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Two milestones for Bryant
From Elias: Kobe Bryant, with his second point in the Lakers' victory at Sacramento on Saturday, added to his list of NBA records with an eclectic entry: Most Points Scored In One State. With a pair of second-quarter free throws, Kobe increased his point total in games played in California to18,181 and surpassed the previous mark of 18,180 points scored by Karl Malone in the state of Utah (all while playing with the Jazz from 1985 to 2003).
Less than a minute later, Bryant eclipsed Wilt Chamberlain's NBA career total of points (31,419) and moved into sole possession of fourth place on the league's list of all-time leading scorers. Chamberlain topped that list from Feb. 14, 1965 (when he supplanted Bob Pettit) until Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who still holds the record) passed him on April 5, 1984. Wilt has since been passed by Karl Malone (Dec. 5, 2000), Michael Jordan (Jan. 22, 2003) and Bryant.
Triple-double for Westbrook
From Elias: Russell Westbrook scored 23 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out 10 assists to compliment Kevin Durant's 30 points in the Thunder's 109-99 win at Milwaukee. It was the sixth triple-double of Westbrook's NBA career (but his first since January 2011) and although Oklahoma City has won each of those games, Saturday's game was the first of those six victories that the Thunder won by a double-digit margin.
Nowitzki never hit a shot like that before
From Elias: Dirk Nowitzki's three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter lifted the Mavericks to a 100-98 victory over the Bulls in a game that Dallas trailed by 12 points with fewer than four minutes remaining. It was the third time in Nowitzki's NBA career that he hoisted a potential go-ahead three-pointer with Dallas trailing in the final ten seconds of a regular-season game, but it was the first time that he made such a shot. He missed three-point attempts under those circumstances in losses to the Spurs (Dec, 5, 2007) and Lakers (March 18, 2008). Nowitzki also missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer with three-tenths of a second remaining in a one-point loss to the Nuggets in Game 3 of the 2009 conference semifinals (his only such attempt in a playoff game).
Rubio can't do it alone
The Timberwolves lost to the Grizzlies despite Ricky Rubio leading all players with totals of 23 points, ten rebounds and nine assists. It was the second time this season that Rubio posted outright game highs in each of those three categories (he did so in a victory against the Spurs on March 12). The only other NBA player with even one such game this season is LeBron James (five times).
Rockets win without Harden
From Elias: Jeremy Lin scored 15 points as the Rockets, without James Harden, defeated the Clippers. Houston lost each of the two previous games that Harden missed this season but Lin has scored an average of 22.3 points per game in three games without Harden, compared to his 12.5 PPG average in 70 games alongside "The Beard."
Johnson leads Hawks to season-series sweep of the Magic
From Elias: The Hawks extended their winning streak against the Magic to ten games (since December 2010) with a 97-88 victory that completed a sweep of their four-game season series versus Orlando. Ivan Johnson matched his career high with 21 points to tie Josh Smith for the game high. It was the first of Johnson's 117 career NBA games in which he posted a game-high total of points (either tied or outright).
Evans joins Jayson Williams
From Elias: Reggie Evans grabbed 16 rebounds in the Nets' loss at Utah and he finished the month with an average of 15.5 rebounds per game in 15 games during March. The only other player in the Nets' NBA history to average 15 or more rebounds per game in a calendar month (minimum: 10 games) was Jayson Williams in November 1996 (16.2 RPG in 12 games).
Sixers win with all five starters scoring 14 or more points
From Elias: Jrue Holiday's 14 points were the fewest of any 76ers starter in their 100-92 victory over the Bobcats. Philadelphia had lost the previous four games (dating back to last season) in which Holiday had the lowest point total (outright) among its five starters.
High scoring game for the Pacers
From Elias: The Pacers topped the Suns in Phoenix, 112-104, in what qualifies as a shootout for Indiana. The Pacers hadn't won a game in which it allowed so many points since a 115-107 victory versus the Hornets on November 21. In the interim, Indiana lost five games in which it allowed at least 104 points. The Pacers have played only six games this season in which both teams scored more than 100 points. Only the Grizzlies (three) have played fewer such games than Indiana.
Streaking Penguins remain stingy
From Elias: The Penguins extended their winning streak to 15 games and posted their third consecutive shutout with a 2-0 victory over the Islanders. It's the first time in franchise history that they've recorded three straight shutouts in one season. It's worth noting that before this week the Penguins had registered two consecutive shutouts in one season only once, and they did that 20 years ago (Feb. 8-10, 1993, with Ken Wregget and Tom Barrasso combining for the first shutout and Barrasso in net for the second one).
Tomas Vokoun, who was in goal for Thursday's 4-0 victory against Winnipeg and Saturday's game against the Islanders, is the first goaltender in Penguins history to record shutouts in consecutive games in one season. (The first of the Penguins' three straight shutouts was credited to the team but not an individual, since starter Marc-Andre Fleury suffered an injury and was replaced by Vokoun to begin the third period.) But Vokoun is not the first goaltender in Pittsburgh's NHL history to notch consecutive shutouts in one season. Pittsburgh had an NHL team called the Pirates from 1925-26 through 1929-30 and they had two goaltenders who managed that feat: Roy Worters (four times, including a three-game streak) and Joe Miller (three times).
Price loves facing the Rangers at home
From Elias: Carey Price recorded his fourth consecutive shutout against the Rangers in Montreal with a 3-0 win on Saturday night. Price is the sixth goaltender in NHL history to post shutouts in each of four straight home games against one team. The other netminders to do that were Ottawa's Alex Connell (vs. the Montreal Maroons, 1926-1927); the Canadiens' George Hainsworth (vs. the original Senators, 1928-1929); Toronto's Harry Lumley (vs. the Rangers, in the 1952-53 season); Detroit's Terry Sawchuk (vs. the Maple Leafs, in the 1953-54 season); and Philadelphia's Bernie Parent (vs. the Penguins, 1974-1977).
Quick trick for Hall
From Elias: Taylor Hall had recorded the third hat trick of his NHL career by the 7:53 mark of the first period in the Oilers' game against the Canucks. Hall gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead with a goal 16 seconds after the opening faceoff, and after a Ladislav Smid goal he scored twice more to put the Oilers up 4-0 before the game was eight minutes old. In the last 65 seasons the only other NHL players to score three goals in the first eight minutes of a game were Minnesota's Bill Goldsworthy (7:25 on Dec. 11, 1973), Calgary's Brian McLellan (5:21 on Jan. 14, 1990) and Montreal's Erik Cole (5:41 on March 23, 2012).
Late heroics by Green
From Elias: The Capitals posted a 4-3 shootout win at Buffalo, after Washington tied the score at 3-3 on a goal by defenseman Mike Green at the 19:20 mark of the third period. Green was the first Capitals defenseman to record a score-tying goal in the final minute of the third period since Jan. 14, 2004, when Sergei Gonchar did so with 60 seconds remaining in a game against Calgary. That wasn't the end of the last-minute scoring in that game. The Flames regained the lead 21 seconds later on a goal by Jarome Iginla, only to have Jaromir Jagr tie the score again for the Capitals at the 19:59 mark.
Rookie takes care of business in OT
From Elias: Tyson Barrie scored 50 seconds into overtime to earn the Avalanche a 1-0 win against the Predators on Saturday. Barrie is only the fifth rookie in NHL history to score an overtime goal in a 1-0 regular-season game. The other rookies to do that were Hall of Famer Nels Stewart for the Montreal Maroons (in 1925), San Jose's Marcel Goc (2005), Chicago's Kris Versteeg (2009), and Nashville's Cody Franson (2010), the only other rookie defenseman to score a 1-0 overtime winner.
The hits just keep on coming
From Elias: Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo was credited with 12 hits in Philadelphia's 3-1 win over the Bruins. It was the second time this season that Rinaldo dished out 12 hits in one game; he did that in the Flyers' win against the Jets on February 23. The only player other than Rinaldo to record a dozen or more hits in an NHL game this season is the Coyotes' Shane Doan, who tallied 13 hits at Los Angeles on March 19.
Peters survives shooting barrage
Justin Peters stopped all but one of the Jets' 35 shots on goal in his 3-1 victory at Winnipeg that ended the Hurricanes' seven-game winless streak. It was the 14th time that Peters faced 35 or more shots in a game in his four-year NHL career but only the second time he allowed fewer than two goals in one of those games. The other game in which Peters did that was his NHL debut, against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Feb. 6, 2010. The final score and the number of shots he faced in that game were identical to Saturday's game (3-1, 35 shots).
Kadri is a natural
From Elias: Nazem Kadri scored the final three goals in the Maple Leafs' 4-0 win at Ottawa. It was the third "natural" hat trick in the NHL this season (the others were by the Ducks' Kyle Palmieri and the Kings' Jeff Carter, both against Nashville) and the first by a Toronto player since Dec. 6, 2007, when Nik Antropov scored three consecutive goals in a game against the Rangers. Kadri had another three-goal game this season, against the Islanders on February 28. The last Maple Leafs player to register a pair of hat tricks so close together was Wendel Clark, who had two in a five-day span in 1994 (February 28 and March 4).
Minnesota goes 3-for-3 in shootout
From Elias: The Wild overcame a two-goal deficit and then beat the Kings in a shootout in which Minnesota's three shooters, Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Matt Cullen, all scored. It was the second time this season that an NHL team had a perfect three-for-three shootout; the Penguins' trio of James Neal, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin did the same on January 27 at Ottawa.
From Elias: Shawn Matthias scored two goals for the Panthers as they closed out their March schedule with a 3-2 overtime win against the Devils. Matthias had scored only three goals in 20 games this season through the end of February but he tallied 11 goals in 16 games in March. He's only the second player in Panthers history to score 11 or more goals in one calendar month. The other Floridian to do that, Pavel Bure, did so six times, last in March 2001 when he set the team record of 15 goals in one month.