's only the second time that Cammalleri has registered consecutive multiple-point games in his two seasons with Montreal (having done it on Nov. 20-21, 2009). Cammalleri has posted eight multi-point games this season and the last seven have all come in Montreal.