Westbrook puts up the numbers in crunch time
Russell Westbrook scored 27 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, and dished out 15 assists in the Thunder’s thrilling triple-overtime win over the 76ers on Friday night. Over the three OT periods, Westbrook had 14 points, eight rebounds, and two assists. And in the third OT period, Westbrook really stood out, with six points and seven rebounds. No player had that many points and rebounds in a single overtime period since Brian Grant of the Blazers did so (also six points, seven rebounds) on March 3, 1999, at Sacramento.
First multi-overtime game comes late in the season
The triple-overtime matchup between the Thunder and 76ers on Friday was the first game in the 2017-18 season that needed at least two overtime periods to decide a victor. Excluding the 1998-99 and 2011-12 seasons (which were both shortened seasons that started in early February and late December, respectively), the last season in which the first multi-OT game occurred on December 15 or later was in 1978-79 (double-OT game between the Hawks and Bucks on January 10).
If Paul plays, Rockets win
Chris Paul had 28 points and seven steals as the Rockets extended their winning streak to 12 games in a 124-109 victory over the Spurs. Houston is 13-0 in every game Paul has played since he joined the team this past offseason (and he started each one of those games). The last player to start his first 13 games for a team and win all of them was Dennis Rodman for the Bulls in the 1995-96 season, also 13-0.
With his seven steals on Friday, Chris Paul tied Kobe Bryant for 14th all-time in that category, with a total of 1944. (Steals were first tracked officially in the 1973-74 season)
Drummond dominates in Pistons’ win
Andre Drummond scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the Pistons’ win over the Pacers. Drummond surpassed 400 points on the season in Friday’s game, with 406 points and 440 rebounds in 29 games played in the 2017-18 campaign. That is nothing new for Drummond, as he has totaled at least 400 points and 400 rebounds through 30 games for the third straight season. But before Drummond, the last Pistons player to reach each of these marks through his first 30 games of a season was Hall-of-Famer Bob Lanier; he did so in four straight seasons from 1971-72 to 1974-75.
Antetokounmpo’s big game is not enough
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points and grabbed 16 boards in the Bucks’ loss to the Bulls on Friday. That was Antetokounmpo’s sixth game with at least 25 points and 15 rebounds, putting him in sole possession of fifth place among the Bucks leaders in games of this type. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 205, Vin Baker had 11, Terry Cummings had nine, and Marques Johnson had eight.
DeRozan and Lowry star in Raptors’ victory
DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points in the first half of the Raptors’ 120-87 blowout win over the Nets on Friday. DeRozan has scored at least 20 points in a half six times this season; no other Raptors player has had a half of this type in the 2017-18 campaign. Toronto is 6-0 in games in which DeRozan has had a 20-point half this season.
Kyle Lowry had 10 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds in the win, his ninth triple-double as a member of the Raptors. Only three other Raptors players have had multiple triple-doubles: Damon Stoudamire (three), Jose Calderon (two), and Marcus Camby (two).
Mike Scott went 9-for-10 from the floor and led all Wizards with 22 points in Washington’s victory over the Clippers. Scott has made 34 of his 43 field goal attempts (79.1%) over his last six games, dating back to December 5. Only one other player has made at least 79 percent of his field goal attempts over a six-game span (minimum 30 FGA) in that franchise’s history; Marcin Gortat made 42 of 53 (79.2%) from January 23 to February 2 earlier this year.
Barton racks up the points in OT
Will Barton scored 11 of the Nuggets’ 13 points in the one OT period that was needed in Denver’s win over the Pelicans. That tied the second-most points for a player in one overtime period this season; Stephen Curry had 13 on November 29 against the Lakers and Ricky Rubio netted 11 on November 1 versus the Blazers. The last Nuggets player with that many points in a single OT period was Earl Boykins on January 18, 2005, at Seattle, with 15.
Blazers pair once again reach 20 points
Damian Lillard scored 21 points and CJ McCollum added 20 of his own in the Blazers’ 95-88 triumph over the Magic on Friday night. It was the 13th game this season in which Lillard and McCollum each scored at least 20 points. Only one duo has more such games this season: Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, with 15 of those games for the Warriors. Last season, Lillard and McCollum had the fourth-most games of this type among all pairs of teammates (with 36).
Jazz finally win one in Boston
Ricky Rubio led the Jazz with 22 points as Utah ended its nine-game losing streak in Boston, with a 107-95 victory over the Celtics. Entering Friday, that was the Jazz’s second-longest current losing streak on the road against a particular team. They have lost their last 13 road games versus the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Utah’s last win in Boston was on March 14, 2008, a 110-92 victory in which Deron Williams led all players with 32 points.
Duo come off bench to lead Heat to victory
Heat reserves Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson were the top two scorers of their team, scoring 16 points each, in Miami’s 104-98 victory over the Hornets. That marked the fifth time this season that a team won a game with its top two scorers coming off the bench (the Grizzlies, Lakers, Spurs, and Clippers have each won one game in this fashion). Over the last three seasons (since 2015-16), the Heat had just one other win of this variety. On March 1 earlier this year, Miami defeated Philadelphia, with Ellington and Johnson also leading the way in that one.
Hawks cannot win on second of back-to-backs
The Hawks, coming off a loss to the Pistons on Thursday, dropped another one on Friday, in a 96-94 loss to the Grizzlies. Atlanta is 0-7 in the second of games played on consecutive days this season; four other teams are winless in games of this type (Kings 0-5, Clippers 0-4; 76ers 0-3; Heat 0-2). The last time the Hawks started a season by losing each of their first seven such games was in the 2004-05 season (lost first nine).
Sabres fans can finally throw their hats
Jack Eichel notched the first hat trick of his NHL career when he scored three goals for the Sabres in their 5–4 overtime loss to the Hurricanes in Buffalo. It was the first hat trick by a Sabres player in a home game since April 5, 2011, when Thomas Vanek scored three goals in a 4–2 win against Tampa Bay. The Sabres’ just-ended streak of 244 home games without a hat trick by one of their players was the longest such drought by any team in NHL history. The old record, which Buffalo broke over a year ago, was 197 games by Chicago from November 1948 to March 1954.
Gaborik celebrates 1,000th game with a goal
Marian Gaborik, playing in the 1,000th game of his NHL career, scored the first goal for the Kings in their 4–2 loss to the Rangers. Gaborik is the seventh active NHL player who scored a goal in his 1,000th career game. The others are Jason Chimera, Matt Cullen, Scott Hartnell, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Henrik Zetterberg.
Nash is clutch late in game
Rick Nash’s tiebreaking goal with 3:27 left to play in the third period was the game-winning goal for the Rangers in their 4–2 victory over the Kings. It was Nash’s second go-ahead goal in the third period of a game this season and the 30th such goal of his NHL career. He ranks sixth in third-period tiebreaking goals among active NHL players, behind Jaromir Jagr (50), Marian Hossa (37), Patrick Marleau (35), Marian Gaborik (32) and Alex Ovechkin (31).
Solid night for pair from Massachusetts
Chris Kreider of the Rangers and Brian Boyle of the Devils entered play on Friday with 99 career goals, tying them for the high among active NHL players born in Massachusetts. Kreider took sole possession of the top spot on that list when his 100th NHL goal gave the Rangers a 1–0 lead in the first period of their game against the Kings. Boyle regained a share of the lead when his 100th NHL goal gave New Jersey a 3–2 lead late in the second period of its game versus the Stars, and he moved ahead of Kreider with his 101st goal, an empty-netter that wrapped up the Devils’ win over Dallas. Kreider, who has spent his entire NHL career with the Rangers, is the second Massachusetts-born player to score 100 or more goals for the Broadway Blueshirts, after Darren Turcotte (122 goals). Boyle, who has played for five NHL clubs, has scored a plurality of his goals (44) for the Rangers (also: Lightning 41, Kings 8, Devils 8, Maple Leafs 0).
It’s interesting to note that less than a decade ago (in the 2008–09 season) there were two active NHL players from Massachusetts with more than 500 career goals (Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick) and another with more than 400 goals (Bill Guerin).
Shorthanded goal proves to be the difference
Defenseman Trevor Daley’s shorthanded goal was the game-winning goal for the Red Wings in their 3–1 victory over the Maple Leafs. Daley’s goal, his first of the season, was the first shorthanded goal by a Detroit defenseman since Nov. 4, 2013, when Danny DeKeyser scored one in a game at Winnipeg. Daley has scored two other shorthanded goals in his 14-season NHL career, both for the Dallas Stars in the 2014–15 season.