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Elias Says: Dec. 11, 2016

Harden: one rebound shy of a triple-double again

• For the second day in a row James Harden, who finished with 18 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds in the Rockets’ win, was one rebound shy of a triple-double. Harden scored 21 points with 12 assists and nine rebounds on Friday night against the Thunder. Harden is the fifth player in NBA history to miss a triple-double by one rebound on back-to-back days. The others to do this were Walt Frazier (1969), Magic Johnson (1985), Jason Kidd (2000) and Baron Davis (2006).

44/10 for James

LeBron James scored 44 points and handed out 10 assists in the Cavalier’s win over the Hornets. It was the ninth 40/10 game of James’s NBA career (points/assists), the most for any active player and the same total that Michael Jordan had in his NBA career.

Another 20/10 game for Wall

John Wall scored 24 points and handed out 11 assists in the Wizards’ win over the Bucks. It was the sixth time this season that Wall had at least 20 points and 10 assists in game, tying him with LeBron James for the third-most such games in the NBA this season, behind James Harden (15) and Russell Westbrook (13).

Big game for Giannis

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28, grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out seven assists in a losing effort for the Bucks. Antetokounmpo is only the second Bucks player with that many points, rebounds and assists in a game over the last 20 seasons. Ray Allen scored 28 points with 13 rebounds and eight assists in a win over the Warriors on February 2, 2002.

George carries the Pacers

Paul George scored 15 consecutive Pacers points in the fourth quarter in their win over the Trail Blazers on Friday night. It’s the third time in his career that George scored 15 consecutive points by his team. George scored 15 consecutive Pacers points on December 2, 2013 at Portland and 21 in a row on January 2, 2016 versus Detroit.

McCollum and Lillard score 30+ points each

• The Trail Blazers lost to the Pacers on Saturday night despite their starting backcourt duo of C.J. McCollum (34) points and Damian Lillard (33) each scoring at least 30 points in the game. It’s the third time this season that both McCollum and Lillard each scored 30 points in the same game, no other pair of teammates has done that more than once this season.

Butler nails them from the line

Jimmy Butler, who scored 31 points, went 15-for-16 form the free-throw line in the Bulls win over the Heat (94%). It’s the second time in his career that Butler took at least 16 shots from the charity stripe and made at least 90 percent of them; he went 18-for-20 against the Nuggets on November 25, 2014. The last player to have more than one game like that in a Bulls uniform was Michael Jordan. Jordan had 15 games for the Bulls in which he took at least 16 free throws and made at least 90 percent of them.

Gobert is cleaning the glass and chipping in some points

Rudy Gobert scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Utah’s win over the Kings. Gobert has scored 147 points and grabbed 134 rebounds over the last 10 games. The last Utah player with at least 147 points and 134 rebounds over a 10-game span was Carlos Boozer in 2009-10 (215 points, 135 rebounds).

The Spurs own the Nets (and others) at home

Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points in the Spurs’ win over the Nets. The Spurs have won their last 14 home games against the Nets, matching the fourth-longest current home winning streak for one NBA team against another. The Spurs own two of the three longer current streaks with 18 straight home wins against the Hawks and 17 in a row against the Wizards.

Grizzlies maul Warriors

• The Grizzlies opened up a 30-point lead over the Warriors and coasted to a win on Saturday night. It was the Grizzlies’ largest lead in a game since they led by 40 points in a game against the Pelicans on April 8, 2015. The last time the Warriors trailed by 30 or more points in a game was on February 19, 2016 at Portland, a game in which they trailed by as many as 38 points.

The Habs are a perfect 10

• Montreal’s 10–1 victory against Colorado was the 53rd time that the Canadiens scored 10 goals or more in a regular-season game (by far the most of any NHL team; Toronto is second with 35 such games), but it was the first time since 1990 when they did it twice in an 11-day span (10–1 vs. Vancouver on Feb. 14 and 11–1 vs. Pittsburgh on Feb. 24). Before this just-ended drought of more than 26 years between 10-goal games, the Canadiens’ longest span without scoring 10 goals in a game was a little over 10-and-a-half years, from March 1932 (a 10–4 win vs. the New York Americans) to November 1942 (a 10–4 win vs. the Rangers).

Crosby is the first to 20 goals

Sidney Crosby became the first NHL player to reach the 20-goal mark this season when he scored the second of his two goals in the Penguins’ 4-3 win in Tampa on Saturday. This is the first time that Crosby has been “first to 20” in any of his 12 seasons in the NHL, and it’s the first time that a Pittsburgh player has earned that distinction since 1999–2000, when Jaromir Jagr was the man. Crosby hit the 20-goal mark this season in his 22nd game. That’s at least five games quicker than he did it in any previous season (27 games in 2010–11). He’s the first NHL player to reach the 20-goal plateau in so few games since Alex Ovechkin got his 20th goal in his 22nd game in 2013–14.

Pacioretty scores four goals

Max Pacioretty scored four goals in a game for the first time in his NHL career when the Montreal Canadiens routed the Avalanche, 10–1, on Saturday night. Pacioretty, a Connecticut native, is the first U.S.-born player ever to score four goals in one game for the Canadiens, regular-season or playoffs. Only four other active players born in the U.S.A. have produced a four-goal game in the NHL: David Backes (2), Ryan Callahan, Kyle Okposo and Auston Matthews (who did that in his NHL debut this season).

Schenn powers Flyers to win

Brayden Schenn recorded the second hat trick of his NHL career when he scored three goals, all on power plays, in the Philadelphia Flyers’ 4–2 win over the Stars on Saturday afternoon. His power play hat trick was only the second one in the NHL over the last six seasons, with Shea Weber having scored three PPGs for Nashville in a game at Detroit just over a year ago (Dec. 5, 2015). Schenn is the fourth player in Flyers history to score three power play goals in one game. Tim Kerr did that twice (in 1985 and 1986), and Brian Propp (1988) and Scott Hartnell (2008) had once each.

Flyers are on an eight-game winning streak

• The Flyers’ victory extended their winning streak to eight games and all of those victories have been by one or two goals (including two overtime wins and one via a shootout). Since the NHL began using the shootout in 2005–06, only three other teams won eight or more consecutive games in one season by no more than a two-goal margin: the Hurricanes in 2005–06 (eight in a row), the Sharks in 2007–08 (10) and the Kings in 2013–14 (eight).

Kings fix power play

Jeff Carter, Alec Martinez and Marian Gaborik each scored a power play goal for the Kings in their 4–1 win against the Senators in Los Angeles. It was the first time that the Kings scored as many three power play goals in one game since they got three in a 9–2 win at Boston on February 9 last season, and the first time they did so on home ice since their 6–4 victory against the Blues on Dec. 18, 2014. The Kings scored only six power play goals in their first 19 games this season and never had more than one in any single game, but they’ve produced eight power play goals in eight games since then with three multiple-PPG games.

Another multiple-point game for Atkinson

Cam Atkinson recorded his third straight two-point game by scoring one goal and assisting on another for the Blue Jackets in their 6–2 win against the Islanders. Over the last five seasons the only other time a Columbus player tallied at least two points in each of three consecutive team games was when Atkinson did that in 2015 (March 24–28). \R.J. Umberger was the last Blue Jackets player other than Atkinson to produce three straight multiple-point games (March 28–31, 2012).

Andersen is perfect versus the Bruins

• Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen maintained his perfect career record versus the Bruins by posting a 4–1 win against them in Boston on Saturday. Andersen has won all six games he’s played against the Bruins (four with Anaheim and two this season for Toronto) and he’s given up only eight goals while doing so. Over the last 70 years, only two other goaltenders won their first six (or more) games versus the Bruins: Henrik Lundqvist (first seven) and Carey Price (first six). Ed Belfour won his first six career decisions against Boston, after getting no decision the first two times he faced the Bruins.

Smith sees lots of rubber

• Arizona goaltender Mike Smith, who faced a 60-shot barrage in a shootout loss to Columbus last Saturday, had an “easy” night by comparison as he saved 44 of the 45 shots on goal against him in a win over Nashville this Saturday. Smith has played only 13 games for the Coyotes this season (he was sidelined for four weeks with a knee injury) but he’s faced 40 or more shots on goal in a game five times, the most of any NHL goaltender. Smith has a 3–0–2 record in those five games and he’s given up only one or two goals in each game.