Elias Says: March 2, 2018

Randle has a big first half

Julius Randle scored 21 points in the first half of the Lakers’ win over the Heat on Thursday, falling just one point short of his career high for points in a half (22 in the first half on March 15, 2017 at Houston). Randle is the fifth Lakers player to score at least 20 points in a half this season, joining Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (two such halves), Kyle Kuzma (two), Lonzo Ball (one), and Brook Lopez (one). Only two teams have had more than five different players with a 20-point half in the 2017-18 campaign: the Bulls and the Heat, with six each.

Ball with nine steals over last two games

Lonzo Ball had six steals in the Lakers’ victory on Thursday night, tying the most for a rookie in a game this season (Frank Ntilikina and Ben Simmons each had a game with six). The only other Lakers rookie over the last 20 years with at least six steals in a game was Larry Nance Jr. on January 14, 2016 at Golden State (six steals).

Ball has nine steals over his last two games (three on February 26). That marks the second time he has had at least nine steals over a two-game span, also doing so on January 9 and 11. Prior to Ball, it had been nearly three years since a rookie had that many steals over two games; Nerlens Noel did so in March 2015 (11 over two games).

Thomas has a run reminiscent of Bryant’s final NBA game

Isaiah Thomas scored 16 consecutive points for the Lakers spanning the third and fourth quarters in their win over the Heat. It had been nearly two years since a Lakers player had such a streak of this length. In his final game in the NBA, Kobe Bryant scored 17 straight team points and totaled 60 points overall in a Lakers’ win on April 13, 2016.

76ers end long losing streak versus Cavs

JJ Redick led the 76ers with 22 points as Philadelphia put an end to its 11 game losing streak against the Cavaliers, coming out on top, 108-97. Entering Thursday, that was the 76ers’ second longest active losing streak against a particular team (behind their 18-game losing streak to the Thunder) and it was the longest current winning streak for the Cavs versus one team.

Thursday night’s loss was the Cavs’ sixth game this season in which they never led at any point. That is the most losses of this type for Cleveland in one season since LeBron James re-joined the team prior to the 2014-15 campaign. The Cavaliers did not have any such losses in the 2014-15 season, then had three in 2015-16, and four last season.

Fox sends it to OT

Kings rookie De’Aaron Fox hit a game-tying field goal at the buzzer to send the game to overtime in an eventual Sacramento win over the Nets. That marked the second time this season that Fox hit a game-tying or go-ahead field goal in the last five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime; he hit a game-winning shot on January 25 at Miami. The last rookie with two-or-more field goals of this type in a season was Bradley Beal in the 2012-13 season (with two).

Lillard cannot be stopped

Damian Lillard led all players with 35 points in the Blazers’ 108-99 win over the Timberwolves. Lillard has averaged 36.9 points over his last seven games, the highest points average over a seven game span for a Trail Blazer in franchise history. The previous high for the team was 35.6 by Geoff Petrie in February 1971 in Portland’s inaugural season.

Action-packed first period in Boston

The Bruins outscored the Penguins 5–3 in the first period of their game in Boston on Thursday. It was the second time this season that the Bruins put up a five spot in the first period of a game, having previously done that in their 7–1 win against the Hurricanes on January 6 (when Boston outscored Carolina 5–1 in the opening period). Before this season, the Bruins had not produced a five-goal first period since the 1993–94 season, when they also did it twice. The eight goals that the Bruins and Penguins combined for in the first period were the most in the first 20 minutes of an NHL game since March 28, 2013, when the Coyotes outscored the Predators 6–3 in the first period of a game in Nashville.

Nash with 13 seasons of 20+ goals

Rick Nash reached the 20-goal mark for the 13th time in his 15 seasons in the NHL when he scored the third goal for the Bruins in their 8-4 win against the Penguins. Nash’s 13 seasons with 20 goals or more tie him with Alex Ovechkin for third most among current NHL players, behind Marian Hossa (15) and Patrick Marleau (15). Hossa has spent the entire 2017–18 season on the injured reserve list.

May your hats fly

David Krejci recorded the fourth regular-season hat trick of his NHL career (and first since March 2014) when he scored three goals for the Bruins in their 8-4 win over the Penguins in Boston. All four of Krejci’s hat tricks have been for the Bruins at TD Garden. He is tied with Jason Allison for the most regular-season hat tricks in that building, which opened in 1995.

Predators storm back again

Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals for the Predators as they overcame a 2–0 deficit to beat the Oilers in Edmonton, 4–2, on Thursday. Two days earlier, Nashville defeated the Jets in Winnipeg by a 6–5 score, a game in which the Predators erased a pair of two-goal deficits. This is only the second time in the Predators’ 19 seasons in the NHL that they won consecutive games while overcoming a two-goal deficit in each game. They also did that in their final two games of the 2013–14 season: April 12 vs. Chicago (7–5) and April 13 at Minnesota (7–3). The only NHL team besides Nashville to win two straight games in that manner this season is the Vegas Golden Knights (Dec. 17–19).

Sharks feast on competition in 2018

The Sharks scored seven goals, including two by Joe Pavelski, in their rout of the Blackhawks. San Jose has scored at least five goals in 13 games this season, with eight such games coming since the calendar turned to 2018. Since January 1, only three other teams have had as many games with five-or-more goals: the Penguins (12), Bruins (eight, including Thursday night), and Golden Knights (eight).

Pavelski has recorded at least one point in each of his last nine games versus the Blackhawks, the longest current streak for one player versus Chicago. The last player with a streak of at least nine games against the Blackhawks was Jason Spezza, with an 11-game run from March 2012 to March 2016.

Offense from the defense

Defenseman Christian Folin assisted on three Kings’ goals in their 5-2 triumph over the Blue Jackets. Folin is the fourth Los Angeles defenseman with three points in a game this season, joining Drew Doughty, Derek Forbort, and Jake Muzzin. No other team has had four different defensemen with at least three points in a game in the 2017-18 campaign.

Williams nets two against old team

Former Flyer Justin Williams scored two goals for the Hurricanes in their 4–1 win at Philadelphia. It was the first two-goal game this season for Williams, who at age 36 is the oldest player to record a multiple-goal game for Carolina since April 6, 2010, when a 39-year-old Rod Brind’Amour scored a pair of goals for the Hurricanes against the Lightning in Tampa. Williams is the second ex-Flyer to score more than once in a game against Philadelphia this season. Scott Hartnell did that with two goals for Nashville on October 10.

Barkov buries the game-winner

Aleksander Barkov scored two goals, including the game-winner, in the Florida Panthers’ 3–2 victory over the Devils. It was the 20th game-winning goal for Barkov in his five seasons in the NHL. The 22-year-old Barkov is the youngest current NHL player with 20 or more career game-winning goals. He holds that distinction by an extremely slim margin, having been born one day later (Sept. 2, 1995) than Nathan MacKinnon (Sept. 1, 1995), who has scored 26 game-winners.

Cirelli gets a pair of points in debut

Anthony Cirelli, who was making his NHL debut, scored one goal and assisted on another for the Lightning in its 5–4 overtime win at Dallas. Cirelli is the fourth player to record more than one point in the first game of his NHL career while playing for Tampa Bay. The others are Karel Betik (two assists on Feb. 15, 1999 at Islanders), Paul Mara (one goal, one assist on April 17, 1999 at Florida) and Cory Conacher (one goal, one assist on Jan. 19, 2013 vs. Washington).

Domi notches fourth three-point game

Max Domi tied his career high for points in one game when he tallied three assists for the Coyotes in their 5–3 win against the Wild. It was the fourth time that Domi recorded three points in a game during his three seasons in the NHL and the first time since November 2016. Max’s father, Tie, had only one three-point game in his 16-season NHL career.