Two straight 50-point games for Harden, two straight losses for the Rockets
After scoring 51 points in Houston’s loss to the Lakers on Wednesday, James Harden matched that point total on Friday, but once again it came in a losing effort as the Clippers’ defeated the Rockets by a score of 128-118. Harden is just the second player in NBA history to score 50 or more points in consecutive games with his team losing each contest. The only other player to do that is Wilt Chamberlain, who incredibly had three different streaks of three consecutive 50-point games in losses during the 1962-63 season.
Harden scored his 1000th point of the season in just his 31st game. Over the last 25 seasons, only two other players reached 1000 points in a season in 31 or fewer games: Allen Iverson (30 games in 2005-06) and Kobe Bryant (31 games in 2005-06).
Cousins and Davis team up to dominate the Magic
DeMarcus Cousins registered 26 points and 11 rebounds and Anthony Davis chipped in with 20 points and 11 rebounds in the Pelicans’ win over the Magic on Friday night. It’s the eleventh time Davis and Cousins each produced at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game this season. No other pair of teammates has done that more than twice this season and the only pair to do it multiple times is Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Westbrook comes through in the clutch
Russell Westbrook’s three-point field-goal with less than three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Thunder a 120-117 victory over the Hawks on Friday night. Prior to Friday, Westbrook was just 5-for-26, good for a .192 field-goal percentage, on potential go-ahead field-goal attempts in the final five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime in his career.
Warriors become fourth team with an 11-game winning streak this season
The Warriors beat the Lakers for their 11th consecutive win on Friday. Golden State is the fourth team to produce a winning streak of more than 10 games in this young season, joining the Celtics (16 straight), Rockets (14 straight) and Cavaliers (13 straight). This is only the second time in NBA history that four different teams had winning streaks of more than 10 games prior to Christmas Day. The only other time that happened was in 2010-11 (Celtics, Mavericks, Heat and Spurs).
Durant scores his 1000th point against the Lakers
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 33 points in the Warriors win over the Lakers on Friday. Durant scored his 1000th career point against the Lakers during the victory, becoming the 68th player in NBA history to reach that milestone against Los Angeles. The only players to score 1000 points against the Lakers in fewer games than Durant (36) are Wilt Chamberlain (25), Oscar Robertson (32) and Walt Bellamy (34).
Ellington reigns threes off the bench
Wayne Ellington came off the bench and made eight of his 12 three-point attempts and scored 28 points in Miami’s win over Dallas on Friday. It marked the ninth time a Heat player converted eight or more three-pointers, but Ellington is the first player in Miami history with that many threes in a game off the bench.
Miami made 16 of its 25 shots from beyond the arc. That’s the highest percentage (64.0%) of three-point attempts the Heat have made in any of the 270 regular-season games in which they have had at least 25 attempts from beyond the arc.
Hollis-Jefferson lead Nets to big win over the Wizards
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson registered 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the Nets’ 119-84 pasting of the Wizards on Friday. Hollis-Jefferson is the first Nets player under the age of 23 to produce at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a game since Terrence Williams had 21 points, 13 rebounds and six assists against Charlotte on April 12, 2010 at the age of 22.
The Nets have won two games by margins of 35 or more points over the last four seasons, and both of the victories came against Washington, the other occurring on April 10, 2015 by a score of 117-80.
Antetokounmpo extends streak
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points in Milwaukee’s win over Charlotte on Friday. Antetokounmpo has scored 25 or more points in each of his last 10 games, making him the first Bucks player to produce a double-digit streak of 25-point games in a single season in over 43 years, since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had a 10-game streak of that kind in February 1974.
Nuggets win big in Portland
The Nuggets defeated the Trail Blazers by a score of 102-85 at the Moda Center on Friday. The 17-point margin of victory tied the highest ever produced by the Nuggets in a game against the Trail Blazers in Portland. On November 2, 2002, Denver topped Portland by a score of 96-79 at the Rose Garden.
Kane shoots Sabres to win over Flyers
Evander Kane tallied a goal and an assist for the Sabres in their 4–2 win over the Flyers. He also produced a game-high seven shots on goal, including one on a failed penalty shot in the first period. This was the sixth time that Kane racked up at least seven shots on goal in a game this season, tying Brent Burns for third-most in the NHL, behind co-leaders Tyler Seguin and Vladimir Tarasenko with seven such games.
Another late comeback win for the Panthers
Two goals by Jonathan Huberdeau and one by Connor Brickley enabled the Florida Panthers to rally from a 2–1 third-period deficit and beat the Wild, 4–2, on Friday. The script was similar in the Panthers’ last game, when third-period goals by Denis Malgin and Mike Matheson erased a 2–1 Coyotes lead and gave Florida a 3–2 victory at Arizona on Tuesday. This is only the second time in the Panthers’ 24-season history that they’ve won consecutive games in one season in regulation time despite trailing in the third period in each game. (They also did that March 21–23, 2000.) Florida is the first NHL team to win consecutive games in regulation time despite trailing in the third period in each game since the Flyers on Dec. 8 and 10, 2016.
Teenager’s OT goal lifts Coyotes over Capitals
Rookie Clayton Keller’s first overtime goal in the NHL gave the Arizona Coyotes a 3–2 victory over the Capitals on Friday. The 19-year-old Keller (who won’t turn 20 until next July) is only the second teenager in Jets/Coyotes franchise history to score an overtime goal. The first was Shane Doan, who was just over a month past his 19th birthday when he scored in overtime for the original Winnipeg Jets in a game against the Blackhawks on Nov. 14, 1995. Keller’s overtime goal was the first by a teenager on any NHL team since January 8, when Sebastian Aho, who was 19 years old at the time, scored an OT winner for the Hurricanes against the Bruins.