Simmons dominates in 76ers’ win
Ben Simmons had 19 points, 17 rebounds, and 14 assists in the 76ers’ 115-101 victory over the Bulls on Wednesday. Simmons is the fourth rookie in NBA history with at least 15 points, 15 rebounds, and 14 assists in a game, joining Oscar Robertson (three such games in 1960-61 season), Walt Frazier (February 10, 1968) and Steve Francis (January 27, 2000). Only one other player had such a game this season: Russell Westbrook on December 15 at Philadelphia (27 points, 17 rebounds, 15 assists).
Simmons reached his triple double with just over 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter, the quickest for any player this season. He is the second rookie to reach a triple double by the end of the third quarter in the 2017-18 campaign, joining Lonzo Ball (November 11 at Milwaukee). Entering this season, no rookie had done so since the Bulls’ Jay Williams on November 9, 2002 against the Nets.
Simmons has two triple doubles against the Bulls this season, also doing so on December 18. The last rookie with two-or-more triple doubles versus one team was Magic Johnson against the Warriors in the 1979-80 season (with two).
Drummond reaches 2000 offensive rebounds in huge game
Andre Drummond, in his 429th regular season game in the NBA, had eight offensive rebounds in the Pistons’ overtime loss to the Jazz. In the loss, Drummond became the 95th player to reach 2000 offensive rebounds since they were first officially tracked in the 1973-74 season. Only one of those 94 prior players hit the 2000-offensive rebound mark in as few games as Drummond. Moses Malone did so on October 15, 1980 for the Rockets against the Sonics, in just his 308th game in the NBA.
Drummond had 30 points, 24 rebounds, and six blocks in Wednesday’s game. He became the first player with that many points, rebounds, and blocks in a game since Shaquille O'Neal on March 21, 2004 versus the Bucks (31 points, 26 rebounds, seven blocks). Before that, it had not been done since Hakeem Olajuwon had 32 points, 25 rebounds, and 10 blocks on December 17, 1989 against the Magic.
Drummond played 39 minutes and 29 seconds of the 53 minutes in Wednesday’s overtime contest. Since the 1973-74 season, no other NBA player has reached each of those levels in points, rebounds, and blocks in a game in which he played less than 40 minutes.
Howard in elite company through 1000 games
Dwight Howard had 22 points and 16 rebounds in his 1000th regular season game in the NBA, a 101-96 Hornets’ loss to the Pelicans. Howard became the 128th player in NBA history to reach 1000 games played, and he has totaled 17,370 points and 12,671 rebounds in those games. Six other players had at least 17,000 points and 12,000 rebounds through their first 1000 games: Bob Pettit (who only played 792 games in his career), Wilt Chamberlain, Walt Bellamy, Elvin Hayes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Moses Malone.
Rockets on fire from the start
The Rockets made 10 of their 21 three-pointers in the first quarter of their 104-97 triumph over the Mavericks. The only other team to make that many three-pointers in a quarter over the last four seasons was the Cavs on November 23, 2016 versus the Blazers (also 10 in the first quarter).
Trevor Ariza, James Harden, and Chris Paul each made three three-pointers in the first quarter of the Rockets’ win. The last trio to do so in one quarter was the Bucks’ Charlie Bell (four made), Michael Redd (four), and Toni Kukoc (three) on March 28, 2006 in the third quarter against the Suns.
Indiana sets the pace through three quarters
Thaddeus Young led all players with 22 points and the Pacers jumped out to a 99-65 lead after three quarters in an eventual 116-101 win over the Suns. That marked the fourth time this season in which Indiana led by at least 30 points after three quarters, previously doing so against the Knicks on December 4, Bulls on January 6, and Suns on January 14. No other team has had as many games of this type this season; the Rockets are next on the list with three.
Business as usual for Spurs after 50 games
Eight Spurs had at least 10 points, led by 15 from Patty Mills, in their blowout win over the Grizzlies on Wednesday. San Antonio improved to 32-18 in the 2017-18 campaign, marking the eighth consecutive season in which the team won at least 30 of its first 50 games. That is the longest active streak of this type and the longest for any team since the Mavs had an 11-season streak from 2000-01 to 2010-11.
Raptors utilize the blocked shot against Hawks
The Raptors had 12 blocks, including three from both Jonas Valanciunas and Fred VanVleet, in their 15-point win over the Hawks on Wednesday. In the last matchup between these two teams, on December 29, Toronto had 15 blocks in a 111-98 victory. Only one other team had that many blocks over a two-game span against a particular opponent this season; the 76ers had 28 blocks over two games versus the Lakers in November and December.
Blazers’ offense is heating up in 2018
The Blazers put up 123 points, including 31 from Damian Lillard, in their victory over the Timberwolves. Since January 1, Portland has scored at least 110 points in 10 of the team’s 13 games, while averaging 112.2 points in those 13 games. Prior to January 1, the Blazers averaged 102.3 points in 35 games this season, while scoring 110-or-more points in just nine of those games. No team has had as many 110-point games as Portland since January 1 and only five teams had fewer games of this variety before the calendar turned to 2018.
Overtime ends in the blink of an eye on Nylander’s penalty shot goal
William Nylander’s penalty shot goal six seconds into overtime gave the Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks in Chicago on Wednesday night. It was Toronto’s first ever game-ending penalty shot goal in a regular-season game. The Maple Leafs had one other penalty shot in overtime. Mikhail Grabovski was stopped by Boston’s Tim Thomas 43 seconds into overtime on March 31, 2011. It was the NHL’s third penalty shot attempt during an overtime period this season. Buffalo’s Jack Eichel and the Rangers’ Brady Skjei had unsuccessful attempts earlier this year. Nylander’s goal also ties the NHL record for the fastest goal (of any type) from the start of an overtime period. He now shares that record with Mats Sundin (1995), David Legwand (2006), Alex Ovechkin (2006) and Detroit’s Andreas Athanasiou, who scored six seconds into overtime on January 3, 2018 against the Senators.
Pearson finds a way in OT
Tanner Pearson scored with 27 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Kings a 2-1 win over the Flames on Wednesday. Pearson has six overtime goals in the regular season in his NHL career, all coming since February 12, 2016. In that span, only three others have that many OT goals: Jeff Carter, Alex Galchenyuk, and Alex Ovechkin, each with six.
Chipper Jones is headed to Cooperstown
In his first year of eligibility, Chipper Jones was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with support from 97 percent of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voters. Jones hit 468 home runs in his major-league career, the third most among switch hitters, behind Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504).
Jones drove in at least 100 runs in each of eight consecutive seasons from 1996 to 2003, the longest streak for a Braves player since 1920, when RBIs became an official statistic. The only other Brave with a streak of at least five consecutive seasons was Hank Aaron (five, 1959 to 1963).
Jones was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1999, a year in which he hit 45 home runs and 41 doubles and stole 25 bases. Only four other players have had at least 40 homers, 40 doubles, and 25 stolen bases in one season: Ellis Burks (1996 Rockies), Jeff Bagwell (1997 Astros), Larry Walker (1997 Rockies), and Alfonso Soriano (2006 Nationals).
Guerrero makes the cut
Vladimir Guerrero will join Jones in Cooperstown, as he was also inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving support from 93 percent of the voters. Guerrero hit .323 in his eight seasons with the Expos and sported a .319 batting average in six seasons with the Angels. Only three other players hit at least .315 with two different teams (minimum 3000 at-bats with each team): Eddie Collins (.331 with White Sox, .336 with Athletics), Jimmie Foxx (.339 with Athletics, .320 with Red Sox), and Tris Speaker (.337 with Red Sox, .354 with Indians).
Thome gets the nod
Jim Thome is headed to Cooperstown, coming in with just under 90 percent of the votes in his first year of eligibility. Thome had at least 30 home runs, 100 runs, and 100 walks in each of five consecutive seasons from 1999 to 2003. Only four others had such a streak of this length in MLB history: Jimmie Foxx (five straight, 1934 to 1938), Frank Thomas (five, 1993 to 1997), Jeff Bagwell (six, 1996 to 2001), and Barry Bonds (five, 2000 to 2004).
Thome hit 17 home runs in the postseason, tied with David Ortiz for the seventh most in MLB history, behind Manny Ramirez (29), Bernie Williams (22), Derek Jeter (20), Albert Pujols (19), Reggie Jackson (18), and Mickey Mantle (18). Thome averaged one home run every 14 postseason at-bats, the second best mark among those eight players (Mantle averaged one every 13 at-bats).
Hoffman closes out this year’s Hall of Fame class
Trevor Hoffman will join the trio of Jones, Guerrero, and Thome in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Hoffman saved 30 or more games in 14 seasons during his major-league career, the second most for any player in major-league history, behind Mariano Rivera (15). Lee Smith (10) is the only other pitcher with 10 or more seasons with at least 30 saves.
Hoffman had 1133 strikeouts and 307 walks in 1089 ⅓ innings in the majors (all of which came in relief appearances), for a rate of 9.4 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per nine innings. He is one of seven pitchers with that high of a strikeout rate and that low of a walk rate per nine innings (minimum 1000 innings). Five of those six other pitchers are still active: Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg. The other pitcher on that list, Pedro Martinez, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.