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Elias Says: Jan. 7, 2017

Grizzlies’ stunning comeback is one for the ages

The Grizzlies trailed the Warriors by 19 points, 98–79, through three quarters, but they rallied for a stunning win in overtime at Oracle Arena. Only one other team in NBA history won a road game in which it trailed by at least 19 points entering the fourth quarter against a team that owned the outright best record in the league for that season.

On February 9, 1962 the Philadelphia Warriors overcame a 19-point deficit through three quarters and defeated the Celtics at Boston Garden, 126–124. Wilt Chamberlain led the winners with 48 points and 29 rebounds; Bill Russell had 21 points and 26 rebounds for Boston. Red Auerbach’s Celtics entered that game with a league-best 44–14 (.759) record.

Curry is now all-time free-throw percentage leader

Stephen Curry was 5-for-5 from the free-throw line and is now the NBA’s all-time free-throw percentage leader; Curry (90.427 percent) moved ahead of Steve Nash (90.426%). The NBA uses a minimum of 1200 free throws made as the qualifier for that category.

LBJ leads the way in Brooklyn

LeBron James scored 36 points in the Cavaliers’ win over the Nets at Barclays Center. That tied the most points that James has scored in his last 21 games in New York City––covering eight contests in Brooklyn and 13 at Madison Square Garden. Over that period he had a 36-point performance in a double-overtime game for the Heat against the Nets in January 2014. The last time that LeBron scored more than 36 points in a game in the Big Apple was when he dropped 52 at MSG in February 2009, just two days after Kobe Bryant scored 61 points on that same court.

Anthony’s late three-pointer highlights Knicks’ comeback win

Carmelo Anthony’s three-pointer with 51 seconds remaining gave the Knicks a 112–111 lead and New York went on to defeat the Bucks, 116–111. It was only the third time in his pro career that Anthony made a game-winning three-point field goal with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. He previously did that in January 2009 for the Nuggets at Oklahoma City (sinking a shot from downtown with less than one second remaining) and January 2012 for the Knicks at Washington (connecting from beyond the arc with 16 seconds to go).

Wiggins’ 41 points not enough

Andrew Wiggins’ 41 points were not enough in Friday night’s defeat at Washington. It was a league-high fourth time this season that a Timberwolves player scored at least 40 points in a loss, with Karl-Anthony Towns (twice) and Zach LaVine having done so earlier this season.

The Anderson difference: first half and second half

Ryan Anderson was held scoreless in the first half but he finished with a team-high 19 points in the Rockets’ victory over the Magic. Anderson tied the most points in a game by any NBA player this season who started and did not score in the first or second quarter; Robert Covington had 19-point game of that kind for the 76ers in December.

Celtics rally from 14-point deficit

The Celtics trailed by 14 points late in the second quarter but rallied to defeat the 76ers, 110–106. It was the largest deficit overcome for a victory by either side in their rivalry in more than seven years––since Philadelphia won at Boston in December 2009 after falling behind by 15 points. And before Friday night the Celtics had not overcome a 76ers’ lead of at least 14 points to win since doing so in December 2003.

Leafs rookie extends streak

Auston Matthews extended his point streak to eight games when he scored a second-period goal that turned out to be the game-winner for the Maple Leafs in their 4–2 victory against the Devils. He’s the first Leafs rookie to score at least one point in eight consecutive team games in one season since Daniel Marois had a streak of the same length in March 1989. Matthews is tied with Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk for the longest point streak by a rookie in the NHL this season. (Tkachuk’s eight-game streak is also current.) The only rookie with a point streak of eight games or more last season is Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who scored points in 15 straight games spanning January and February 2016.

Marchessault leads Panthers with 12 goals

Jonathan Marchessault’s goal just past the 10-minute mark of the third period snapped a 1–1 tie and proved decisive in the Panthers’ 2–1 win over the Predators. Marchessault, who signed with Florida as a free agent last summer, leads the Panthers with 12 goals this season. He’s one of seven the NHL players in their first season with their current team who lead that club in goals this season. The others are Kyle Okposo (Sabres), Eric Staal (Wild), P.A. Parenteau (Devils), Michael Grabner (Rangers), Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs) and Patrik Laine (Jets).

Darling up to the task on busy night

Scott Darling stopped 39 of Carolina’s 40 shots on goal in his 2–1 victory against the Hurricanes in Chicago on Friday. Excluding games decided by a shootout, this was only the third time in the last 50 years that the Blackhawks won a regular-season game by a one-goal margin and allowed no more than one goal despite permitting at least 40 shots on goal by their opponent. Their two other wins of that kind in the NHL’s expansion era were by Tony Esposito against the Rangers in February 1977 (2–1, 50 saves) and Corey Crawford at Montreal in January 2016 (2–1, 39 saves).

Avalanche OT drought ends

Nathan MacKinnon’s goal with 16.1 seconds left in overtime earned the Avalanche a 2–1 win over the Islanders in Denver. When the game went to overtime it meant that the Avs had snapped their eight-game home-ice losing streak, the team’s longest since it moved to Colorado from Quebec in 1995. (The Quebec Nordiques also lost eight straight home games once, spanning October and November 1990.) Colorado’s home-ice losing streak also matched the NHL high over the last 12 seasons. The only other teams to lose eight consecutive home games in regulation time over that span were the Flyers in 2006–07 and the Hurricanes in 2012–13.