Harden is helping others
James Harden scored 31 points and handed out 10 assists in the Rockets’ win over the Jazz on Saturday night. Harden has had at least seven assists in all 13 games this season, the longest such streak at any point in a season in Rockets franchise history. The previous team record of 12 consecutive games with at least seven assists was set by John Lucas in 1984 and later matched by Goran Dragic (2012) and Harden himself late last season.
The last NBA player to dish out at least seven assists in each of his first 13 games of a season was Chris Paul for the Clippers in 2013-14. Paul started that season with a 22-game streak.
Pelicans overcome 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to win
The Pelicans overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit on the strength of Langston Galloway’s 18 fourth-quarter points in their overtime win over the Hornets. That’s the most points Galloway has scored in any quarter in his NBA career.
With their win tonight, the Pelicans’ franchise has all all-time record of 2-316 in regular-season games in which it trailed by 14 or more points in the fourth quarter or overtime. The other such win came against the Jazz on December 16, 2014.
Thomas accepts charity
Isaiah Thomas went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line in the Celtics’ win over the Pistons. Thomas has made 95 of his 103 shots from the charity stripe over his last nine games, 92.2%. That’s the highest free-throw percentage for any Celtics player who had at least 80 attempts over a nine-game span since Larry Bird in 1987. Bird’s best nine-game span that season was 79-for-85 (92.9%).
Horford late basket wins it for Celtics
Al Horford’s basket with 1.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter gave the Celtics a 94-92 victory over the Pistons. It was the latest go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter or overtime for Horford since he hit an overtime buzzer-beater for the Hawks against the Wizards on December 13, 2013.
Warriors’ three-headed monster
Kevin Durant scored 33 points, Klay Thompson dropped in 29 points and Stephen Curry chipped in with 20 points in the Warriors’ win over the Bucks. It was the sixth time this season that the Warriors had three players each score 20 or more points in a game. No other NBA team has more than three such games this season. The Cavaliers are next with three.
Gibson scores 26 points in his second NBA game
Jonathan Gibson, who was undrafted and playing in only his second NBA game, scored 26 points in the Mavericks’ loss to the Magic. Gibson is the first undrafted player to score 26 or more points in either his first or second career game in the NBA since Lloyd Daniels scored 26 points for the Spurs in his second career game in the NBA in 1992.
Whiteside cleans the glass
Hassan Whiteside scored 18 points and hauled in 18 rebounds in Miami’s win in Washington on Saturday night. It was the tenth time in his NBA career that Whiteside had that many points and rebounds in a game. The only player in Miami Heat history with that many games with at least 18 points and 18 rebounds is Rony Seikaly, who had 21 such games for the Heat.
Whiteside’s 194 rebounds in 13 games this season is the most for any Heat player in his first 13 games of a season in franchise history. The only NBA player over the last five seasons with that many rebounds in his first 13 games of a season was Andre Drummond last season (232).
Embiid powers Sixers
Joel Embiid scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the 76ers’ win over the Suns. It’s the second time this season that Embiid has scored at least 25 points and had at least seven rebounds in a game, the other coming in an overtime win over the Pacers on November 11 (25 points, 7 rebounds). Philadelphia is 1-10 in all other games this season.
Andre the Giant
Andre Vasilevskiy posted his second straight shutout with a 3–0 victory for the Lightning in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon. Vasilevskiy, who blanked the Islanders in Brooklyn on Monday, is the sixth goaltender in Tampa Bay franchise history to record two consecutive shutouts in one season, and at age 22 he’s at least six years younger than any other Lightning goaltenders to do that. They were Daren Puppa (1995–96), Nikolai Khabibulin (2001–02), John Grahame (2005–06), Johan Holmqvist (2007–08) and Dwayne Roloson (2010–11). Holmqvist and Vasilevskiy are the only two who notched both shutouts on the road.
GWG for Carter
Jeff Carter’s goal was the game-winner for the Kings in their 4–2 victory against the Devils on Saturday, just as it was in L.A.’s win versus the Oilers on Thursday. Carter has scored seven goals this season, tying Tanner Pearson for the team lead, and four of his goals have been game deciders. Carter has scored 112 goals for the Kings over the last five seasons and 25 percent of them (28 of 112) have been game-winning tallies. That’s the highest percentage of game-winners since 2012–13 among NHL players who have scored at least 100 goals over that span.
Jagr: 44 career goals versus Senators
Jaromir Jagr, who entered play on Saturday with only one goal and five assists in 17 games this season, scored one goal and assisted on two others to lead the Florida Panthers to a 4–1 win over Ottawa. Jagr, who entered the NHL in October 1990, two years before the Senators played their first game, is the all-time leader, by far, in both goals (44) and points (90) versus Ottawa. Ilya Kovalchuk ranks second in goals against the Senators (with 26) and Mats Sundin is the distant runner-up to Jagr in points versus Ottawa (64). Jagr’s two assists in Saturday’s game moved him into second place on the list of assists leaders against the Senators, behind Adam Oates (49–46).
Hat trick for McDavid
Connor McDavid produced the first hat trick of his NHL career when he scored three goals in the Edmonton Oilers’ 5–2 win at Dallas. At age 19, he’s the seventh teenager to register a hat trick in an NHL game for the Oilers. The others are Wayne Gretzky (3), Martin Gelinas, Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov. McDavid’s hat trick was the fourth by a teenager in the NHL this season. Auston Matthews (age 19) scored four goals for the Maple Leafs in his NHL debut (October 12 at Ottawa), and the Jets’ Patrik Laine (age 18) has two three-goal games to his credit (October 19 vs. Toronto and November 8 vs. Dallas).
Radulov assists streak reached six games
Alexander Radulov assisted on both of the Canadiens’ goals in their 2–1 win versus the Maple Leafs. Radulov played three seasons with Nashville but spent most of the past eight years playing in his native Russia before returning to the NHL with Montreal this season. He’s been a key factor in the Canadiens’ success this season as he leads the team with 13 assists, and he’s produced at least one assist in each of the last six games he’s played. Radulov never recorded assists in more than two consecutive games during his three previous seasons in the NHL.
Nilsson stops 46 of 47 shots
Sabres goaltender Anders Nilsson turned aside 46 of the 47 shots on goal against him in his 2–1 shootout victory over the Penguins. Over the last 40 seasons, only twice before had a Buffalo goaltender made at least 46 saves in a regular-season game in which he allowed no more than one goal. Daren Puppa stopped 46 shots in his 3–1 win at Quebec on March 29, 1988, and Ryan Miller made 49 saves in a 2–1 shootout win versus Washington on Dec. 29, 2013.
Allen turns table on the Predators
Blues goaltender Jake Allen extended his winning streak to a season-high three games with a 3–1 victory over the Predators on Saturday. Allen has a 5–1–0 record in the six games he’s played versus Nashville over the last three seasons, which ties him with Corey Crawford, Antti Niemi and Semyon Varlamov for the most wins by any goaltender against the Predators since 2014–15.
Smith cages Sharks
The Coyotes’ Mike Smith made 43 saves in his 3–2 overtime win against the Sharks in Arizona. Smith has a 7–1–1 record, 1.76 goals-against average and .951 save percentage in the nine home games he’s played against San Jose since he joined the Coyotes as a free agent in the summer of 2011. Smith faced more than 40 shots on goal in three of those games and he won all of them.
Avs comeback win
The Avalanche trailed 2–0 through two periods in their game at Minnesota, but Mikko Rantanen, Carl Soderberg and Nathan MacKinnon each scored once for the Avs in a 5:29 span during the third period to earn Colorado a 3–2 win over the Wild. This was only the third time in franchise history that the Nordiques or the Avalanche won a game in regulation time after trailing by two goals or more while being shut out entering the third period. Their two other wins of that kind were by Quebec at Montreal on Oct. 12, 1987 (won 5–2) and by Colorado at Carolina on Nov. 29, 1997 (won 3–2).