Cavs win 11th in a row, as the King leads the way
The Cavaliers, who had won their last 10 games, hosted the Grizzles, who had lost their last 10 games, on Saturday night, and both streaks were extended when the Cavs finished on top, 116-111, in a contest that was a lot closer than many would have predicted. LeBron James led all scorers with 34 points and contributed 12 assists, while making 13 of 22 field-goal attempts.
Cleveland’s winning streak began on November 11 with a 111-104 victory at Dallas in which LeBron scored 19 points with 6-of-14 shooting from the floor. But James has now made at least half of his field-goal attempts while scoring at least 18 points in each of his last 10 games, all of which the Cavaliers won. The last NBA players to score at least 10 points and make at least half of their shots in each of 10 consecutive team games, all wins, were LeBron and Dwayne Wade, each of whom had 12-game streaks of that sort during the Heat’s 27-game winning streak in the winter of 2013. (LeBron’s streak lasted from February 3 to February 26, Wade’s from February 21 to March 13.)
Exclusive club admits Gasols
Marc Gasol scored 27 points for the Grizzlies in their loss to the Cavaliers, lifting his career total to 10,007 points in his 10-year NBA career. Gasol’s brother Pau, still going strong with the Spurs, has scored 20,249 points over 17 years in the NBA. On Saturday night, the Gasols joined the Van Arsdales (Dick and Tom), the Wilkinses (Dominique and Gerald) and the Williamses (Gus and Ray) as the only families in which each of two brothers has scored 10,000 points in the NBA.
Embiid gets another 25/10 game, his 6th in last 3 weeks
Joel Embiid finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, leading the 76ers to a 108-103 victory over Andre Drummond and the Pistons. It was the sixth game this season in which Embiid has produced at least 25 points and at least 10 rebounds, tying LeBron James for the fourth-most in the NBA behind Anthony Davis (12), DeMarcus Cousins (8) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (8). However, all of Embiid’s 25/10 games have come since November 13, and no NBA player has as many games of that type over that period of nearly three weeks (Russell Westbrook has the second-most, four).
Booker’s last 2 games in Boston: 108 points, 0 wins
Devin Booker scored 38 points—at least twice as many as did any player on the Celtics—and Tyson Chandler pulled down 18 rebounds—more than twice as many as any Celtics player—but it wasn’t enough, as the Celtics pulled out a 116-111 victory over the visiting Suns. For Booker, it was his first game at TD Garden since March 24, when he produced 70 points, becoming only the sixth different player in NBA history to score that many points in one game.
But as in that game last spring, Booker’s team lost, making him just the third player in NBA history to score 100-or-more points over two consecutive games at the same arena, with his team losing both games. Wilt Chamberlain did it in 16 pairs of games, with a high total of 122 points (55 and 67, respectively) over two straight appearances at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis against the Hawks in 1962, with Wilt’s Philadelphia Warriors dropping both games. Michael Jordan is the other player who did it, when he scored 101 points (52 and 49) over consecutive appearances at the Orlando Arena in the 1989-90 season, with the Bulls losing both games.
Celtics first to 20 wins
The Celtics’ victory over the Suns was their 20th of the season, and marked the 15th season in which Boston has been the first NBA team to reach 20 wins. The Celtics went to the NBA Finals in 13 of the 14 previous instances, winning the championship ten times.
Dirk’s on-the-mark shooting leads to Carlisle milestone
Congratulations to Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who saw his team throttle the Clippers, 108-82, for the 700th coaching victory of his NBA career. Carlisle became the 18th NBA coach to amass 700 victories, but the first one who reached that plateau with a victory over a fellow 700-win coach. The Clippers’ Doc Rivers has 812 NBA coaching wins to his credit.
Thirty-nine-year-old Dirk Nowitzki came up big in the victory, making all five shots from beyond the three-point arc. It marked the first game of his NBA career in which Dirk has taken at least five three-point shots and has made them all – a universe that includes 1417 regular-season games and 145 more in the playoffs. The only older players to take at least five three-point shots and make them all in an NBA game were Vince Carter (six) at age 40 on March 13 of this year and Derek Fisher in 2014, when he was a week older than was Nowitzki on Saturday.
Cousins pounds Portland into submission
DeMarcus Cousins scored 38 points in 34 minutes as the Pelicans, playing without the injured Anthony Davis, soared to a 123-116 victory in Portland. The Trail Blazers have seen this movie before: Cousins has averaged 26.1 points per outing in his 23 games against Portland, his highest scoring average against any NBA opponent except for the 39-point average that Cousins has produced in two games against his longtime team, the Kings. In fact, when still playing for Sacramento, Cousins poured in 55 points against the Trail Blazers in a game last December 20.
Nuggets run the table and run off with win
The Nuggets scored the game’s last 15 points, transforming a 100-100 deadlock into a 115-100 victory over the Lakers. The last NBA teams to take the lead during a game-ending streak of 15-or-more points did so on back-to-back days. On February 3 of this year, the Thunder scored the game’s last 15 points to overcome the Grizzlies, 114-102; and the next night, the Wizards scored the game’s last 15 points to defeat the Pelicans, 105-91. (Those games set the stage for what happened the next night: the Patriots scored the game’s last 31 points in their 34-28 victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.)
Free throws key to Bucks’ win over Kings
Giannis Antetokounmpo contributed 33 points and 13 rebounds to the Bucks’ 109-104 triumph over the Kings. More to the point, with respect to Saturday’s game, were the Greek Freak’s totals from the free-throw line: 17 made in 22 attempts, to go along with 18 made in 20 attempts by his teammates. Antetokounmpo’s total of 22 free-throw attempts was the highest by a Bucks player in a game of any length in a bit over 40 years—since David Meyers made 17 of 22 attempts in a game against the Nets on Nov. 16, 1977. In addition, the Bucks’ total of 35 free throws made was their highest in a game since they made 36 in a win at Atlanta on Jan. 20, 2006.
Schroder’s 4th-quarter shooting boosts Hawks
Dennis Schroder scored a game-high 24 points, including nine in the last quarter when the Hawks held off a Nets rally and left Brooklyn as the 114-102 winners. Schroder made four of his seven shots in the final quarter, and has now made 51.4 percent of his fourth-quarter field-goal attempts this season, his highest in any quarter.
Canadiens rout Red Wings
The Canadiens’ 10-1 win over the Red Wings in Montreal matched their largest margin of victory ever in a game against Detroit. They also beat the Red Wings by nine goals on Oct. 25, 1952 (9-0) and Nov. 30, 1985 (10-1). Five different players racked up at least three points for the Canadiens in Saturday’s game: Alex Galchenyuk (4 assists), Paul Byron (3 goals), Nicolas Deslauriers (1 goal, 2 assists), Jacob De La Rose (1 goal, 2 assists) and Daniel Carr (1 goal, 2 assists). It was the first game in which as many as five Canadiens players each earned three points or more since an 8-2 win against the Islanders on March 7, 1992. Montreal’s productive quintet in that game: Shayne Corson (4 points), Gilbert Dionne (4), Denis Savard (3), Kirk Muller (3) and Stephan Lebeau (3).
Crosby: 5 straight games with goal and assist
Sidney Crosby contributed a goal and an assist to the Penguins’ 5-1 win over the Sabres, and he has produced at least one goal and one assist in each of the Penguins’ last five games. It’s the first time that a Penguins player has filled both columns in each of five consecutive team games in one season since Jaromir Jagr did it back in October 1999. Crosby’s streak is the second of its kind in the NHL this season; Johnny Gaudreau had a five-game run with both goals and assists for the Flames last month (Nov. 9-20). Before this season, the last such five-game streak by an NHL player was fashioned by defenseman Mike Green for the Capitals in January/February 2009.
Predators keep their streak going
Kevin Fiala and Calle Jarnkrok each scored a power play goal for the Predators in their 3-2 shootout win against the Ducks in Nashville. The Predators have scored at least one power play goal in each of their 13 home games this season. The only other teams in NHL history to start a season with a streak of 13 or more consecutive home games with at least one power play goal were the 1995-96 Rangers (first 15 home games) and 1982-83 Blackhawks (first 14 home games).
Markstrom at his best when he’s busy
Jacob Markstrom made 35 saves as he backstopped the Canucks to a 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs on Saturday. Markstrom is 4-1-1 with a 2.15 GAA and .942 save percentage in the six games in which he’s faced at least 35 shots on goal this season. He’s 3-7-2 with a 2.72 GAA and .893 save percentage in his 13 other games.
Hanifin wins it with moments to spare
Noah Hanifin’s goal at the 4:58 mark of overtime gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Panthers. It was the latest overtime goal in a regular-season game by a Carolina player since March 20, 2010, when Jamie McBain’s buzzer-beater at 4:59 provided the Hurricanes with a 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh. Hanifin’s goal was the second-latest overtime goal in an NHL game this season. The Kings’ Tyler Toffoli beat the Bruins in Boston on October 29 with a goal at 4:59 in overtime.
Rask blanks Flyers
Tuukka Rask, who set a career high with eight shutouts last season, posted his first of this season, a 3-0 win for the Bruins in Philadelphia. Rask’s first shutout this season came in his 15th start, matching the longest it took him to earn his first clean sheet in any previous season. (He also needed 15 starts to get his first shutout in the 2014-15 season.) Rask’s shutout on Saturday was only the third road shutout by a Bruins goaltender against the Flyers over the last 20 seasons. The others were both by Tim Thomas, in December 2010 and December 2011.
Another OT winner for Dumba
Matt Dumba scored in overtime to lift the Wild to a 2-1 win over the Blues on Saturday. It was the third career overtime goal for Dumba, who turned 23 last summer. The only other active NHL defenseman age 23 or younger who has scored as many overtime goals as Dumba is Seth Jones, who has scored four. (Jones turned 23 years old on October 3.)
Wedgewood asks Devils, “Remember me?”
Scott Wedgewood earned the second shutout of his NHL career and his first for the Coyotes with a 5-0 victory against the Devils, the team for which he was playing when he earned his first shutout in the NHL, a 3-0 win at Pittsburgh on March 24, 2016. Wedgewood, who was traded to Arizona by New Jersey on October 28, is just the second former Devils goaltender to record a shutout against them since the franchise moved to New Jersey in 1982. The first was Kirk McLean, in a 4-0 win for the Canucks at the Meadowlands on Oct. 19, 1988.
Faksa: 3 straight games with a goal
Radek Faksa extended his goal streak to a career-high three games when he scored the second goal for the Stars in their 3-2 shootout win against the Blackhawks in Dallas. Faksa, who scored three goals in Las Vegas on Tuesday and one in Chicago on Thursday, is the first Stars player to score five goals over a three-game span within one season since Jamie Benn in November 2015.
Johnson and Kucherov each get 2
Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov each scored two goals for the Lightning in its 5-1 win against the Sharks. It was the first time that the Lightning had a pair of multiple-goal scorers in a game in which the team scored no more than five goals since Nov. 25, 2013, when Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell each scored twice in a 5-0 victory over the Rangers.