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Elias Says: March 14, 2018

Westbrook records triple-double #100

Russell Westbrook notched a triple-double against the Hawks on Tuesday to become the fourth player in NBA history to reach 100 triple-doubles. The Mount Rushmore of triple-doubledom also includes Oscar Robertson (181), Magic Johnson (138), and Jason Kidd (107). The “Big O” needed just 277 games to reach the century-mark in triple-doubles. Johnson hit number 100 in 656 games, while Westbrook did so in 736 games and Kidd in 1026.

Westbrook led all players on both sides on Tuesday with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists, marking the 32nd time in his career that he finished a game as the outright leader in points, rebounds, and assists. The only player in NBA history with more games of that kind is Wilt Chamberlain, who outright led all players in points, rebounds, and assists in 33 regular-season games.

Of his 100 triple-doubles, Westbrook has had more with 50-plus points (three) than those with 10 points (one). His “average” triple-double based on his totals in triple-doubles alone is 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists. He’s duplicated the same statline in a triple-double four times (listed here in order of points-rebounds-assists): 12–13–13, 13–10–14, 27–10–10, and 29–12–12.

Simmons makes some triple-double news of his own

Ben Simmons posted his seventh triple-double of the season on Tuesday against the Pacers, scoring 10 points while leading the 76ers with 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Simmons is now tied with Magic Johnson for the second-most triple-doubles by a player in his rookie season, trailing only Oscar Robertson, who had 26 triple-doubles as a rookie for the 1960–61 Cincinnati Royals. Robertson and Johnson are also the only two players to accumulate at least 1000 points, 500 rebounds, and 500 assists in their rookie seasons, a list Simmons would join if he records five more assists before the end of the season.

And LeBron makes three

LeBron James also got in on the triple-double fun, posting 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists in the Cavaliers’ 22-point win over the Suns. Tuesday marked the fifth day this season in which there were three triple-doubles recorded across the league; there were also three such games on December 9, January 26, February 14, and February 23. It was also the 13th time that James and Westbrook produced a triple-double on the same day. No other pair of players in NBA history has accomplished that feat on even half as many days.

Haven’t we seen this before?

Karl-Anthony Towns poured in a season-high 37 points to lead the Timberwolves to victory over the Wizards. It was déjà vu all over again for Towns, who victimized Washington in a similar fashion exactly one year ago to the day, scoring 39 points on March 13, 2017. The last player before Towns to score 35 or more points in a game against a particular opponent on the same calendar date in back-to-back seasons was Dwyane Wade, who scored 41 points against the Nets on Dec. 20, 2007 and celebrated the anniversary of that contest with a 43-point performance against New Jersey. Towns is the only player to achieve that feat for the Timberwolves.

Raptors strike in second half versus Nets

The Raptors erased a 15-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Nets, 116–102. The 14-point margin of victory for Toronto was the second-largest by any team this season in a game in which it trailed by at least 15 points at some point after halftime. On Feb. 6, 2018, the Magic defeated the Cavaliers by 18 points after climbing out of an 18-point hole in the third quarter.

Russell’s big night goes for naught

The Raptors’ second-half comeback overshadowed a huge scoring night by D’Angelo Russell, who made seven three-pointers in the first quarter and finished the period with 24 points. That was the most points scored by a Nets player in the first quarter of a game since Vince Carter scored 24 in the first for New Jersey on April 9, 2005 versus the Celtics. Russell, who finished with 32 points, has scored 25 or more points in seven games this season, and the Nets have lost all seven of those contests. The individual record for most 25-point games in a season without notching a win in any of those games is 13, done by Antoine Walker as a rookie for the 1996–97 Celtics.

AD stuffs boxscore

Anthony Davis produced game-high totals of 31 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks, helping the Pelicans defeat the Hornets in New Orleans. Tuesday’s game marked the fourth time this season that Davis scored at least 30 points, grabbed 10 or more rebounds, and blocked five or more shots in the same game. The last time a player had at least four games of that kind in a single season was the 2000–01 campaign, when Shaquille O’Neal (five such games) did so.

Jazz hands Pistons another loss

The Jazz rode a hot-shooting first quarter to a blowout win over the Pistons. Utah outscored Detroit 42 to 21 in the first quarter, with the Jazz connecting on 17 of its 21 field-goal attempts, good for 81 percent. That was Utah’s highest field-goal percentage for a quarter this season and the team’s best for a first quarter over the past eight seasons. Tuesday’s game also marked the first time since Jan. 27, 2010 that the Jazz outscored its opponent by more than 20 points in the first quarter; Utah led Portland 37–16 after the first 12 minutes of that game.

Saving their best work for Broadway

Harrison Barnes scored a team-high 30 points to lead the Mavericks to victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Barnes’s 30-point performance marked the 13th time this season that a visiting player scored 30 or more points against the Knicks at MSG. No other team has allowed as many players to score 30 points on its home floor this season; there have been 16 instances of 30-point games by players visiting Staples Center this season, but those contests were split nearly evenly between the Clippers (nine) and Lakers (seven).

Big numbers for Lakers forwards

Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle both posted 26 points and 13 rebounds on Tuesday, helping the Lakers complete a comeback win over the Nuggets. The last Lakers duo to produce at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in the same game was Antawn Jamison (33 points, 12 rebounds) and Dwight Howard (28 points, 20 rebounds) on Nov. 30, 2012, which was also a win at home over the Nuggets.

Pastrnak keys late rally for Bruins

David Pastrnak tallied three of the five unanswered goals the Bruins scored in the final ten minutes of the third period which enabled them to overcome a 4–1 deficit and beat the Hurricanes, 6–4, in Raleigh. Excluding a shootout victory against the Islanders in October 2009, this was the first time that the Bruins won a regular-season game in which they trailed by three goals in the third period since their 6–5 win at Ottawa on April 20, 1995. Of course the Bruins overcame a three-goal deficit in the third period in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series against the Maple Leafs in 2013, winning in overtime on a goal by Patrice Bergeron.

Pastrnak’s third-period hat trick marked only the second time in the last 12 seasons that a Bruins player scored three goals in one period of a game. The only other player to do that for Boston since 2006–07 did so exactly one year before Pastrnak: Brad Marchand in the Bruins’ win at Vancouver on March 13, 2017.

Marchand nets 30 yet again

Brad Marchand reached the 30-goal mark for the third consecutive season when he scored the first goal in the Bruins’ comeback win at Carolina. Marchand, who tallied 37 goals for Boston in 2015–16 and 39 goals last season, is the first player to register three consecutive seasons with 30 or more goals for the Bruins since Glen Murray did so from 2001–02 through 2003–04.

Miller notches his first three-goal game

J.T. Miller recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career when he scored three goals for the Lightning in its 7–4 loss to the Senators on Tuesday. Miller, who was traded to Tampa Bay by the Rangers last month, is only the second player ever to produce a hat trick for the Lightning after playing for another NHL team earlier in the same season. The other player to do that for Tampa Bay was also acquired from the Rangers: Zdeno Ciger, whose three-goal game for the Lightning in January 2002 was the only hat trick of his NHL career.

Hoffman helps Senators shut down Lightning

Mike Hoffman reached the 20-goal plateau for the fourth consecutive season when he scored the first of his two goals for the Ottawa Senators in a 7–4 win over their Atlantic Division rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was the 16th multiple-goal game of Hoffman’s NHL and Senators career but only his second multi-goal performance in an intradivision game. His other multiple-goal game against an Atlantic Division team was a three-goal hat trick versus Buffalo on Nov. 29, 2016. Hoffman has scored only 23 goals in his 121 career intradivision games in the NHL. He’s scored 83 goals in 208 games against teams from outside his own division.

Predators strike twice while shorthanded

Austin Watson and Viktor Arvidson scored shorthanded goals 34 seconds apart for the Predators in the first period of their 3–1 win over the Jets. That’s a Nashville team record for fastest two shorthanded goals in one game. Only twice before had one team scored a pair of shorthanded goals less than a minute apart in an NHL game this season. The Islanders did that on October 7 versus Buffalo (John Tavares and Casey Cizikas, 50 seconds) and the Sharks did so on November 11 against Vancouver (both by Chris Tierney, 26 seconds).

Young Coyotes goalie notches first win

Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill recorded his first NHL win with a 4–3 victory against the Kings in Arizona. At age 21 years, 306 days, Hill is the second-youngest goaltender ever to win a game for the Jets/Coyotes franchise. Daniel Berthiaume was 20 years old when he beat the Nordiques in Quebec while making his NHL debut with the original Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 4, 1986. Hill is the first goaltender on any NHL team to win a game at age 21 or younger this season. The only goaltenders to do that last season were Nashville’s Juuse Saros (10 times) and Winnipeg’s Eric Comrie (once).

When it rains it pours for Lehkonen

Artturi Lehkonen scored a pair of goals for the Canadiens as they ended their five-game winless streak with a 4–2 victory against the Stars in Montreal. Lehkonen has scored only eight goals in the 54 games he’s played for the Canadiens this season but he’s produced more two-goal games (3) than one-goal games (2). He’s the only NHL player with at least three multi-goal games and fewer than ten total goals scored this season.

Smith shuts out Oilers

Flames goaltender Mike Smith posted his third shutout of the season with a 1–0 win against the Oilers in Calgary. This is only the third time that the Flames recorded a 1–0 victory against their Alberta rival. Their other 1–0 wins versus Edmonton were also recorded in Calgary, on Oct. 3, 2001 (a shutout for Roman Turek in his Flames debut) and Oct. 14, 2003 (a clean sheet by Jamie McLennan).

Another Avs rookie lights lamp twice

Rookie J.T. Compher recorded his first multiple-goal game in the NHL by scoring twice for the Colorado Avalanche in its 5–1 win at Minnesota. Compher is the second rookie to register a multi-goal game for the Avs this season, joining Alexander Kerfoot, who’s done it twice (Oct. 19 vs. St. Louis, Nov. 5 at Islanders). This is the first season in which the Avs have had more than one rookie produce a multiple-goal game for them since 2009–10, when three rookies did so: Matt Duchene (6), Brandon Yip (3) and Ryan O’Reilly (2).