Porzingis misses all 11 FG attempts
Kristaps Porzingis entered Thursday night’s matchup with the Celtics averaging 25.5 points per game this season. But Porzingis missed all 11 of his field-goal attempts and scored one point in the Knicks’ victory over the Celtics.
Porzingis was the first NBA player in more than 50 years to enter a game scoring at least 25 points per game that season and shoot 0-for-10 or worse from the field. The previous player to do that was Elgin Baylor for the Lakers in March 1965. Baylor was averaging 27.6 points per game at the time of a late-season matchup with the St. Louis Hawks, and he went 0-for-10 from the field and was held scoreless in a game the Lakers won.
DeRozan leads Raptors rally
DeMar DeRozan scored 45 points for the Raptors who rallied from a 22-point deficit to defeat the 76ers. Stephen Curry is the only other active player to score 45 points or more in a non-overtime NBA game which his team won by overcoming a deficit at least that large. Curry racked up 51 points in a February 2015 victory against the Mavericks in a game in which the Warriors trailed by 22 points.
Simmons through 30 games
Ben Simmons played his 30th pro game on Thursday night and he has already amassed 520 points, 269 rebounds, and 234 assists. The only other player with at least 500/250/200 (points/rebounds/assists) over his first 30 games in the NBA was Oscar Robertson (859 points, 274 rebounds, and 259 assists).
LBJ bests Bulls
LeBron James scored 34 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 115–112 victory over the Bulls. Cleveland is 3–0 versus Chicago this season and for James that is his longest regular-season winning streak versus the Bulls since the 2008–09 season, when he led the Cavs to three consecutive wins against Chicago spanning November to January.
Grizzlies play another close one
The Grizzlies lost to the Suns, 97–95, in what was Memphis’s NBA-high-tying sixth game decided by two points or less this season. That matches the total number of two-point games that Memphis played last season, but the Grizzlies went 5–1 in those close encounters last season and are just 2–4 in those contests this season.
Kucherov is first to 50
Nikita Kucherov became the first NHL player to reach the 50-point mark this season when he recorded the second of his two assists for Tampa Bay in its shootout win against Ottawa. Kucherov hit the 50-point plateau in the Lightning’s 34th game this season, the fewest team games that any NHL player has required to do that since 2012–13, when Sidney Crosby notched his 50th point in the Penguins’ 31st game. It’s worth noting that in three of the past four seasons the first NHL player to score 50 points went on to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top point producer: Sidney Crosby in 2013–14, Patrick Kane in 2015–16 and Connor McDavid in 2016–17. Jakub Voracek was the first player to score 50 points in 2014–15 but he finished tied for fourth in points that season.
Lindholm caps hat trick with OT goal
Hampus Lindholm completed the first hat trick of his NHL career when he scored in overtime to earn the Ducks a 5–4 win against the Islanders in Brooklyn. Lindholm is the fifth defenseman in NHL history to produce a regular-season hat trick which included a game-winning goal in overtime. The other defenseman to do that were Vancouver’s Dave Babych (Nov. 1991), Tampa Bay’s Doug Crossman (Nov. 1992), Montreal’s Sheldon Souray (Dec. 2003) and Anaheim’s Lubomir Visnovsky (March 4, 2011).
McAvoy scores shootout winner on birthday
Charlie McAvoy, who turned 20 years old on Thursday, celebrated his birthday by scoring the shootout-deciding goal for the Bruins in their 2–1 win over the Jets. McAvoy is the eighth and youngest NHL player to score a shooting-deciding goal on his birthday. The only other player to score a shootout winner on his birthday this season is Artemi Panarin, who did that on his 26th birthday for Columbus against Boston on October 30.
Caggiula snaps late tie
Drake Caggiula’s goal with 49.8 seconds left to play in the third period snapped a 2–2 tie and earned the Oilers a 3–2 win over the Blues. It was the third time in the last six days that an NHL player scored a tiebreaking goal in the final minute of regulation time. Pittsburgh’s Olli Maata did that in Arizona last Saturday (at 19:45 of the third period) and Vegas’s Shea Theodore did so against Tampa Bay on Tuesday (at 19:57). Before last Saturday there had been only one tiebreaking goal scored in the final minute of the third period in an NHL game this season, by Nashville’s Filip Forsberg versus the Flyers on October 10 (at 19:24). Caggiula is the first player to score a last-minute-of-regulation go-ahead goal for the Oilers since Jan. 25, 2011, when Dustin Penner scored a tiebreaker at 19:38 of the third period at Phoenix.
Hanifin ties career best
Noah Hanifin tied his career high for points in one game when he tallied one goal and two assists in the Hurricanes’ 4–1 win at Nashville. Hanifin, who will celebrate his 21st birthday next month (Jan. 25), is the third defenseman age 20 or younger to score three points in an NHL game this season. The others are the Flyers’ Ivan Provorov (Oct. 20 vs. Arizona, three assists, age 20) and the Senators’ Thomas Chabot (Dec. 1 at Islanders, one goal and two assists, age 20).
Boyle is late-game hero
Brian Boyle scored the deciding goal in the shootout which gave the Devils a 4–3 victory over the Rangers, after tallying the goal which tied the score at 3–3 in the third period. Boyle is the fourth player in Devils history to score the winning goal in a shootout after scoring the final goal of the game in the third period. The other New Jersey players to do that were Viktor Kozlov (Dec. 3, 2005 vs. Minnesota), Brian Gionta (Jan. 20, 2007 vs. Philadelphia) and Lee Stempniak (Oct. 22, 2015 at Ottawa).
Tavares and Bailey riding concurrent streaks
John Tavares (two goals, one assist) and Josh Bailey (three assists) each tallied three points for the Islanders in their overtime loss to the Ducks on Thursday. Tavares and Bailey have each racked up at least two points in each of the Islanders’ last five games. They’re the first Islanders players to score at least two points in each of five consecutive team games in one season since Pierre Turgeon had a streak of six straight multiple-point games in March 1994. This is only the fourth time in franchise history that a pair of Islanders players had concurrent streaks of five consecutive multi-point games. The other duos to pull off that feat were Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier in 1977–78, Bossy and Clark Gillies in 1978–79, and Bossy and Brent Sutter in 1984–85.
Bishop blanks Blackhawks
Ben Bishop posted his third shutout of the season with a 4–0 win versus the Blackhawks in Dallas on Thursday. Bishop, who was traded to the Stars in May, has won all three games he’s played against Chicago this season. He’s the fourth Stars goaltender to win as many as three games against the Blackhawks in one season since the Minnesota North Stars relocated to Texas in 1993. The others are Ed Belfour in 1997–98, Marty Turco in 2005–06, and Kari Lehtonen in both 2010–11 and 2015–16.
Malkin extends streak
Evgeni Malkin scored on one of his six shots on goal for the Penguins in their shootout win against the Blue Jackets. Malkin has recorded at least one goal and five shots on goal in each of his team’s last three games. He’s the first NHL player with a streak of three consecutive games with a minimum of one goal and five shots on goal this season. Three NHL players had three-game streaks of that kind last season: Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby and Jeff Carter.