Cowboys ride off with record-tying win
The Cowboys defeated the Vikings, 17-15, to clinch their 11th straight victory and match their longest winning streak in franchise history. Dallas had previously won 11 consecutive games spanning the end of the 1968 regular season and start of the 1969 campaign (though the Cowboys lost a postseason game amidst that stretch). Prior to this current streak, the Cowboys had never won more than eight consecutive games within a single season.
Prescott posting a season for the ages
Dak Prescott only attempted 18 passes in the Week 13 victory, but he still finished with a 108.3 rating thanks to a healthy completion percentage (66.7%) and avoiding an interception for the fifth straight game. Prescott has posted a quarterback rating over 100.0 in 10 of his 12 games this season. No other player in league history had as many as 10 games of that kind in his rookie season. Prescott had been tied with Russell Wilson, who had nine such games for the Seahawks in 2012.
Prescott began the 2016 season with 176 passes without an interception, the longest streak to begin a career in NFL history, and he hasn’t thrown a pick in his last 163 passes. No other player in league history produced a pair of streaks of 150 or more passes without an interception as a rookie.
One man to beat for Elliott
Ezekiel Elliott continued his superb rookie campaign by rushing for 86 yards, including a one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Elliott has compiled 1285 yards on the ground in his first 12 NFL games. The only player with more rushing yards through his first dozen games in the NFL was Eric Dickerson, who ran for 1406 yards through 12 games on his way to setting a rookie rushing record that still stands today (1808 yards in 1983).
Griffin succeeds at unfamiliar role
Blake Griffin scored 13 points and tied a career-high with 11 assists to lead the Clippers to a 113-94 victory over the Cavaliers in Cleveland. Thursday’s win marked just the third time in his NBA career that Griffin finished a game with at least twice as many assists as rebounds (he collected five boards versus the Cavs). Griffin also did that in wins at Houston in January 2013 (eight assists, four rebounds) and versus the Kings in April 2014 (nine assists, four rebounds).
Griffin dished out five assists in the second quarter alone on Thursday without tallying any points or rebounds, marking the first time in his career that he dished out that many assists in a quarter while failing to record a single point or rebound.
LeBron finally loses at home to Clippers
Prior to Thursday’s contest, LeBron James had never lost to the Clippers at home in his career, having won all 12 games (nine with Cleveland and three with Miami). With Los Angeles now off the list, the only team James has never lost to at home is Cleveland - he went 7-0 at home versus the Cavs while playing for Miami.
Rockets outlast Warriors in three-point contest
The Rockets and Warriors each attempted 44 three-pointers in Houston’s double-overtime victory over Golden State on Thursday night. The 88 combined three-point attempts established a new high for most threes attempted in a NBA game. The previous record had stood for just six days - on November 25, the Rockets (50) and Kings (32) combined to attempt 82 three-pointers.
Of those 88 three-point attempts in Thursday’s game, 26 were successful, putting Houston and Golden State second on the list of most threes made… on December 1, 2016. That’s right - despite the record-setting barrage of three-point attempts in Oakland, the Rockets and Warriors’ combined total of threes that actually connected was not the highest of the day! That honor belongs to the Bucks and Nets, who converted 27 shots from behind the arc on Thursday - 15 by Milwaukee, 12 by Brooklyn.
Antetonkounmpo doing it all for Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo helped the Bucks extend their winning streak to three games as Milwaukee defeated the Nets, 111-93, in Brooklyn. Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 23 points, eight assists, and four steals, while his eight rebounds tied John Henson for the team-high. And, even more impressive, the “Greek Freak” racked up all of those numbers despite sitting out the fourth quarter. Since steals were first tracked in 1973-74, no other Bucks player has had a game in which he met each of those four statistical plateaus while playing 30 minutes or fewer.
The last NBA player to post that many points, rebounds, assists, and steals in a game while playing 30 minutes or fewer was Paul Pierce on Feb. 2, 2005 in Boston. Pierce totaled 28 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and four steals in 30 minutes, and, like Antetokounmpo on Thursday, he did so against the Nets.
Gasol’s hot shooting is front and center for Grizzlies
Marc Gasol sank two foul shots with 12.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to put the Grizzlies ahead to stay in their 95-94 victory over the Magic. Gasol finished the game with a team-high 25 points for Memphis, shooting 7-for-7 from the free-throw line while also connecting on two of three shots from three-point range. Thursday’s game marked the fourth in a row for Gasol in which he was perfect from the charity stripe and made at least half of his three-point attempts. Since the three-point line was first introduced in the NBA in 1979-80, no starting center prior to Gasol had ever compiled a streak of four consecutive games with a three-point percentage of 50 percent or better and a 100% free-throw percentage.
Dragic silences Jazz in fourth quarter
Goran Dragic scored 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to help the Heat edge the Jazz, 111-110, in Salt Lake City. Only one Heat player in the last 10 seasons scored more points in the fourth quarter of a one-point victory for Miami. On Nov. 25, 2009, Dwyane Wade totaled 16 points in the fourth quarter of a 99-98 Heat win in Orlando.
Hornets hold off Mavericks
The Hornets stymied a fourth-quarter rally by the Mavericks and went on to defeat Dallas, 97-87, in Charlotte. The Hornets and Mavericks have squared off 52 times since Charlotte’s inaugural season of 1988-89, and Thursday’s game marked just the second of those games in which Charlotte finished victorious despite scoring fewer than 100 points. The first such game took place on Jan. 24, 1998, which the Hornets won, 94-92, in Dallas.
Three-pointers for Crosby means good things for Penguins
Sidney Crosby scored one goal and set up two more in the Penguins’ 6-2 win against the Stars in Pittsburgh. Three points (or more) in a game for Crosby has pretty much meant a guaranteed victory for the Penguins since he joined the team in October 2005. Pittsburgh has a 106-6-1 record in regular-season games in which Crosby produced at least three points, and the Penguins are 52-1-0 in his last 53 such games.
Hossa not too old to score OT winners
Marian Hossa’s third overtime goal of the season gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 victory against the Devils. The 37-year-old Hossa (he turns 38 on January 12) is the first player in NHL history to score three overtime goals in one season at age 37 or older. Hossa’s career total of 15 regular-season overtime goals ranks him third among active NHL players, behind Jaromir Jagr (19) and Alex Ovechkin (18).
Zajac nets all three goals for Devils
Travis Zajac notched the second hat trick of his NHL career when he scored all three goals for the Devils in their overtime loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago. Zajac is the first Devils player to register a hat trick in a game in which he scored all of the team’s goals since Scott Gomez did that in a 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs at the Meadowlands on New Year’s Eve 2005. Gomez was also the only player in franchise history before Zajac to do that in a road game. He scored all of New Jersey’s goals in a 3-3 tie versus the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 26, 1999.
Pair of clutch goals for Eichel
Jack Eichel scored the tying goal and the go-ahead goal in the third period for the Buffalo Sabres as they overcame a 3-2 deficit and beat the Rangers, 4-3. This was only the second time in the last 23 seasons that a Sabres player scored the final two goals of the third period to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal regulation-time victory. Drew Stafford did that for Buffalo in its 3-2 victory against the Bruins on Dec. 15, 2010. Before Eichel, the last player on any NHL team to pull off that feat was Jonathan Toews, and he did it for the Blackhawks against the Sabres in Buffalo on April 3, 2015.
Halak posts 40th shutout
Jaroslav Halak of the Islanders recorded his first shutout of the season and the 40th shutout of his NHL career with a 3-0 win at Washington on Thursday. Halak is one of six active NHL goaltenders who has reached the 40-shutout plateau; the others are Roberto Luongo (72), Henrik Lundqvist (60), Marc-Andre Fleury (43), Jonathan Quick (42) and Pekka Rinne (41). This was Halak’s first shutout against the Capitals, the team he played 12 games for in the 2013-14 season and which then traded him to the Islanders during the following offseason. He’s only the second former Washington goaltender to post a shutout against the Capitals. Byron Dafoe was the first, with clean sheets for Boston in 1997 and 2001 against the team he made his NHL debut for in the 1992-93 season.
Giroux wins it for Flyers in extra time
Claude Giroux’s second goal of the game was the overtime tally which earned the Flyers a 3-2 win against the Senators in Ottawa. It was Giroux’s first overtime goal this season and the eighth regular-season OT goal of his NHL career. Giroux did not score his first overtime goal until December 2011, when he was in his fifth season in the league. Giroux’s eight overtime goals since the start of 2011-12 season tie him with Alex Ovechkin for the NHL high over that span.
Bruins steal two points after late equalizer
The Bruins were less than a minute away from suffering a shutout loss to the Hurricanes, but David Backes' goal at the 19:28 mark of the third period tied the score at 1-1 and Boston went on to beat Carolina in a shootout, 2-1. The only other Bruins game over the last 30 seasons in which they earned even one point despite trailing and being shut out entering the last minute of the third period was their 2-1 shootout loss to the Canadiens on Nov. 5, 2009. Patrice Bergeron scored the last-minute tying goal for Boston in that game.
Luongo dominates in Detroit
Roberto Luongo gave up a goal in the first two minutes but nothing after that as he recorded a 2-1 overtime win for the Florida Panthers in their final game at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, which will close next year. Luongo has a 10-5-3 record in his 18 regular-season games against the Red Wings at “the Joe” and he’s won all four of his games there since he began his second tour of duty with Florida in March 2014. Luongo is the active leader in regular-season wins by a visiting goaltender at Joe Louis Arena and he ranks fourth all-time in that category, behind Ed Belfour (14), Don Beaupre (13) and Mike Liut (12).
Big nights for Tarasenko and Shattenkirk in St. Louis
Vladimir Tarasenko tallied three goals and one assist and Kevin Shattenkirk registered two goals and two assists to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 5-4 win over the Lightning. This was the first game in which two Blues players each produced at least two goals and four points since Nov. 10, 1998, when Pavol Demitra racked up five points (two goals, three assists) and Pierre Turgeon got four (three goals, one assist) in a 5-2 win versus the Blackhawks.
Two goals for two Oilers
Mark Letestu and Leon Draisaitl each scored two goals for the Edmonton Oilers in their 6-3 victory against the Jets in Winnipeg. This was the first Oilers road game in which they had a pair of multiple-goal scorers since April 26, 2013, when Nail Yakupov and Corey Potter each tallied twice in a 6-1 win at Minnesota. Before Thursday, the last time two Edmonton players each scored at least two goals in a game at Winnipeg was on Nov. 6, 1992, when Petr Klima and Bernie Nicholls both scored twice in a 6-1 victory over the original Jets club.