Elias Says: November 25, 2017

LeBron’s 57th regular-season triple-double, but his first of this type

LeBron James finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists, and the Cavaliers needed every ounce of that production as they eked out a 100-99 winner over the visiting Hornets. It was the 57th regular-season triple-double of LeBron’s career, but it was the first of those 57 games in which his team came away with a victory by the minimum margin. (Among the King’s 19 triple-doubles in the playoffs, one came in a one-point victory for his team—a 103-102 overtime triumph for the Heat against the Pacers in 2013.) James achieved the triple-double when he secured a defensive rebound with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter; it was the seventh of his 57 triple-doubles achieved prior to the start of the fourth quarter.

Nurkic writes final chapter in a unique game

Jusuf Nurkic was the hero for the Trail Blazers in their 127-125 win in Brooklyn. With less than 30 seconds remaining in a tie game, Nurkic stole the ball under his own basket, made a go-ahead layup and added a free throw, pitting Portland ahead to stay. Nurkic finished with 29 points, making 12 of 19 shots from the floor to equal his single-game career high for field goals.

That said, the game staked out a unique spot among the more than 58,000 regular-season games and the nearly 4,000 playoff games in NBA history. The Nets, who held a 53-51 lead at halftime, and the Blazers became the first teams in NBA annals to produce a regulation-length game in which each team finished with 125-or-more points after neither reached 55 points in the first half.

Pistons overcome 15-point deficit and Westbrook TD to win in OKC

Russell Westbrook earned the 85th triple-double of his career and his sixth this season, but the visiting Pistons forced him into 19 missed field-goal attempts and Detroit won by a point, 99-98. Westbrook connected on only 10 of 29 shots from the floor, and made only one of 10 shots from beyond the arc. In only two other regulation-length losses did Westbrook achieve a triple-double with as many missed field-goal attempts. On January 29 of this year, he earned a triple-double but made just seven of 26 shots in a loss at Cleveland; and back on April 1, 2015, his triple-double came with 10-for-32 shooting in a loss to the Mavericks.

The Thunder led, 64-49, a little over two minutes into the second half, before Detroit’s comeback went into full throttle. It was Oklahoma City’s 10th loss this season, and the seventh time that it has lost a game in which it had possessed a lead of 10-or-more points, the highest total for any NBA team this season.

The Pistons boosted their won-lost record to 12-6, making this the latest point in a season at which they had won at least two-thirds of their games since they finished the 2007-08 season with a 59-23 record under Flip Saunders.

Curry gets 26 in 2nd quarter, Warriors win by 49

Stephen Curry outscored the Bulls, 26-21, in the second quarter and, in a game in which Kevin Durant and Draymond Green did not play, the Warriors put a 143-94 pounding on the visiting Bulls. It was the largest margin of victory in any NBA game this season, the Warriors’ largest since a 119-69 win over the Grizzlies on Nov. 2, 2015, and the largest against the Bulls since they dropped a 140-89 decision to the Pacers in Indianapolis on March 28, 2003.

For Curry, it was the sixth time that he has generated at least 25 points in one quarter, with four of those six outbursts coming in the third quarter of games (he also had one in a first quarter). That’s the highest total of 25-point quarters for any active NBA player. While Curry scored at least 40 points in each of the other five games in which he had a 25-point quarter, that wasn’t the case on Friday night. In view of the Warriors’ huge lead and an early-starting game against the Grizzlies on Saturday night, Curry called it a night early, having scored 33 points.

Jordan Bell, in his first NBA start, was credited with six blocked shots. The last NBA rookie to block that many shots in his first NBA start was DeAndre Jordan, who swatted away six against the Timberwolves on Jan. 19, 2009. And the last Warriors rookie to block six shots in his first NBA start was Robert Parish, who had six on April 7, 1977 against the Nets.

Celtics’ blowout win results in a short (but productive) night for Kyrie

The Celtics made certain that Wednesday’s loss at Miami that ended their 16-game winning streak would be nothing more than a one-off, as they scored 40 points in the first quarter and led by 30 after three quarters in an emphatic win over the Magic. Kyrie Irving scored 30 points while playing just under 25 minutes in the blowout, becoming only the second Celtics player in the last 50 years to score 30 points in a game in which he played less than 25 minutes. On Feb. 7, 1990, against the Hornets, Kevin McHale scored 31 points while playing just 24 minutes.

Hawks put together a stirring comeback

The Knicks came out blazing in Atlanta, outscoring the 3-15 Hawks by a 39-24 margin in the opening quarter and perhaps quieting some Gotham skeptics. The skeptics have pointed out that the impressive start by Jeff Hornacek’s squad is traceable to an early-season schedule that has supplied many more home games (where the Knicks are 9-3) than road games (where they started the night 1-4).

But for one night, anyway, score one for the skeptics. The Hawks roared back by outscoring the visitors, 92-65, over the last 36 minutes to emerge with an impressive 116-104 win. It was the second time in the last three nights that a 3-15 team has overcome a 15-point, end-of-first-quarter deficit to earn a surprise victory; on Wednesday night, the Mavericks fell behind, 27-12, after one quarter, but came back to deliver a 95-94 victory at Memphis. Prior to the last three nights, no NBA team standing at least 10 games below .500 within the first 20 games of a season had won a game in which it had trailed by at least 15 points after the first quarter since the early weeks of the 2009-10 season. On that occasion, eight years ago, the 1-15 Timberwolves won at Denver, 106-100, after being down, 40-25, after the first 12 minutes.

Rare headline: Ellington leads all scorers in his team’s win

Wayne Ellington scored 21 points off the bench to lead all scorers in the Heat’s 109-97 victory over the Timberwolves in Minneapolis, a win that lifted Miami’s record to 9-9. It was the second time in Miami’s last three games that Ellington has led the team in scoring, but it was only the fifth time in his nine-year, 533-game NBA career that he has scored more points than any other player in the game, on both teams. And it was the first time since Jan. 7, 2013 that Ellington has led all scorers on both teams in a game that his team won; in that 2013 game, Ellington scored 26 points to lead the Grizzlies to a 113-81 win at Sacramento.

Pelicans rout Suns

The Pelicans reached halftime of their game at Phoenix leading, 72-42, and rolled on to a 115-91 triumph over the Suns. That was the second-largest halftime lead for any NBA team representing New Orleans, be it the Pelicans, the Hornets, or the long-ago New Orleans Jazz. On Nov. 14, 2014, the Pelicans outscored the visiting Timberwolves, 80-44, in the first half of a 139-91 victory.

Pacers win in familiar manner

The Pacers, playing at home for the first time in a week, found themselves in a familiar position at halftime of Friday night’s game against the Raptors—namely, trailing by double-digits. Last Friday night, the Pacers trailed the Pistons at halftime, 58-47, but came back to win, 107-100; this Friday, the Pacers trailed the Raptors at halftime, 60-50, but came back to win, 107-104. It marked the first time since January of 2010 that the Pacers had won two consecutive home games, after trailing by 10-or-more points at halftime of each game.

Jokic leads Nuggets with 14-point 4th quarter

Nikola Jokic scored a game-high 28 points and came up especially big at crunch time, producing a career-high-tying 14 fourth-quarter points in the Nuggets’ 104-92 home victory over the Grizzlies. The only other NBA game in which Jokic scored 14 points in the final period came on January 19 of this year at San Antonio.

Ovechkin equals goal total of the great Bossy

Alex Ovechkin scored the 573rd goal of his NHL career in the Capitals’ 3-1 win over the Lightning, tying Mike Bossy for 21st place on the league’s all-time goal-scoring leaders list. Bossy played only ten seasons in the NHL before retiring due to a bad back. When Bossy hung up his skates after the 1986-87 season, he was the fifth-leading goal scorer in NHL history, behind Gordie Howe (801), Phil Esposito (717), Marcel Dionne (693) and Bobby Hull (610).

Three pair for Karlsson in Vegas

William Karlsson scored a pair of goals for the Golden Knights in their overtime win against the Sharks in Las Vegas. Karlsson has scored two goals in each of the Golden Knights’ last three home games. He’s the first NHL player to score at least two goals in each of three consecutive team home games within one season since Johnny Gaudreau had a three-game streak for the Flames in December 2015. Karlsson is the first player to produce a streak of three straight multiple-goal home games for any of the 26 NHL expansion franchises since 1967-68 during their first season in the league.

Lundqvist busy in Rangers’ 7th straight home win

Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves for the Rangers as they extended their home-ice winning streak to seven games with a 2-1 overtime victory against the Red Wings. Lundqvist hasn’t faced 40 or more shots on goal in a regular-season game at Madison Square Garden very often during his 13 seasons with the Rangers, but he’s never suffered a regulation loss while doing so, posting a 7-0-4 mark in 11 such games. The Blueshirts’ current winning streak at MSG is their longest since a nine-game run in October and November of 2015.

Pastrnak knows how to celebrate an anniversary

David Pastrnak, playing on the third anniversary of his NHL debut, scored the game-winning goal for the Bruins in their 4-3 victory over the Penguins in Boston on Friday afternoon. Pastrnak has scored 70 goals in 193 regular-season games for the Bruins since Nov. 24, 2014, when he made his league debut in a home-ice loss to the Penguins. No other player who made his NHL debut in any of the last four seasons has scored as many goals as Pastrnak. The only other NHL player with 60 or more career goals who debuted in 2014-15 or later is Artemi Panarin with 66 goals.

Isles vs. Flyers: second verse, same as the first

Nick Leddy scored the second overtime goal of his NHL career to lift the Islanders to a 5-4 victory in Philadelphia and a sweep of their home-and-home set against the Flyers. On Wednesday in Brooklyn, Josh Bailey scored in overtime to give the Islanders a 4-3 win over the Flyers. This was the sixth time in franchise history that the Islanders won two consecutive regular-season games, both in overtime, but it’s the first time they beat the same opponent in both games. Before this week, the Islanders’ last back-to-back regular-season overtime victories occurred on Oct. 18 and Oct. 21, 2010, in road games at Toronto (John Tavares scored in OT) and Tampa Bay (Matt Moulson scored the winner).

Niederreiter ties Wild record

Nino Niederreiter tied the record for the longest goal streak by a player in Wild franchise history when he scored a power play goal in Minnesota’s 3-2 shootout win against the Avalanche. Niederreiter, whose six-game goal streak matches the club mark set by Brian Rolston in the 2007-08 season, has also scored a power play goal in each of his last five games. Niederreiter is the first NHL player to score a power play goal in each of five consecutive team games in one season since Eric Staal (now Niederreiter’s Minnesota teammate) had a five-game PPG streak for the Hurricanes in January 2010.

Seguin’s 7th hat trick since joining Stars

Tyler Seguin completed the eighth hat trick of his NHL career when he scored an empty-net goal at the 19-minute mark of the third period to wrap up the Stars’ 6-4 win over the Flames. Seguin had one hat trick for the Bruins during his first three seasons in the NHL, but he’s racked up seven more in five seasons since Boston traded him to Dallas in July 2013. Seguin is now tied with Alex Ovechkin for the most hat tricks by any NHL player over the last five seasons. His seventh hat trick while playing for the Stars broke a tie with Mike Modano, and makes him the sole leader for the team since the Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas for the 1993-94 season.

Schneider’s 6th straight win against his old team

Cory Schneider made 23 saves as he led the Devils to a 3-2 win over the Canucks, his former team, in Newark. Schneider made his NHL debut with the Canucks in November 2008 and he played five seasons with them before the trade that sent him to New Jersey in the summer of 2013. Schneider was winless in his first three games for the Devils against his original NHL team (0-1-2), but he’s won all six games that he’s played against Vancouver since then, allowing two or fewer goals in each game. It’s the longest winning streak ever against the Canucks by a former Vancouver goaltender, and it’s tied for the longest current winning streak against the Canucks by an active NHL netminder. Marc-Andre Fleury has also won six in a row against Vancouver.

Marleau gets key goal for Maple Leafs

Patrick Marleau’s first power play goal for the Maple Leafs proved to be the game-winning goal in Toronto’s 5-4 victory against the Hurricanes in Raleigh. Marleau, who signed with the Leafs as a free agent during the offseason, scored 160 power play goals during the 19 seasons he played for the Sharks. The 38-year-old Marleau is the oldest player to score a power play goal for the Maple Leafs since April 3, 2004, when Ron Francis produced his last PPG for Toronto at age 41.

Rinne blanks Blues

Pekka Rinne earned his second shutout of the season by making 34 saves in the Predators’ 2-0 win at St. Louis. It was the 45th shutout of Rinne’s NHL career and his third shutout against the Blues, which ties Corey Crawford, Kari Lehtonen, Roberto Luongo, Jonathan Quick and Semyon Varlamov for the highest total among active goaltenders.

Jump-start by Ehlers provides smooth sailing for Jets

Nikolaj Ehlers scored twice in the first five minutes of the first period to give the Jets an early 2–0 lead and they went on to beat the Ducks, 4-1. Ehlers scored his first goal only 40 seconds after the opening faceoff, and he doubled the Jets’ lead with a power play goal at the 4:59 mark of the opening period. He’s the second player in Thrashers/Jets franchise history to score two goals in the first five minutes of a game. Tomi Kallio did that for the Atlanta Thrashers at New Jersey on Nov. 7, 2001, scoring twice in the first 4:46 against Martin Brodeur to give the Thrashers a 2-0 lead (though New Jersey won that game, 3-2). Ehlers was the fourth player to score twice in the first five minutes of an NHL game this season, following Alex Ovechkin (Oct. 7), Carolina’s Teuvo Teravainen (Oct. 17) and Devils rookie Nico Hischier (Oct. 19).

First game-winner of season for Atkinson

Cam Atkinson scored two goals, including the game-winner, in the Blue Jackets’ 5–2 victory against the Senators. It was the first game-winning goal this season for Atkinson, who scored nine decisive goals last season, tying Jeff Carter and Filip Forsberg for second most in the NHL, behind Rickard Rakell (10). Atkinson stands second in Columbus franchise history with 26 game-winning tallies, behind Rick Nash with 44.

Overtime goal for Coyotes rookie

Rookie Christian Fischer scored the first overtime goal of his NHL career in the Coyotes’ 3-2 win against the Kings. Fischer is only the fourth rookie to score an overtime goal in a regular-season game for the Coyotes since the original Winnipeg Jets relocated to Arizona in 1996. The other Coyotes rookies to score OT goals were Zbynek Michalek and Keith Ballard in 2005-06, and Martin Hanzal on March 25, 2008 against San Jose.