Elias Says ...

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

• The Timberwolves had visions of a fourth straight overtime game before losing a one-point decision to the Clippers in regulation, 92-91. The Wolves, who won their previous three games, each in OT, are only the third team in NBA history to play four straight games that were decided either by a single point or in overtime.

Here's a strange coincidence. The only other NBA teams ever to fashion four-game streaks of that nature did it simultaneously. Both the Bulls and Celtics began the 2005-06 season with four straight games in which the score at the end of the fourth quarter was either tied or a one-point margin. (The Bulls and Celtics did not face each other during their streaks.)

Dwight Howard scored a career-high 30 points and collected 25 rebounds in Orlando's 91-76 victory at Golden State. Howard became only the second NBA player in the last 10 years to reach those levels in a regulation game. The other was Lorenzen Wright, who had 33 points and 26 rebounds for Memphis on Nov. 4, 2001.

Caron Butler led the Wizards with 26 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in a 113–103 win over the Bulls. Butler was only the third player this season to lead his team in each of those categories in the same game (outright, not tied), joining Dwight Howard (Dec. 6) and Kevin Garnett (Dec. 9). Butler was the fourth player in Wizards franchise history to have such a game (since the NBA began tracking steals in 1973–74); the others were Elvin Hayes (twice), Chris Webber (twice) and Jerry Stackhouse.

Dikembe Mutombo had seven points and 19 rebounds in the Rockets' 102-77 victory over the Lakers. It was Mutombo's eighth straight game with double-digit rebounds and single-digit points. The only other active NBA players who have ever done that in eight consecutive games are Tyson Chandler (a 10-game streak last season) and Ben Wallace (separate streaks of eight and nine games).

• The Knicks defeated the 76ers 106-99 and, as they did in their previous game (at Seattle), never trailed en route to victory. The Mavericks won a season-high four straight games in that fashion (Nov. 25 to Dec. 1); the only other NBA teams to win back-to-back games in which they never trailed this season are the Nuggets, Nets, Supersonics and Magic. Orlando's streak ended at Golden State on Wednesday night.

Allen Iverson scored 33 points but didn't have a rebound in the Nuggets' 92-83 loss to the Spurs. It was the eighth time in his career that Iverson failed to gather a rebound in a game in which he scored at least 30 points. No player has done that as often as Iverson since Tiny Archibald had 10 such games during his career, all from 1972 to 1975.

Chris Bosh had 30 points and six blocks shots in the Raptors' 90-77 win at Milwaukee. The only other NBA players to reach those totals in a game this season are Yao Ming (three times) and Elton Brand (once).

• The Mavericks beat the Trail Blazers for the 12th straight time, 99-74 on Wednesday, the fourth-longest current winning streak for any NBA team against one opponent. Dallas has won its last 20 games against the Hornets, San Antonio has 17 straight wins against the Celtics and Chicago has won its last 15 meetings with the Raptors.

Chris Webber's contract was bought out by the 76ers. From the time of his Sixers debut on Feb. 26, 2005, Philadelphia was 47-52 in games that Webber played alongside Iverson and 17-29 in games that either (or both) of them missed.

Webber was the first player selected in the 1993 draft. The only other players from that draft who are still active in the NBA are Lindsey Hunter and Sam Cassell.

• The Blues continued their recent turnaround with a 3-2 win at New Jersey on Wednesday night. St. Louis, which was 7-19-6 in its first 32 games this season, is 8-2-1 (17 points) since Dec. 19. The only NHL team with as many wins or as many points as the Blues over that span is Phoenix (8-1-1, 17 points since Dec. 19).

• Florida's Olli Jokinen registered his second hat trick of the season when he scored three goals in the Panthers' 5-2 win over the Penguins. (He scored three goals against the Canadiens on Nov. 16.) Jokinen is the third player in Panthers history to notch more than one hat trick in a single season. Pavel Bure did that three times (four hat tricks in both 1999-2000 and 2000-01, two in 1998-99) and Ray Sheppard once (three hat tricks in 1996-97).

• Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller's bid for his second shutout of the season was spoiled when Chicago's Denis Arkhipov scored a shorthanded goal at 19:10 of the third period, though Miller and the Sabres hung on for a 2-1 win over the Blackhawks.

It was the third time this season that Miller carried a potential shutout into the final two minutes of the third period only to have it broken up by a late goal. He had shutout bids foiled at 19:20 of the third period on Dec. 12 at New Jersey and at 18:51 of the third period on Dec. 28 against Carolina. No other NHL goaltender has had more than one possible shutout ended in such a manner this season. Miller has accounted for three of the eight instances in the league this season.

• The Giants announced on Wednesday that Tom Coughlin will return as their head coach next season. Since 1998, six head coaches did not return to their team after reaching the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons: Mike Holmgren (Green Bay), Chan Gailey (Dallas), Jimmy Johnson (Miami), Tony Dungy (Tampa Bay), Jon Gruden (Oakland) and Steve Mariucci (San Francisco).


Tim Worrell announced his retirement, ending a major-league career that spanned 14 seasons (1993-2006). Worrell pitched 678 games in the majors and combined with his brother Todd (617) for 1,295 games on the mound, the third-highest total for any pair of brothers in major-league history. Only Phil and Joe Niekro (1,566) and Gaylord and Jim Perry (1,407) combined to pitch more games than the Worrells.