Elias Says: Nov. 18, 2016

Panthers offense struggles in win

The Panthers defeated the Saints, 23-20, despite averaging just 4.9 yards per pass play and 1.9 yards per rush. Carolina was the first NFL team this season to post averages below 5.0 yards per pass play and 2.0 yards per rush in a game. Twenty-four of the previous 25 teams to do this lost, dating back to October 2012. The only other winner over that span was the Raiders, at Denver last December by a score of 15-12.

Addison doesn’t start but gets two more sacks

Mario Addison sacked Drew Brees twice in the Panthers’ win Thursday. It was Addison’s third straight game in which he did not start but registered at least one sack. The only other Carolina player ever to post a sack “off the bench” in three straight games is Kony Ealy in December 2014.

Harden leads Rockets in points and assists by large margins

James Harden led the Rockets with 26 points and 14 assists in Houston’s 126-109 home win over Portland. Harden scored 10 more points than the Rockets’ number-two scorers (Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon, 16) and he handed out 11 assists more than any other teammate (three tied with 3.) It was the sixth time that Harden has led the Rockets in points and assists, each by a margin of at least 10. All six games have come over the last 13 months. No other player in team history has ever done this even once.

Wiggins and Towns dominate Sixers

Andrew Wiggins scored 35 points, shot 14-for-20 from the floor, and grabbed 10 rebounds while teammate Karl-Anthony Towns put up 25 points, shooting 12-for-18, and 10 rebounds in the Timberwolves’ 110-86 home win over the 76ers. Wiggins and Towns are the first pair of T-Wolves teammates ever to post at least 25 points and 10 rebounds while making at least two-thirds of their field-goal attempts. The last NBA duo to do that was the Thunder’s Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka, also against Philadelphia on January 25, 2014.

Four Washington players are hot from downtown

Four Wizards players, Otto Porter (4-for-5), Marcus Thornton (3-for-3), John Wall (3-for-5), and Bradley Beal (3-for-6) made at least three three-pointers and shot at least 50% from behind the arc in Washington’s 119-112 home win over New York. It was just the second time that a quartet of Wizards players did that in the same game. The first such game happened earlier this year (Feb. 9), also against the Knicks. The four Washington players who shot well from long range in that game were Porter, Wall, Beal, and Jared Dudley.

Whiteside throws a fourth-quarter block party

Hassan Whiteside blocked five shots in the fourth quarter of the Heat’s 96-73 win over the visiting Bucks. It was the third time since the start of last season that Whiteside had five blocks in a quarter; he also did so against Minnesota last November and at Denver in January. All other NBA players have combined for just two five-block periods since 2015-16. Kristaps Porzingis and Myles Turner each blocked five shots in a quarter in February.

Gobert shoots much better than his teammates

Rudy Gobert shot 7-for-9 from the field (77.8%) in the Jazz’s 85-77 home loss to the Bulls. As a team, Utah made just 38.5% of its field-goal attempts. Gobert is the second player since the Jazz moved to Salt Lake City in 1979 to shoot better than 75% (minimum 8 attempts) in a game in which the team as a whole shot below 40%. On April 12, 2004, Gordon Giricek made seven of eight shots while the team shot 37.7% in a loss at Minnesota.

Brown becomes fourth Toronto rookie to score two goals in a game

Rookie Connor Brown scored two goals in a game for the first time in his NHL career and also contributed two assists when the Maple Leafs beat the Panthers, 6-1, in Toronto. Brown is the fourth rookie to produce a multiple-goal game for the Leafs this season, after Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner had already done so. This is the first time that the Maple Leafs have had four rookies record multi-goal games for them in one season since 1982-83, when Walt Poddubny, Peter Ihnacak, Dan Daoust and Frank Nigro were the rookie quartet. The only other NHL team since 2006-07 to have four rookies with multiple-goal games in the same season was the 2013-14 Lightning (Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, J.T. Brown, Mark Barberio.)

Neal scores a goal in sixth straight game

James Neal tied a Nashville team record when he extended his goal streak to a career-high six games in the Predators’ 5-1 win at Ottawa. He’s the fifth player in franchise history to score goals in each of six consecutive team games in one season; the others were J. P. Dumont (2007-08), Alexander Radulov (2007-08), Patric Hornqvist (2011-12) and Filip Forsberg (2014-15.) Neal’s goal-scoring streak is the longest in the NHL this season. Five players had six-game or longer streaks last season: Patrick Kane (7 games), Sidney Crosby (7), Brad Marchand (7), Steven Stamkos (6) and Jason Spezza (6.)

Lightning offense strikes again on road trip

The Lightning made it three wins in the first three games of their current road trip with a 4-1 victory at Buffalo. Tampa Bay won the first two games of this eventual five-game road swing by scores of 4-0 (against the Islanders in Brooklyn) and 4-3 (in Detroit.) This is the first time in the Lightning’s 24-season history that they’ve won three consecutive games on one road trip while scoring at least four goals in each game. Tampa Bay is the first NHL team to do that since Anaheim and Minnesota both had three-game streaks of that kind over the same four-day span last season (February 15-18.)

Mason grounds Jets

Flyers goaltender Steve Mason made 30 saves in his 5-2 win over the Jets in Philadelphia. Mason has a 6-0-1 record and a 1.34 goals-against average in the eight games he’s played versus the Atlanta/Winnipeg club in his NHL career. His GAA against the Thrashers/Jets is the lowest for any goaltender, active or not, who’s faced them at least six times.

Wild follow up 1-0 loss with a win by the same score

Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk posted his league-leading fourth shutout of the season with a 1-0 win over the Bruins on Thuirsday, two days after Dubnyk and the Wild lost to the Flames by the same score. This is the first time in franchise history that the Wild has played consecutive 1-0 games. Minnesota is the first NHL team to immediately follow a 1-0 loss with a 1-0 victory since Oct. 13-17, 2014, when the Florida Panthers lost to Ottawa and then beat Buffalo.

Stars shine early

Johnny Oduya, Brett Ritchie and Patrick Eaves tallied the goals for the Dallas Stars as they outscored the Avalanche, 3-0, in the first period and then held on to record a 3-2 win against Colorado. The Stars have scored only 22 goals over their last eight games and they’ve done most of their scoring early in those games, with 13 of their goals coming in the first period (four in the second period, five in the third period.)