Two straight blowout losses for the Cavs
After losing by 28 points to the Timberwolves on Monday, the Cavaliers were blown out by a score of 133-99 at the hands of the Raptors on Thursday. Cleveland is only the fourth team in NBA history to lose consecutive games, each by 25 or more points, after reaching the Finals the previous season. The only other teams to do that are the Washington Capitols in March of 1950, Washington Bullets in February of 1980 and Chicago Bulls in April of 1999. This is the first time LeBron James lost consecutive games by margins of 25 or more points in his career.
Celtics make a huge comeback in London
The Celtics overcame a 22-point deficit and defeated the 76ers in London on Thursday. That marked the second time this season Boston came back from a deficit of 20 or more points to win, having also done that just two weeks ago against the Rockets (26-point comeback on December 28). Prior to Boston, the last team to win two games after trailing by 20 or more points in a 15-day span was the Pacers, who erased a 23-point deficit to beat the Raptors on January 11, 2010, and just two days later overcame a 24-point deficit to top the Suns.
Prior to this season, the Celtics had only two wins after trailing by 20 or more points in the previous nine seasons combined (2008-09 to 2016-17), against Orlando in 2012 and against Miami in 2016. Boston was just 2-82 in those games over that time frame.
Harrell is nearly perfect off the bench
Montrezl Harrell made 11 of his 12 field-goal attempts while scoring 25 points off the bench in the Clippers’ win over the Kings on Thursday. Harrell’s .917 field-goal percentage is the highest in a game by a player with at least 10 attempts off the bench in Clippers’ history. The previous high was .900 by six different players, most recently accomplished by Austin Rivers on March 25, 2015.
Lakers snap home skid against Spurs
The Lakers defeated the Spurs by a score of 93-81 at the Staples Center on Thursday snapping Los Angeles’ seven-game home losing streak against San Antonio that dated back to 2013. That tied the second longest home losing streak the Lakers have had against a particular opponent. Los Angeles has lost each of its last eight home contests against Portland, and lost seven straight to the Mavericks (2014-present) and Nuggets (2013 to 2017).
Ball does it all in Lakers’ win over Spurs
Lonzo Ball registered 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals leading the Lakers to a 93-81 win over the Spurs on Thursday. The only players younger than Ball (20 years, 76 days old) to record at least 15 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals in a game are Cliff Robinson (19 years, 334 days in 1980), LeBron James (20 years, 20 days in 2005), John Wall (20 years, 65 days in 2010) and Magic Johnson (20 years, 75 days in 1979).
Hurricanes end Caps’ home winning streak
Jordan Staal, Victor Rask and Sebastian Aho scored the goals for the Hurricanes in their 3–1 victory at Washington which ended the Capitals’ 10-game home winning streak. The only other time in franchise history that the Whalers or Hurricanes ended an opponents’ single-season home winning streak of 10 games or longer was on March 28, 2009, when Carolina won 2–1 at New Jersey to halt the Devils’ 11-game winning streak on home ice. The Hurricanes trailed 1–0 through two periods in that game but won thanks to third-period goals by Sergei Samsonov and Tuomo Ruutu.
Sabres’ rookie stifles Blue Jackets
Rookie Linus Ullmark, playing in his first NHL game this season, made 44 saves as he led the Sabres to a 3–1 win against the Blue Jackets on Thursday. The only other time in team history that a Sabres rookie goaltender made at least 43 saves and allowed no more than one goal in a game was on March 29, 1988, when Daren Puppa stopped 46 shots in a 3–1 win against the Nordiques in Quebec. Nashville’s Juuse Saros is the only NHL rookie goaltender besides Ullmark to do that this season. Saros posted a 46-save 4–0 win at Edmonton on December 14.
Flames extend winning streak with help from Ferland
Micheal Ferland, Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Jankowski each tallied a goal and an assist for the Flames when they extended their winning streak to five games with a 5–1 victory over the Lightning in Tampa. Ferland has produced a goal and an assist in each of Calgary’s last four games. The only other NHL players who’ve had a streak of four or more consecutive team games with at least one goal and one assist in each game are Gaudreau (Nov. 9–20) and Sidney Crosby (Nov. 24–Dec. 2), who each had a five-game streak.