Elias Says: November 10, 2017

Graham strikes early in Seahawks’ Thursday night win

Jimmy Graham did not gain a whole lot of yards on Thursday night, totaling just 27 on six receptions, but his two touchdown catches were key to the Seahawks’ 22–16 victory over the Cardinals. Graham put the Seahawks on the scoreboard in the first quarter with a six-yard TD reception; marking the first time in 36 games with the Seahawks that he caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter. His three receptions in the first 15 minutes also represented his highest first-quarter total with Seattle in three seasons with the team. Graham entered play on Thursday with just two catches for seven yards in the opening quarter of the Seahawks’ first eight games this season.

No surprise that Seattle bests Arizona in turnovers

Adrian Peterson lost a fumble on the Cardinals’ first play from scrimmage, the only turnover by either team on Thursday. The Seahawks have not had a turnover disadvantage in any of the 15 games they’ve played against the Cardinals since Carroll became Seattle’s head coach in 2010. The turnovers have been even four times, and Seattle has had the edge 11 times, with a plus-24 margin (37 takeaways, 13 turnovers).

Seattle’s streak of 15 straight games with a turnover advantage or even in that department against Arizona is the longest current streak for any team versus a particular opponent. The Seahawks entered play tied with the Patriots, who have been plus or even in turnovers in each of their last 14 games against the Dolphins. The last team with a streak as long as the Seahawks’ current stretch also compiled it against the Cardinals – the Cowboys produced a 15-game streak without losing the turnover battle against Arizona from 1990 to 1997.

Harden joins a pair of elite clubs with latest triple-double

James Harden stuffed the scoresheet in the Rockets’ 117–113 victory over the Cavaliers. Harden produced his second triple-double of the season with 35 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists, while also setting a season-high with five steals. That marked the second time in the last two seasons that Harden posted a triple-double with at least 30 points and five steals; he racked up 30 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals against the Clippers last December.

Harden became the third player since 1973–74, when steals were first tracked on NBA boxscores, to compile a triple-double with 30 or more points and at least five steals in more than one game. Hakeem Olajuwon produced two such games in the 1980’s for the Rockets in unconventional fashion, eschewing assists for blocks as his third double-digit category. Michael Jordan was the other player to do that, totaling at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals twice in the 1988–89 campaign.

Prior to Thursday’s win, Harden had also posted a triple-double in his last encounter with the Cavaliers in March (38 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists). Only two other players recorded a triple-double in two straight matchups with Cleveland – Larry Bird (1990) and Russell Westbrook (2017). Neither Bird nor Westbrook scored 30 points in either of their triple-doubles versus the Cavs.

Wizards’ backcourt provides the offense

John Wall scored a game-high 23 points and Bradley Beal contributed 22 points to lead the Wizards to victory against the Lakers. Wall and Beal also tied for the best plus/minus rating of the game at plus-21, meaning Washington outscored Los Angeles by 21 points during each player’s time on the court. Thursday’s game marked the 53rd time that Wall and Beal scored at least 20 points in the same game, but this was the first time that both players scored 20 or more points while also posting a plus/minus rating of plus-20 or better.

Besides leading all players in scoring on Thursday, Wall also outproduced all players in blocked shots with a season-high three blocks. Being the outright leader in points isn’t too uncommon for Wall, who accomplished that feat 90 times in his career entering Thursday. But outproducing all players in both points and blocks? Wall had done that in only three other games, most recently in December 2013 against the Bucks.

Kings out-Fox 76ers

De’Aaron Fox’s jumper with 13.4 seconds remaining was the game-winner for the Kings in their 109–108 triumph over the 76ers. The 19-year-old Fox is the youngest player in the last five seasons to make a game-winning field goal in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime. Bradley Beal was the last player younger than Fox to make such a shot. Beal was also 19, but a few months younger than Fox, at the time of his last-second go-ahead shot against the Thunder on Jan. 7, 2013.

Mudiay on fire for Nuggets

Emmanuel Mudiay enjoyed the best shooting night of his NBA career in the Nuggets’ 102–94 victory over the Thunder. Mudiay led Denver with a season-high 21 points, finishing 8-for-10 from the field while hitting all four of his three-point attempts as well as his lone free-throw attempt. Only one other player this season scored at least 21 points in a game with 10 or fewer shots from the floor and no more than one free-throw attempt. In the Warriors’ season opener versus the Rockets, Nick Young led Golden State with 23 points despite just attempting nine shots from the floor and one shot from the foul line (Young went 8-for-9 with six threes and made his one free throw). Mudiay is the first player with such a game for the Nuggets since they joined the NBA in 1976–77.

Another exciting win for Edmonton

The Oilers, who began their four-game road trip with a 2–1 victory in Brooklyn on Tuesday thanks to an overtime goal by Connor McDavid, made it two straight wins in extra time when Leon Draisaitl scored with 16.3 seconds remaining in OT to earn Edmonton a 3–2 victory against the Devils in Newark. This is only the second time in the Oilers’ NHL history that they won two consecutive games on a road trip, both in overtime. The other time it happened was in 2008 at Columbus and Chicago (March 7–9), with Andrew Cogliano scoring the OT winner for Edmonton in both games. The Rangers are the only other NHL team to post back-to-back overtime wins on a road trip this season (Nov. 2 at Tampa Bay, Nov. 4 at Florida).

Jagr nets first goal in Flames uniform

Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal of the season in the Flames’ 6–3 win over the Red Wings. It was the 766th goal of his Jagr’s NHL career and his first goal for Calgary. Jagr has now scored goals for nine different NHL teams, and while that’s three shy of the all-time record (12 teams by Mike Sillinger) it’s worth noting that Jagr has scored goals for six different NHL clubs since he turned 40 years old in February 2012: the Flyers, Stars, Bruins, Devils, Panthers and Flames. Jagr has scored goals in 24 NHL seasons, third-most of any player, behind Gordie Howe (26) and Mark Messier (25).

Zucker taking care of all the scoring for Wild

Jason Zucker scored all of the goals in the Wild’s 3–0 win at Montreal on Thursday, after scoring both goals for Minnesota in its 4–2 loss at Toronto on Wednesday. He’s the first player in Wild franchise history to score five consecutive team goals in one season, breaking the old mark of four in a row set by Brian Rolston in 2005 (Nov. 5–6). Zucker is also the first player ever to record a hat trick for the Wild while scoring every one of his team’s goals in a shutout victory. Since 2011, the only other player on any NHL team to pull off that feat is Connor McDavid, who did so in the Oilers’ 3–0 opening-night victory against the Flames this season (Oct. 4).

Pair of three-pointers for Philadelphia

Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux each scored one goal and assisted on two in the Flyers’ 3–1 win against the Blackhawks. The only other time in the last 11 seasons that a pair of Flyers players both produced at least three points while each recording a point on every Philadelphia goal in that game was when Voracek (one goal, two assists) and Giroux (three assists) did so in a 3–2 victory over the Bruins on Jan. 13, 2016.

The best defense(men) is a good offense for St. Louis

Defensemen Joel Edmundson and Alex Pietrangelo scored the two goals for the Blues in their shootout win against the Coyotes. Blues defensemen have scored a league-high total of 19 goals in the team’s 17 games this season, with Pietrangelo (7) and Edmundson (5) accounting for more than half of them. No other NHL team has gotten more than a dozen goals from its defensemen this season. Last season the Blues did not get their 19th goal from a defenseman until January 5, in their 39th game.

Lightning strikes four times in first

The Lightning outscored the Kings, 4–0, in their first period of their game in Los Angeles, with Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos all connecting within a 2:02 span in the middle of the period. That’s exactly one minute better than the previous record for the fastest four goals by the Lightning in one game, which was 3:02 in a 6–1 victory against the Panthers on Oct. 28, 2002. Before Thursday, the last time any NHL team scored four goals in 2:02 or less was when the Rangers tallied four goals in 2:01 at Buffalo on April 19, 2013.