Elias Says ...

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


• Two high-profile NFL running backs joined new teams Friday: Dominic Rhodes agreed to terms with the Raiders and Reuben Droughns was traded to the Giants. There were 39 running backs in the NFL who carried the ball at least 150 times in 2006. Among that group, only three averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry: Rhodes (3.43), Edgerrin James (3.44) and Droughns (3.45).

Rhodes goes from playing for the Super Bowl champion to joining an Oakland team that had the worst record in the league in 2006. Several players in NFL history have made that type of transition and one of them was Tony Dungy! Dungy won a Super Bowl with the 1978 Steelers and then was traded to the 49ers, who were coming off an NFL-worst 2-14 record in 1978.

In Droughns' case, he's being counted on to help replace Tiki Barber, who had a career average of 4.7 yards per carry, the third-highest in NFL history among the 26 players with at least 2,000 career attempts (behind Jim Brown, 5.2, and Barry Sanders, 5.0).


• The Celtics were behind 66-57 at the end of two quarters but stormed back to beat Seattle 118-103. It was the first time in more than a quarter-century that Boston won a game by at least 15 points after trailing by six-or-more points at halftime. Prior to Friday night, the Celtics' last victory of that type was Dec. 30, 1980, at Phoenix (won 116-97, after a 13-point halftime deficit).

Al Jefferson led Boston with 31 points and 16 rebounds. Last Saturday night, he had 32 points and 18 rebounds at New Jersey. The last Celtics player with two 30/15 (points/rebounds) games within the span of one week was Larry Bird, who did it on consecutive days in February 1988.

Shaquille O'Neal scored 32 points, including 15 in the first quarter, in Miami's win over Minnesota. That's the most points that Shaq has scored in the opening period of a game in more than three years -- since he dropped 16 in the initial 12 minutes at Toronto on Feb. 1, 2004.

• New Jersey's five starting players combined for only 27 points in the team's loss at Houston on Friday night. That's the second-lowest total in the NBA history of the Nets. On April 14, 2002, New Jersey's starting five accounted for only 23 points in a loss at Toronto.

• In the Suns' 104-103 victory over the Hornets, the game's high scorers were Devin Brown, David West and Leandro Barbosa, each of whom scored 19 points. It's the first game in the NBA this season in which each team scored at least 100 points and no player scored at least 20 points. There was exactly one game of that type in each of previous three NBA seasons.

Kobe Bryant returned to the Lakers' lineup and scored 30 points in the loss at Philadelphia. Kobe was 12-for-27 from the field but a quiet 3-for-3 from the foul line. It was the 12th game this season in which Bryant had at least 25 field-goal attempts but the first of those 12 in which he attempted no more than three free throws.

Andre Iguodala led the 76ers with 31 points, after he scored 25 points in Philadelphia's victory over Seattle on Wednesday. It's the first time in Iguodala's NBA career that he's scored 25-or-more points in consecutive games.

• The Hawks edged the Grizzlies 106-105. It was Memphis' fourth loss this season by a one-point margin, tying New Jersey and Chicago for the most in the league.


Marty Turco and the Dallas Stars posted a 3-0 victory in Columbus on Friday night. It was the 14th time that the Blue Jackets were shut out this season, matching the NHL's "modern era" record for a single season. Since 1943-44, when the center-ice red line was introduced, three other teams were shut out 14 times in one season: the 1953-54 Black Hawks, 1969-70 Penguins and 2000-01 Wild. The all-time record was set by Chicago in 1928-29. The Hawks were held goalless in 20 of their 44 games that season, in an era in which forward passing was not permitted in the offensive zone.

Sean Burke matched a career high when he faced 54 shots on goal in the Kings' overtime loss in Detroit. Burke had been in net for that many shots twice before, both during his years with the Hartford Whalers. Burke was 4-0-2 against the Red Wings with his first NHL team, the New Jersey Devils, but Friday's OT loss means he's won only two of his 18 decisions against Detroit in 14 seasons since then (2-13-3).

• Detroit outshot Los Angeles 26-4 in the third period of its 3-2 overtime win over the Kings. It was the second-highest shot total in one period by an NHL team in a game this season (Florida had 27 shots in the second period Jan. 13 vs. Washington) and the most by the Red Wings since New Year's Eve 1999, when they had 28 shots on goal in the third period of a 4-4 tie versus Chicago.

Cam Ward made 25 saves for the Hurricanes in their 3-0 win in Washington on Friday night. It was the second shutout for Ward in the 80 regular-season games he's played in his brief NHL career. His other shutout was also against the Capitals, earlier this season (Nov. 9, 5-0 at Carolina). Ward's two regular-season shutouts match the pair he posted in 23 games in the 2006 playoffs while helping lead the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup.

College basketball

• Louisville lost to Pittsburgh on Friday night, one day after eliminating West Virginia from the Big East tournament with an 82-71 overtime victory. The all-time Big East tournament record of teams playing on the day after an overtime win is now 1-17. The lone victory was posted by Syracuse last year en route to the conference title via an 86-84 quarterfinal win in OT vs. UConn.

• Different conference, same pattern: LSU lost to Mississippi on Friday night, after posting a 76-67 overtime win against Tennessee in the first round of the SEC tournament on Thursday. Nineteen teams have won OT games in that tournament and played the following day. Their combined record is now 2-17, with wins by Florida (over Vanderbilt in 2004) and Alabama (over Tennessee in 1942).