Elias Says: Dec. 21, 2017

Kuzma’s 38-point performance puts an end to Rockets’ winning streak

Kyle Kuzma scored 38 points leading the Lakers to a 122-116 win over the Rockets ending Houston’s 14-game winning streak. Those are the most points scored by a rookie in a game in which his team ended a double-digit winning streak in NBA history. The previous high was 29 points by San Antonio’s David Robinson in a Spurs’ victory over the Trail Blazers which put an end to Portland’s 10-game winning streak on March 22, 1990.

James Harden registered 51 points in Houston’s defeat. Harden is the first player in NBA history to score 50 or more points in a losing effort which ended his team’s double-digit winning streak.

Olynyk comes back to haunt Celtics

Kelly Olynyk, appearing in his first game in Boston after leaving the Celtics and joining the Heat as a free agent, scored a team-high 32 points in Miami’s 90-89 victory on Wednesday. Olynyk became the first visiting player to score 30 or more points in Boston after previously playing at least 250 games for the Celtics.

Gasol turns back the clock

Pau Gasol registered 20 points, 17 rebounds and five assists leading the Spurs to a win over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday. At the age of 37 years, 167 days old, Gasol became the third oldest player in NBA history to record at least 20 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a game, behind Tim Duncan, who had 23 points, 16 rebounds and five assists at the age of 38 years, 236 days old on December 17, 2014 and Karl Malone who produced 27 points, 16 rebounds and six assists at 38 years, 208 days old on February 17, 2002.

Thunder defense clamps down on Jazz in the first quarter

The Thunder held the Jazz to just nine points in the first quarter and coasted to a 107-79 victory on Wednesday. That marked the second time Oklahoma City allowed fewer than 10 points in the first quarter this season, having also done that on November 15 against Chicago (7 points). Prior to the Thunder, the last team with multiple games allowing fewer than 10 first-quarter points in a season was Boston in 2010-11.

Prior to this season, Oklahoma City had held its opponents to less than 10 points in the first quarter only three times in its franchise history, in 2002 against Utah, 2004 against New Jersey and 2014 against Utah.

Raptors trio dominates Hornets

DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points and made 10 of his 15 field-goal attempts, Serge Ibaka tallied 24 points while going 11-for-16 from the field and rookie OG Anunoby made seven of his nine field-goal attempts in a 20-point performance in Toronto’s 129-111 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday. It’s the second time the Raptors had three players each score 20 or more points while making at least 65 percent of their field-goal attempts in the same game, with the other such instance coming on January 23, 2008, when Jose Calderon (24 points, 8-for-10), Anthony Parker (23 points, 8-for-12) and Chris Bosh (23 points, 8-for-11) did it against the Celtics.

The only other trio of teammates to do that in a game this season are Detroit’s Tobias Harris (31 points, 11-for-16), Andre Drummond (26 points, 10-for-12) and Reggie Jackson (20 points, 7-for-10) against Boston on November 27.

Another 20-point game for Oladipo

Victor Oladipo scored a team-high 23 points in the Pacers’ win over the Hawks on Wednesday. That marked the 23rd time Oladipo scored 20 or more points in a game this season. Oladipo had only 18 twenty-point games during the entire 2016-17 season.

No other player in the Pacers’ NBA franchise history ever produced as many 20-point games as Oladipo prior to Christmas Day. The previous high was 22 by Mickey Johnson in 1979-80.

Randolph joins elite company

Zach Randolph registered his 10,000th career rebound in the Kings’ win over the Nets in Brooklyn on Wednesday. Randolph became the 20th player in NBA history to record 18000 points and 10000 rebounds and 15 of the other 19 players in that group are in the Hall of Fame. The four players who are not in the Hall of Fame are not yet eligible for enshrinement: recently retired Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett and active players Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol.

Mirotic sparks Bulls off the bench

Nikola Mirotic registered 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench in Chicago’s win over Orlando on Wednesday. It marked the second consecutive game, both Chicago victories, Mirotic recorded at least 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench (he had 22 points and 13 rebounds in the Bulls’ win over the 76ers on Monday). Mirotic is the first Bulls player to do that in a reserve role in consecutive games, both wins, in over 15 years, since Marcus Fizer came off the bench and produced 20 points and 17 rebounds on December 16 and 15 points and 13 rebounds on December 18 in 2002.

When the Mavs win, they win big

The Mavericks defeated the Pistons by a score of 110-93 on Wednesday night. Dallas has won only nine games this season, but five of those wins have been by margins of more than 15 points. That’s by far the highest such percentage (55.6%) for any team in the league. No other team has produced more than 44 percent of its wins by more than 15 points this season. Dallas had only six wins by margins of more than 15 points all of last season and only had four such wins in 2015-16.

Towns keeps living up to his billing

Karl-Anthony Towns registered 25 points and 10 rebounds in Minnesota’s win over Denver on Wednesday. Towns has produced 63 25-point/10-rebound games since entering the league in 2015-16. The only players with more such games than Towns over that span are Anthony Davis (72) and DeMarcus Cousins (71).

Jones tallies a goal and assist for the fourth time this season

Seth Jones scored one goal and assisted on another for the Blue Jackets in their 4–2 victory over the Maple Leafs. It was the fourth time that Jones has produced at least one goal and one assist in the same game this season, which ties him for the NHL high among defensemen with the Islanders’ Nick Leddy and the Golden Knights’ Colin Miller.

Another come-from-behind win for the Flyers

Claude Giroux notched three assists for the Flyers as they overcame 2–1 and 3–2 deficits to register a 4–3 win against the Red Wings on Wednesday. The Flyers had only one come-from-behind victory this season through the end of November (a league low) but they’ve racked up an NHL-high six comeback wins in December. The Golden Knights (four) are the only other NHL team with more than three come-from-behind wins this month.