Elias Says: Dec. 12, 2017

Drake is a dual threat for Dolphins

Kenyan Drake rushed 25 times for 114 yards and caught five passes for 79 yards in the Dolphins’ 27–20 home win over the Patriots. Only two other Miami players have ever gained at least 100 yards rushing and 75 yards receiving in one game: Troy Stradford in a win at Dallas in 1987 (169 rushing, 83 receiving) and Ronnie Brown in a road loss to the Jets in 2007 (112 rush, 99 rec.)

Miami’s defense tightens when it matters

The Dolphins’ defense faced 11 third-down attempts, none successful, in their win over the Patriots on Monday. In its last game, Miami held Denver to 1-for-13 on third down. That 4.2% conversion rate (1-for-24) allowed by the Dolphins over their last two games represents the second-lowest by an NFL team over a two-game span in any of the last 40 seasons. Jets’ opponents were 1-for-25 (4.0%) from Dec. 3–13, 2009.

Holiday and Moore make field-goal shooting history, but Pelicans still lose

Jrue Holiday shot 16-for-21 (76.2%) from the floor and his teammate E’Twaun Moore made 15 of 20 shots (75.0%), yet the Pelicans still lost at Houston, 130–123. Holiday and Moore are the first pair of teammates in NBA history, in a win or loss, to shoot 75% or better while attempting at least 20 field goals.

Rondo extends triple-double streak

Rajon Rondo registered his first triple-double of the season, finishing with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists in the Pelicans’ loss. It’s the 10th straight season that he’s played that Rondo has had at least one triple-double, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1970–71 to 1979–80) for the fourth-longest such streak in NBA history behind Jason Kidd (17, 1994–95 to 2010–11), Magic Johnson (13, 1979–80 to 1995–96; Johnson missed four seasons during that streak) and Oscar Robertson (11, 1960–61 to 1970–71.)

Lots of scoring before halftime in Houston

The Rockets led the Pelicans 78–76 at halftime of their win Monday. The last NBA game in which both teams scored at least 75 points in the first half was on Feb. 23, 1991, when the Nuggets led the visiting Warriors 79–75 and went on to win, 150–145.

Bulls shock Celtics with blowout win

Nikola Mirotic led all scorers with 24 points and Bobby Portis added 23 as the Bulls, who entered Monday with a 5–20 record (.200), routed the Celtics, who had been 23–5 (.821), by a score of 108–85. Chicago’s 23-point margin of victory was the largest in NBA history by a team that had won no more than 20% of its games to that point over an opponent that had won at least 80% of its contests (minimum 20 games played for each team.) The previous largest win in such a matchup was by 17 points, when the 12–51 Lakers defeated the 55–5 Warriors by a score of 112–95 on March 6, 2016.

No Curry, no problem for Warriors

Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 28 points as Golden State won its seventh straight game, 111–104 over the visiting Trail Blazers. The last three of those wins have come without the injured Stephen Curry. It’s the first time in Curry’s nine seasons with the team that the Warriors have won three straight regular-season games, all with the star guard out of the lineup.

Heat win with balanced scoring

Seven Heat players – Goran Dragic (19 points), Josh Richardson (17), Bam Adebayo (14), Tyler Johnson (14), Wayne Ellington (12), James Johnson (11), and Dion Waiters (10) – reached double figures in scoring in Miami’s 107–82 win at Memphis. All seven of those players also made at least half of their field-goal attempts. The last time seven Heat players scored 10+ points and shot at least 50% from the floor was on Jan. 18, 1995 in a 121–93 win over the Celtics. The Miami double-digit scorers in that game were Kevin Willis (25 points), Glen Rice (20), Billy Owens (18), Bimbo Coles (14), Kevin Gamble (11), John Salley (10), and Brad Lohaus (10.)

Cold shooting doesn’t stop the Clippers

The Clippers shot 37.4% from the floor (34-for-91) in their 96–91 win over the visiting Raptors. That was the team’s second-lowest field-goal percentage in a win since Doc Rivers became the head coach in 2013. On Feb. 8, 2016, Los Angeles shot 36.8% in a 98–92 overtime victory at Philadelphia.

A fine performance by Charlotte’s frontcourt

All three members of Charlotte’s starting frontcourt scored at least 15 points and shot at least 60% from the floor in the Hornets’ 116–103 win at Oklahoma City (center Dwight Howard 23 pts, 9-for-13; forward Marvin Williams 18 pts, 5-for-8; forward Michael Kidd Gilchrist 17 pts, 8-for-9.) The last time Charlotte’s starting front line all had games like that was on Dec. 19, 2008 at Memphis (center Emeka Okafor, forwards Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace.)

Tavares torments Caps

John Tavares scored his 18th goal of the season (third most in the NHL) in the Islanders’ 3–1 win over the Capitals on Monday. Tavares did not score a goal in the seven games he played against Washington during his first two seasons in the league (2009–10 and 2010–11), but he’s scored 14 goals (in 25 games) versus the Capitals in the seven seasons since then, tying the Flyers’ Claude Giroux for the NHL high over that span. Tavares’ 2017–18 goal total matches his career high for his first 30 games of a season, set in 2012–13. He scored a career low nine goals in his first 30 games last season.

Pavelec is busy when he plays

Rangers backup goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made 44 saves in his 2–1 shootout loss to the Stars at Madison Square Garden on Monday, after stopping 41 shots in his last game (Dec. 5), a 4–3 win at Pittsburgh. This is only the fourth time in the last 40 years a Rangers goaltender made more than 40 saves in each of two consecutive games in one season. The other Blueshirts goalies to do that over that span were Glen Hanlon in 1984–85, Mike Richter in 1991–92 and Dan Blackburn in 2001–02.

Bernier turns back defending champs

Jonathan Bernier stopped 39 of the Penguins’ 40 shots on goal to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 2–1 win at Pittsburgh. Excluding games decided by a shootout, this was the third time in franchise history that a Nordiques or Avs goaltender faced 40 or more shots on goal while recording a win against the defending Stanley Cup champion. The other wins of that kind for Quebec or Colorado were by the Nordiques’ Stephane Fiset against the Rangers in New York in March 1995 (40 shots) and the Avs’ Semyon Varlamov at Chicago in January 2014 (48 shots.)

Matheson finally connects

Defenseman Michael Matheson’s first goal of the season was the overtime winner for the Panthers in their 2–1 victory at Detroit. Entering play on Monday, Matheson’s 52 shots on goal this season were the sixth most among NHL players who had yet to score a goal in the 2017–18 campaign. The top five names on that list were Duncan Keith (72 shots on goal), Dustin Byfuglien (69), Rasmus Ristolainen (60), Marco Scandella (59) and Ben Hutton (56).

Perreault is hot since his return

Mathieu Perreault scored two goals and assisted on another in the Jets’ 5–1 victory against the Canucks on Monday. Perreault missed a dozen games earlier this season due to a “lower-body injury” but he’s tallied eight goals and seven assists in Winnipeg’s 14 games since then. Perreault is the Jets’ team leader in goals since he returned to action on November 16, and he’s tied with Blake Wheeler for tops on the club in points over that span (15.)