Dirk ties the logo and extends his own record
Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points and went 7-for-7 from the free-throw line in the Mavericks’ win over the Magic on Tuesday night. It was the 178th time in his NBA career that Nowitzki went 7-for-7 or better from the line in a regular-season game, the most such games, by far, for any player in NBA history. Second on that list is Reggie Miller with 149 such games.
The seven free throws made by Nowitzki gives him 7,160 for his NBA career, tying him with Jerry West for sixth most in NBA history.
With the win, the Mavericks avoid their first winless homestand of four or more games since November 1997, when they went 0–4 on a home stand against the Trail Blazers, Lakers, 76ers and Jazz.
11 rebounds and 11 assists for Ball
Lonzo Ball grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out 11 assists for the Lakers in their won over the Kings on Tuesday night. It was the third time this season that Ball had at least 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a game and the eighth by an NBA rookie this season. Ben Simmons has four such games and Dennis Smith, Jr. has one. The last time all NBA rookies combined for eight or more games with at least 10 rebounds and 10 assists was in 1979-80 when Magic Johnson (seven such games) and Larry Bird (one) did it.
Raptors win by one, lose by one
Wayne Ellington’s basket with less than a second remaining gave the Heat a 90-89 win over the Raptors, just one night after Toronto earned a one-point overtime win over the Nets in Brooklyn. The Raptors are only the second team over the last 30 years to win a game by one point and then lose a game by one point the next day. The Suns did it on November 13-14, 2001 with a 92-91 win in Seattle followed by a 93-92 loss to the Magic in Phoenix.
Miami is winning the close ones
Miami has won its last five games all by seven or fewer points, matching the longest such streak in franchise history. The Heat won five consecutive games, all by seven or fewer points, two other times in team history: once in April 2001 and once in February/March 2006.
Westbrook records another 20-point double-double
Russell Westbrook scored 22 points and handed out 12 assists in a losing effort against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. It was the 11th consecutive game in which Westbrook scored at least 20 points and recorded a double-double, the longest such streak within one season in the NBA since Kevin Love did it for 13 consecutive games for the Timberwolves in 2013–14. The only other player in Seattle/Oklahoma City franchise history with a streak like that was Spencer Haywood, who had two such streaks in 1971–72, a 14-gamer and a 12-gamer.
Kane tallies five points
Patrick Kane tallied five points in a game for the first time in his NHL career when he scored one goal and assisted on four in the Blackhawks’ 8–2 win at Ottawa. (Kane’s four assists in Tuesday’s game are also a career high.) The Buffalo native is the second U.S.-born player to record five points in an NHL game this season. Kane’s teammate, Ryan Hartman, produced a goal and four assists in the Blackhawks’ season opener, a 10–1 victory over the Penguins in Chicago on Oct. 5.
Besides Kane, the only NHL player to score five points in a game on the road this season is former Blackhawk Artemi Panarin, who assisted on all of the Blue Jackets’ goals in their 5–3 win at New Jersey on December 8.
Ehlers and Connor score twice each
Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor each scored two goals for the Jets in their 7–4 win against the Sabres in Buffalo. It was the first Jets game in which they had two multiple-goal scorers since Nov. 8, 2016, when Patrik Laine scored scored three times and Mark Scheifele tallied twice in an 8–2 victory over the Stars in Winnipeg. Tuesday’s win marked the first time that the Jets had a pair of multi-goal men in a road game since Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler each scored two goals for the Jets in a 6–2 win at Arizona on Oct. 9, 2014.
Grubauer stops the rubber in the third period
Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves, including 20 in the third period, in his 3–1 win against the Canucks in Washington. Grubauer, the Capitals’ backup goaltender, was 0–5–1 with a 4.18 GAA and .872 save percentage in his first six starts this season but he’s 3–0–2 with a 1.16 GAA and .961 save percentage in five starts since then (Nov. 24 to date). Grubauer is the first Capitals goaltender to make 20 or more saves in the third period of a game since April 25, 2013, when Michal Neuvirth stopped all 23 shots he faced in the third period of a game against Ottawa (which Neuvirth and the Caps lost in overtime).
Johnson lights the lamp thrice
Tyler Johnson recorded the first hat trick by a Lightning player this season and the third regular-season hat trick of his NHL career when he scored three goals in Tampa Bay’s 5–4 win against the Hurricanes. Johnson suffered through a career-worst 15-game goal drought this season from late October through the end of November but he’s scored 12 goals (in 17 games) since December 1, tying the Islanders’ Anders Lee for the league high in goals over that span.
Rinne extends Preds dominance of Oilers
Pekka Rinne made 25 saves in his 2–1 victory over the Oilers in Nashville which extended the Predators’ winning streak against Edmonton to 11 games. Rinne has recorded the win in 10 of those 11 games, limiting the Oilers to a total of 13 goals. The only longer current winning streaks by one NHL team against another than the Predators’ 11-game streak versus the Oilers are by the Bruins and Blues against the Coyotes (both 12 games), the Blackhawks versus the Sabres (12 games), and the Capitals against the Bruins (12 games).
Panthers trail 2-0, win 7-4
Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck each tallied three points for the Panthers as they overcame an early 2–0 deficit to beat the Blues in St. Louis, 7–4. This was only the second time in Panthers history that they scored as many as seven goals in a game in which they trailed by two goals. The only other time that happened was in a 7 –3 Florida win at Atlanta on Feb. 10, 2001. The Thrashers led 2–0 before the first period of that game was ten minutes old, but the Panthers outscored Atlanta 7–1 the rest of the way with Pavel Bure tallying four times for Florida.
Flames playing tight games
Dougie Hamilton scored the overtime goal which earned the Flames a 3–2 win at Minnesota on Tuesday. This was the eighth consecutive Calgary game decided by a one-goal margin (the Flames have won five of those eight games), including two in overtime and one via a shootout. It’s the longest streak of one-goal games by an NHL team this season. Two NHL teams had streaks of at least eight straight games decided by a one-goal margin last season: the Canadiens (11) and the Flyers (8).