Foles broke a Brady record
Nick Foles excelled in many areas in three postseason games en route to winning the Super Bowl, perhaps none as important as keeping drives alive. Over those three games, Foles completed 27 of 33 passes on third or fourth down (he was also sacked twice), and he produced a first down on 23 of those 35 pass plays. That conversion rate of 65.7 percent on third/fourth down pass plays is the highest for any quarterback in one year’s playoffs among those who had at least 25 pass plays on third or fourth down. He broke the record previously held by Tom Brady in the 2014 postseason (60.6 percent); next-highest was Terry Bradshaw in the 1979 postseason (60 percent).
The Eagles earned 12 first downs on third- or fourth-down plays in their Super Bowl victory, tying the Super Bowl record set by the Redskins in beating the Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII at the conclusion of the 1982 season.
Patriots’ only turnover was a rare one
Tom Brady’s fumble late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, when he was hit by Brandon Graham while trying to pass, was a rarity. Brady had not fumbled in any of his last 11 postseason games, and had fumbled just once in his last 17 postseason games. Brady’s last postseason fumble on which the Patriots lost possession had come in the opening minutes of a playoff game eight years ago, when the Ravens defeated the Patriots, 33-14, in Foxborough. (Terrell Suggs sacked Brady and recovered the fumble.)
Quite a milestone for Drummond
Andre Drummond scored and rebounded in equal measure, finishing with 17 points and a game-high 17 rebounds in the Pistons’ 111-91 victory over the visiting Trail Blazers. It was Detroit’s fourth win in its last four games and lifted the team’s record to 26-26. For Drummond, it was the 49th time that he has led the Pistons in rebounds (or tied for the team lead) in the 50 games in which he has played this season. He’s only the third player in the NBA’s last 50 seasons to reach the 50-games-played mark having led or shared for his team’s rebounding lead in 49 games; Kevin Garnett (2006-07 with the Timberwolves) and Dennis Rodman (1996-97 with the Bulls) were the others. Before that, only Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell had done it, each in several seasons.
The only game this season in which Drummond has been out-rebounded by a teammate was a win over the Magic on December 17, as Eric Moreland collected eight rebounds to Drummond’s six.
Griffin off to hot start in new uni
Blake Griffin, who had 21 points and nine rebounds on Monday night, has accumulated 61 points and 28 rebounds over his first three games with the Pistons. The only other players who produced at least 60 points and 25 rebounds over their first three games with the Pistons were also midseason acquisitions—Happy Hairston (60 and 39) in February 1968 and Walt Bellamy (63 and 50) in December 1968.
Clippers win with late comeback
The Clippers trailed the visiting Mavericks, 101-91, when L.A.’s Danilo Gallinari stepped to the free-throw line and hit a pair of free throws with 4:23 to play in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks never scored again, as Doc Rivers saw his squad score the game’s final 13 points and go home the winners, 104-101. And it was Gallinari again, this time hitting a pair of free throws with 24 seconds remaining, who tied the score and then put the Clippers ahead. Gallinari thus extended his streak of consecutive free throws made to 46, the second-longest current streak in the NBA. Devin Booker has connected on his last 60 free-throw attempts.
The Clippers were the third NBA team this season to win a game in which they ended the game with a run of at least 13 consecutive points, after having been trailing at the start of that spurt. The Heat scored the game’s last 13 points to win at Utah, 84-74, on November 10; and on December 16, the Spurs scored the final 13 points in a 98-96 win over the Mavericks.
Hood leads Jazz to big win in NOLA
Rodney Hood came off the bench to score 30 points as the Jazz returned to their New Orleans ancestral home and pounded the Pelicans, 133-109. It was Utah’s highest point total in a regulation-length game since they whipped the Rockets, 133-110, nearly eight years ago, on Feb. 27, 2010. Moreover, you need go back to the early years of the Reagan Administration to find Utah’s last 48-minute road victory in which it scored as many points. On April 3, 1982, Adrian Dantley scored 40 points to lead the Jazz to a 133-124 road victory over the Clippers, who were then playing their home games in San Diego.
Utah has scored at least 120 points in each of its last four games, its longest such streak since a five-game run in November 1984. The only other NBA team with a four-game streak this season is the Warriors (with streaks of four and five games).
It was the third game this season in which Hood has scored 30-plus points off the bench, the second-highest total of off-the-bench, 30-point games by any NBA player this season. (Lou Williams has done it nine times.) The last Jazz player with three games of that type within one season was Thurl Bailey, who had four such games in the 1988-89 season. In fact, between that season and the current one, only three Utah players scored 30 points coming off the bench (Andrei Kirilenko, Matt Harpring and Alec Burks, once each).
Bulls have seen this movie before
The Kings found themselves outscored by the Bulls, 28-9, in the first quarter on Monday night, but then roared back to defeat the visitors, 104-98. It marked only the ninth time in NBA history that a team managed to score 100 points in a game in which it had been held to fewer than 10 points in the opening period. Remarkably, the Bulls have been victimized twice in that manner this season. (On November 26 in Chicago, the Bulls led the Heat, 13-7, after the first quarter, but Miami came back to win, 100-93.) In no other season has the NBA as a whole seen two such games, let alone to see the same team lose two of them.
Magic weathers late-game slide, wins in Miami
The Magic led the Heat, 107-93, with eight minutes remaining in their game at Miami, only to see the home team score 16 of the next 18 points to tie the score at 109-109 with 2:53 remaining. Little did the teams know that there would be only two more points scored in the game, with those points provided on a dunk by Jonathon Simmons that gave Orlando a 111-109 victory. Orlando matched the fewest points that any NBA team has scored over the last eight minutes of the fourth quarter this season—and the two other teams that did that (the Cavaliers against the Heat on November 28 and the Mavericks against the Raptors on December 26) also won those games.
Wizards win second straight on the road
Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 21 points in their 111-102 victory in Indianapolis, with his 9-of-16 shooting contributing to Washington’s robust 54.9-percent shooting from the floor. It was the Wizards’ second consecutive win, both on the road, shooting well over 50 percent in each game; on Saturday night, Scott Brooks saw his squad hit 54.1 percent of its shots in a win at Orlando. That type of accuracy on the road has been a missing element for the Wizards this season: they own the NBA’s fourth-highest field-goal percentage in home games this season, but they stand only 16th in that category on the road.
Washington’s bench players provided an outstanding contribution to Monday night’s victory, combining for 50 points on 18-of-31 shooting (58.1 percent). It marked the first time that the Wizards saw four of its bench players reach double-figures in scoring in more than two years, since they did it in a 123-122 win at Houston on Jan. 30, 2016.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before…
The Nuggets, coming off impressive wins over the Thunder and the Warriors, made it three in a row, all at home, by dispatching the Hornets, 121-104. As has been typical over decades for most of Denver’s professional sports teams, the Nuggets have produced a wide disparity this season in their won-lost records at home (22-7) and on the road (7-18). The difference between their winning percentages at home (.759) and on the road (.280) is by far the largest for any NBA team.
McDavid scores 4 goals
Connor McDavid recorded the third hat trick of his NHL career and second this season when he scored four goals in the Oilers’ 6-2 win against the Lightning. McDavid, whose other hat trick this season came in Edmonton’s 3-0 win over the Flames on opening night, is the first Oilers player to produce multiple hat tricks in one season since Ryan Smyth had two in 2000-01. McDavid’s four-goal game was just the third in the last 25 seasons by an Oilers player. The last two four-goal games by Oilers players were produced by Alexander Selivanov at Chicago on Nov. 14, 1999 and by Sam Gagner in Edmonton’s 8-4 win over the Blackhawks on Feb. 2, 2012, in which Gagner had a hand in all eight of the Oilers’ goals (scored four and assisted four).
Leafs roll another seven
William Nylander and Auston Matthews each scored two goals for the Maple Leafs in their 7-4 win over the Ducks. In only one other game over the last two seasons did the Leafs have a pair of multiple-goal scorers. On Feb. 4, 2017, Nylander scored three goals and James van Riemsdyk two in Toronto’s 6-5 win at Boston.
Monday’s game was the fifth this season in which the Leafs scored at least seven goals, a league high. Toronto had scored seven goals or more in only three games over the previous five seasons combined.
Bishop takes care of Rangers
Ben Bishop made 31 saves to lead the Stars over the Rangers in Dallas, 2-1. Bishop’s victory lifted his career record against the Rangers to 10-2-0. Since 2011-12, when Bishop faced the Rangers for the first time, the only other goaltenders with double-digit win totals against the Blueshirts are Marc-Andre Fleury (13), Carey Price (13) and Jaroslav Halak (11).
Fiala, who scored twice on Saturday, scores twice on Monday
Kevin Fiala scored two goals for the Predators in their overtime win over the Islanders in Brooklyn on Monday, after doing the same in their victory against the Rangers in Nashville on Saturday. This is only the sixth time in the team’s 19-year history that a Predators player scored at least two goals in each of two consecutive team games in one season. The other players with back-to-back multi-goal games for Nashville were Scott Walker (Dec. 2002), Denis Arkhipov (March 2003), J. P. Dumont (Jan. 2011), James Neal (Oct. 2015) and Filip Forsberg (Feb. 2017). Forsberg did it with consecutive three-goal games.