LeBron leads the way for Cavs
LeBron James scored 30 points while distributing nine of his team’s 18 assists to help the Cavaliers hold off the Bucks, 124–119. Tuesday’s game marked the 48th time that James scored at least 30 points in a game while also producing at least half of his team’s assists. The only player in NBA history with more games of that kind is Oscar Robertson, who scored 30 or more points while accounting for 50 percent or more of his team’s assists in 139 games. Russell Westbrook is now third on that list; he, like James, entered Tuesday with 47 such games.
King James vs Air Jordan
Tuesday marked James’s 1072nd regular season game, equaling the game total of the one and only Michael Jordan. James finished the night with 29,105 career points, well short of Jordan’s career point total (32,292), although that shouldn’t be too surprising considering that Jordan won a NBA-record 10 scoring titles in 15 seasons.
Both players’ career field-goal percentages round to 50 percent, with James (50.2) slightly ahead of Jordan (49.7). James has 1114 more rebounds than Jordan and nearly 2000 more assists, though Jordan has the advantage in steals and blocks. James also holds the edge in regular-season wins, as the Cavaliers and Heat have registered 716 wins in his 1072 games, nine more than Jordan recorded in the regular season with the Bulls and Wizards.
Antetokoumpo did all he could do for Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo produced another huge game for the Bucks in a losing effort against the Cavaliers, leading all players with 40 points while shooting a season-high 76 percent from the floor. The “Greek Freak” became the fourth player in this young season to score at least 40 points in a game with a field-goal percentage of 75 percent or better, joining Nikola Vucevic (October 20), Aaron Gordon (October 24), and James Harden (November 5). Only three players had a game of that kind all of last season.
An Oscar-worthy performance by Simmons
Ben Simmons grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds to go with 16 points and six assists to help the 76ers defeat the Jazz and improve Philadelphia’s record to 6–4. Including Tuesday’s effort, Simmons is up to 101 rebounds and 80 assists through his first 10 NBA games. The only other player to accumulate at least 100 boards and 80 assists in his first 10 games was Oscar Robertson, who totaled 102 rebounds and 92 assists after 10 games for the Cincinnati Royals in 1960. Even when considering a rookie player’s entire season, not just his first 10 games but any 10-game span within the season, Simmons and Robertson stand alone as the only rookie players to total 100 rebounds and 80 assists over a span of 10 games.
Another grand finale on Broadway for Knicks
For the second time in three days, the Knicks faced a double-digit point deficit to start the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. And, just like on Sunday against the Pacers, New York came to life in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Hornets 35 to 19 to clinch a 118–113 win. This is the first time in the shot-clock era (which started in the 1954–55 season) that the Knicks won back-to-back games after overcoming a 10-point deficit to start the fourth quarter in both contests. The only other NBA team to accomplish that feat in the last five seasons is the Thunder, who did so in March of last season.
Porzingis poised for huge season
Kristaps Porzingis led the Knicks with 28 points on Tuesday, including a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter to give New York the lead for good. Porzingis has scored 300 points in 10 games this season, making him the first player in Knicks history to reach that plateau within his first 10 games of a season. Bernard King had the previous highest point total for a Knicks player through 10 games, compiling 298 points in his first 10 games in 1984–85. The 22-year-old Porzingis also became the youngest player for any team to score at least 300 points in his first 10 games of a season. Four other players achieved that feat before their 23rd birthday, including Giannis Antetokounmpo this season, but none was as young as Porzingis (22 years, 97 days) at the time of his 10th game.
Pelicans spoil huge start by Pacers
The Pacers scored 75 points in the first half against the Pelicans, the highest point total in the first two quarters by any team this season. New Orleans clamped down in the second half, however, holding Indiana under 20 points in each of the final two periods. The Pelicans retook the lead in the fourth quarter and held on to win, 117–112. The only other team since the start of the 2009–10 season to lose a game after scoring at least 75 points in the first half was, ironically, the Pelicans, who put up 75 points in the first two quarters against the Nuggets on April 4 of last season. Despite finishing that game with a season-high 131 points, New Orleans lost by three points to Denver.
Davis and Cousins are dominant force for New Orleans
Anthony Davis led the Pelicans in their comeback win with 37 points and 14 rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins nearly matched his teammate stride for stride, posting 32 points and 13 rebounds. Tuesday’s game marked the second time this season that Davis and Cousins produced 30 or more while corralling at least a dozen rebounds in the same game; they also did that on October 20 versus the Warriors. The last pair of teammates with multiple games of that kind in a single season was Charles Barkley and Moses Malone, who had two games with at least 30 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers in the 1985–86 campaign.
Mavericks stampede in D.C.
The Mavericks lost each of their first five road games this season, but they snapped their skid with a 113–99 triumph over the Wizards in Washington, D.C., improving Dallas’s record at Capital One Arena to 9–0 over the last 10 seasons. The Mavs are tied with the Clippers for the longest active road winning streak against a particular opponent; Los Angeles has won nine straight matchups over the Kings in Sacramento. Dallas also matched its longest road winning streak against any team in franchise history. The Mavericks also won nine straight road matchups at Golden State (1999–2003), Charlotte (2001–2011), Minnesota (2007–2011), and Orlando (2007–2015).
How to post 20-10 lines in 25 minutes or less
Jonas Valanciunas made the most of his limited time on the court Tuesday, scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in just over 24 minutes of action in the Raptors’ 119–114 victory over the Bulls. Bobby Portis also made the most of his limited playing time in his return to the Bulls lineup, leading Chicago with 21 points and 13 rebounds while logging 24:23 on the court in Toronto. It had been 25 years since the last game in which multiple players produced at least 20 points and 10 rebounds while playing no more than 25 minutes. On Feb. 21, 1992, three players achieved that feat at Boston Garden. Robert Parish and Kevin McHale did so for the victorious Celtics, while Kenny Gattison did so for the Hornets.
Pau Gasol, three-point specialist
Pau Gasol went 8-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-4 from behind the arc, in the Spurs’ 120–107 win over the Clippers. Before signing with the Spurs, Gasol was an infrequent (and inaccurate) three-point shooter, connecting on just under 30 percent of his 249 three-point attempts over 15 seasons. In 75 games with San Antonio, Gasol has connected on 64 of 124 shots from downtown, a success rate of 51.6 percent. There are more than 240 players that have attempted at least 100 three-pointers since the start of last season, and the only player to hit at least half of those shots is Gasol.
Big night for Jokic
Nikola Jokic scored a career-high 41 points to lead the Nuggets to victory over the Nets. The 22-year-old Jokic also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds and tied for the team-lead with five assists. Only one player last season produced at least 40 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in a game at age 22 or younger. Karl-Anthony Towns was 21 when he exceeded all of those threshholds in an overtime loss against the Rockets on Dec. 17, 2016. Jokic is by far the youngest player to reach those numbers in a game for the Nuggets since they joined the NBA in 1976–77. No other player has had a 40/10/5 statline for Denver before his 27th birthday.
Kings quiet Thunder after slow start
The Kings scored just 10 points against the Thunder in the first quarter, their worst start to a game in 10 years. Sacramento woke up in the second quarter, however, and pulled away after halftime to defeat Oklahoma City and end its seven-game losing streak. Tuesday marked just the second time since the Kings relocated to California’s capital city in 1985 that they won a game after scoring no more than 10 points in the first quarter. On Mar. 18, 2000, the Clippers opened with a flourish, scoring the game’s first 13 points and ending the first quarter with a 24–8 lead over the Kings. Sacramento came back to tie by the end of the third quarter before outscoring Los Angeles by 21 points in the final 12 minutes to put an exclamation point on the comeback win.
Lindgren stays undefeated
Montreal’s Charlie Lindgren maintained his perfect record in the NHL with a 3–2 win against the Golden Knights on Tuesday. Lindgren has played five games in his brief NHL career and he’s won them all (three for the Canadiens last season and two this season). He’s the first goaltender to win his first five games in the NHL while playing for the Canadiens since Wayne Thomas won his first seven NHL contests (in 1972–73). Only two other active goaltenders won their first five games (or more) in the NHL: Martin Jones (first eight games) and Frederik Andersen (first six games).
McDavid nets OT winner for Oilers
Connor McDavid scored 38 seconds into overtime to earn the Oilers a 2–1 win against the Islanders in Brooklyn. McDavid has recorded at least one point in each of Edmonton’s five wins this season, after tallying points in each of the Oilers’ final 18 wins last season. That was the longest point streak in team wins by any NHL player in the 2016–17 season.
Rinne notches 20th win versus Columbus
Pekka Rinne made 35 saves to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3–1 win over the Blue Jackets. Rinne is 20–8–2 with a 2.29 GAA in his 31 career games versus Columbus, which ties him with Tomas Vokoun for the second-most wins all-time against the Blue Jackets, one behind Evgeni Nabokov (21). Jonathan Quick (15) ranks second to Rinne in wins against the Blue Jackets among active goaltenders.
Malkin among familiar faces
Evgeni Malkin scored the winning goal and tallied two assists in the Penguins’ 3–1 victory against the Coyotes. Malkin’s final point in Tuesday’s game was the 850th of his NHL career (335 goals, 515 assists). Malkin reached the 850-point plateau in 723 games, fourth-fastest among active NHL players, behind Sidney Crosby (623 games), Jaromir Jagr (655) and Alex Ovechkin (719).
Pouliot nets another game-winner
Benoit Pouliot’s goal snapped a 1–1 tie early in the third period and proved to be the game-winning tally for the Sabres in their 3–1 victory against the Capitals. Pouliot also scored the deciding goal in each of Buffalo’s last two wins: October 24 versus the Red Wings and November 2 at Arizona. Since 1993, the only other players to score the game-winning goal in each of three consecutive Sabres victories in one season were Miroslav Satan in November 2001 and Tim Connolly in January/February 2009.
Another big game for Schenn
Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko each tallied one goal and two assists in the Blues’ 3–1 win at New Jersey. Schenn’s three-point night gives him a total of seven points in the Blues’ last two games, having racked up four assists when St. Louis beat the Maple Leafs on Saturday. This is the first time that Schenn has produced more than five points over a two-game span in his NHL career, and it’s only the second time in the last 16 seasons that a Blues player recorded seven points over a two-game stretch. The other St. Louis player to register seven points in a two-game span since 2001–02 was T.J. Oshie in 2015 (Jan. 3–6: three goals, four assists).
Luongo mans Panthers goal for 500th time
Roberto Luongo, playing in his 500th regular-season game for the Panthers, suffered a loss to the Hurricanes despite allowing only two goals on the 47 shots on goal against him while also recording an assist on Florida’s lone goal. Luongo is the 26th goaltender in NHL history to play 500 or more games for one team. Five other active goaltenders have played at least 500 games for their current team: Henrik Lundqvist (755, Rangers), Cam Ward (628, Hurricanes), Carey Price (520, Canadiens), Pekka Rinne (519, Predators) and Jonathan Quick (504, Kings).