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Elias Says: March 1, 2018

Team scoring average in February was the highest since April 1990

It was a February to remember in the NBA, as teams scored, on average, 108.4 points per game, the highest in a calendar month since averaging 109.1 points in April 1990. Five teams averaged at least 115 points per game in February (Nuggets, Warriors, Pelicans, Raptors, and Timberwolves); the last time that happened in a calendar month was also in April 1990 (five teams).

Anthony Davis led all players with 35.0 points per game in February. Over the last 10 years, only two others sported that high of an average in a calendar month (minimum 10 games played): Kevin Durant (35.9 in January 2014) and Stephen Curry (36.7 in February 2016).

Another day, another huge game from Davis as Pelicans win again

Anthony Davis scored 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as the Pelicans’ winning streak reached seven games with a 121-116 victory over the Spurs. Davis has averaged 39.3 points and 15.0 rebounds over the Pelicans’ current winning streak. The last player to average 35.0 points and 15.0 rebounds over a seven-game span, all wins for his team, was Moses Malone for the Rockets, spanning games in January and February 1982 (40.0 PPG, 18.9 RPG).

Rockets’ winning streak up to 14

Three players scored at least 20 points for the Rockets (James Harden with 25, Eric Gordon 22, and Clint Capela 22) as they defeated the Clippers, 105-92, to extend their winning streak to 14 games. Houston also had a 14-game winning streak earlier this season, from November 16 to December 18. The Rockets are the sixth team in NBA history with two separate winning streaks of at least 14 games in a season, joining the 1946-47 Capitols, 1970-71 Bucks, 1996-97 Jazz, 1999-00 Lakers, and 2006-07 Suns (It is also worth noting that the 1971-72 Lakers won an NBA record 33 consecutive games).

Drummond with another strong performance to finish off February

Andre Drummond scored 15 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in the Pistons’ 110-87 rout of the Bucks on Wednesday night. Drummond has averaged 16.3 points and 17.7 rebounds over 12 games in the month of February, marking the sixth time he has averaged at least 15 points and 15 rebounds per game in a calendar month (minimum 10 games played). Over the last 40 seasons (since 1978-79), the only other player with that many calendar months of this variety was Moses Malone, with 12 in that span.

Drummond has averaged at least 15 points and 15 rebounds per game in two other calendar months this season, doing so in November (15.5 PPG, 15.8 RPG) and January (16.5 PPG, 15.7 RPG).

Irving quickly racks up the points; Celtics’ offense is on fire in victory

Kyrie Irving scored 34 points while playing just 24:35 in the Celtics’ 134-106 triumph over the Hornets. Over the last 25 years, only three other players scored that many points while playing no more than 25 minutes in a game: the Magic’s Tracy McGrady on January 26, 2004 at Cleveland (36 points, 25:00), the Bulls’ Ben Gordon on March 30, 2005 at Charlotte (35 points, 23:00), and the Mavs’ Austin Croshere on January 30, 2007 versus the Sonics (34 points, 23:44).

The Celtics made 62.1 percent of their field goal attempts, 60 percent of their three-point attempts, and 93.3 percent of their free throw attempts on Wednesday. Since the introduction of the three-point line in the 1979-80 season, only two other teams made at least 60 percent of their field goal attempts, 60 percent of their three-point attempts (minimum 15 attempts from beyond the arc), and 90 percent of their free throw attempts in a game. The Mavs did so on April 5, 2009 against the Suns and the Spurs accomplished that feat on April 20, 2012 versus the Lakers.

Westbrook wins it with clutch free throw

Russell Westbrook scored 30 points, including seven in the overtime period, in a 111-110 Thunder win over the Mavericks. Westbrook’s final three points came on a three-point play with 38 seconds remaining in OT; he sank a free throw that put Oklahoma City ahead for good. That marked the fifth time in Westbrook’s career that he hit a game-winning free throw in the final minute of the game. He had done this twice previously this season alone, on December 9 at Memphis and December 18 versus the Nuggets.

One losing streak had to end

The Suns and Grizzlies had each lost 10 consecutive games entering their matchup on Wednesday night, marking the sixth time in NBA history that both teams entered a game on a losing streak of at least 10 games. The most recent prior instance occurred on January 20, 1998, when the Grizzlies, on a 13-game losing streak, defeated the Nuggets, who had lost 20 in a row entering that game. Led by Devin Booker’s 34 points, Phoenix came out on top, 110-102, on Wednesday to extend Memphis’s losing streak to 11 games.

The Grizzlies finished the month of February with a 0-10 record while being outscored by 14.0 points per game. The last team to finish 0-10 or worse in a calendar month with an average margin of defeat of 14 or more points per game was the 76ers in November 2014 (0-14, 15.4).

Warriors dominate against Eastern Conference

Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Stephen Curry added 25 of his own in the Warriors’ 109-101 victory over the Wizards. Golden State has won 16 of its last 17 games versus Eastern Conference teams, dating back to November 18. Over the last 10 seasons (since 2008-09), only two other teams won at least 16 interconference games in a 17-game span within one season: the 2008-09 Cavaliers (16-1 vs. West) and 2015-16 Warriors (16-1 vs. East).

Flurry of points in opening quarter

The Raptors and Magic each stormed out of the gate in the first quarter on Wednesday night, with Toronto scoring 42 points to Orlando’s 37 in the opening quarter of an eventual Raptors’ win. There have been only three other games this season that featured at least 79 combined first-quarter points and two of those instances also occurred in February. The Rockets and Lakers scored 81 in the opening quarter on December 31, the Hornets and Pacers had 86 on February 2, and the Pelicans and Lakers totaled 79 on February 14.

Since the 2000-01 season, the Raptors had only one other 40-point first quarter, when they scored 42 on April 13, 2014 at Detroit.

Hawks finding more success in close games as of late

John Collins led the Hawks with 16 points in their 107-102 win over the Pacers. Atlanta started the season having lost 11 of its first 13 games decided by five-or-fewer points. The team has fared much better since then, going 6-2 over its last eight games of this type, dating back to January 15.

MacKinnon reaches 70 points in 55 games

Nathan MacKinnon garnered two points on Wednesday night during Colorado’s 5-2 win over the Flames. That pushed MacKinnon’s point total over the 70-point mark in just his 55th game of the season. The only other players over the last five seasons to compile 70 points in as few games as MacKinnon are Patrick Kane (49 games in 2015-16) and Sidney Crosby (51 games in 2013-14). Both players won the Art Ross and Hart Trophies in those respective seasons.

Pominville wins it in OT

Jason Pominville’s power play goal in overtime earned the Buffalo Sabres a 2–1 victory against the Lightning in Tampa. It was Pominville’s fifth overtime goal in his NHL career, with the others coming from 2009 to 2012 during his first tour of duty with the Sabres. He is tied with Daniel Briere for the third-most regular-season overtime goals in Sabres history, behind Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy, who each scored six OT goals for Buffalo.

Red Wings in another low-scoring affair

The Blues beat the Red Wings, 2-1, on Wednesday night, perpetuating a recent trend. It is the ninth game in a row that Detroit and its opponent have combined to score no more than five goals. That matches the longest such streak in the NHL this season, set by…..the Blues, from December 10-27.

Markstrom pulled after Rangers score three quick goals

The Rangers came out on the other side of the trade deadline wasting no time as they scored three goals over the first 12:29 of their game with Vancouver on Wednesday night, thereby chasing opposing starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom from the crease. It is the third time over the team’s last 20 games that New York has forced its opponent to make an in-game goalie change, having done so twice against the Flyers – against Brian Elliott on January 16 and Michal Neuvirth on February 18. The Rangers did not chase an opposing starting goaltender in any of their first 44 games of the season.

Drouin gets two points in Canadiens’ win

Jonathan Drouin scored the game-winning goal and recorded an assist in the Canadiens’ 3–1 win against the Islanders. It was Drouin’s sixth multiple-point game this season (but only the second in his last 35 games), which ties him with Brendan Gallagher for second most on the Montreal team, behind Max Pacioretty with seven multi-point games.