Spurs win 20th road game
• The Spurs improved to 36–9, and 20–4 on the road, with a 108–106 win in Toronto on Tuesday. This is the first season in which the Spurs have reached 20 wins before reaching five losses in road games.
Popovich wins another close one
• Gregg Popovich has won 63.2 percent of the regular-season games decided by a margin of one or two points in his years as a head coach, second-highest among men with at least 50 of those games, behind Billy Cunningham’s 67.5 winning percentage.
Wade swipes seven in Bulls win
• Dwyane Wade had seven steals in the Bulls’ win over the Magic on Tuesday, tying his second-highest total in any NBA game. He had eight steals against the Mavericks in 2013 and seven against the Cavaliers in 2009.
What’s gotten into the 76ers?
• The 76ers overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat the Clippers and register their third win in January after trailing by such a margin at halftime. The only other months in team history in which the 76ers won three games after trailing by nine or more points at the intermission were November 1983, coming off their sweep of the Lakers in the 1983 NBA Finals, and December 1999 (three each month).
All 10 players who got into the game for the 76ers scored at least seven points, led by Nerlens Noel’s 19 points. It was the first time that the 76ers had 10 or more players appear in a game and each score at least seven points since December 7, 1988.
Beal and Wall team up to top Celtics
• Bradley Beal scored 31 points with five assists and John Wall scored 27 points with seven assists in the Wizards’ win over the Celtics on Tuesday. Beal and Wall also each had a game of at least 25 points and five assists in Washington’s loss to Dallas on January 3. No other pair of teammates has more than one 25/5 (points/assists) game this month.
Thomas keeps scoring streak going
• Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points in Boston’s loss, extending his streak of 25-point games to eight in a row, which is the longest for a Celtics player since Larry Bird’s 13-game streak in 1988. Thomas has scored 1156 points this season, second-most for a Celtics player in his first 40 games of a season, eight points behind John Havlicek’s total in his first 40 games in the 1970-71 season.
Jokic shooting the lights out
• Nikola Jokic led all players with 23 points and made nine of 16 field goals in the Nuggets’ win over the Jazz on Tuesday. Jokic has taken at least 10 shots and made more than half of them in each of his last nine games, the longest such streak for any NBA player since LeBron James had a nine-game streak in March and April in 2013.
Over those nine games, Jokic has made 34.6 percent of his three-point attempts and 69.3 percent of his two-pointers.
Wiggins beat the clock for a Minnesota win
• Andrew Wiggins’ buzzer-beater gave the Timberwolves a one-point win over the Suns on Tuesday and provided his 30th and 31st points of the evening. The only other NBA player to score 30 or more points with a game-winning buzzer-beater this season was Jimmy Butler, whose game-winning shot against the Nets on December 28 brought his total to 40 points in that game.
A Marleau specialty
• Patrick Marleau’s tiebreaking goal with 4:33 left to play in the third period was the game-winning goal for the Sharks in their 4–3 victory against the Jets at Winnipeg. Marleau has scored 498 goals in his NHL career and 97 of those goals have been game-winners. Marleau’s percentage of game-winning goals, 19.5 percent, is the second-highest in NHL history among the 93 players who have scored 400 or more goals. Patrik Elias is number one on that list at 19.6 percent (80 of 408).
Two assists for Tavares … more rare than it seems
• John Tavares tallied two assists for the Islanders in their 4–2 win over the Blue Jackets. That hardly seems noteworthy for the Islanders’ captain, yet this was the first multiple-assist game this season for Tavares who has played in all 46 of the Isles’ games. Tavares produced 51 multiple-assist games over his seven other seasons in the NHL, an average of just over seven per season, with a high of 12 in 2011–12.
Hutton blanks the Penguins
• Carter Hutton notched his second shutout of the season by making 34 saves in the Blues’ 3–0 win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Hutton is the fourth goaltender in Blues history to post a shutout victory on the road against the defending Stanley Cup champion. The other Blues netminders to do so were Glenn Hall (twice: at Montreal in December 1969 and at Boston in November 1970), Wayne Stephenson (at Montreal in November 1973) and Brent Johnson (at Colorado in October 2001).
Sabres have had only one other win like this one
• The Sabres trailed, 4–2, in their game at Nashville with under six minutes left to play in the third period, but Buffalo tied the game on goals by Brian Gionta (at 14:10) and Kyle Okposo (at 18:55) and won it, 5–4, when Jack Eichel scored 2:35 into the overtime period.
Excluding games decided by a shootout, the only other time that the Sabres won a road game in which they trailed by two goals in the last six minutes of the third period was on Oct. 23, 2008, when they came overcame a 3–1 deficit to beat the Wild in overtime, 4–3. The Sabres tied that game with late third-period goals from Adam Mair (at 16:00) and Thomas Vanek (at 16:46), and they won on Derek Roy’s OT tally.
Condon proving to be a good acquisition
• Mike Condon posted his fourth shutout for the Senators with a 3–0 win against the Capitals on Tuesday. Condon, who was acquired by Ottawa in a trade with Pittsburgh on November, is the second goaltender to record at least four shutouts in his first season with the current Senators franchise. Dominik Hasek racked up five shutouts during his only season with Ottawa (2005–06).
Dubnyk extends Dubya streak
• Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk made it nine wins in his last nine road games with a 3–2 shootout victory against the Stars in Dallas on Tuesday. Dubnyk’s run of nine straight road wins began with a victory at Edmonton on December 4. This is the longest single-season road winning streak by an NHL goaltender since Dubnyk himself won 11 consecutive road games for Minnesota from Feb. 18 through April 7, 2015.
Martinez scores, Kings win
• The Kings jumped out to a 3–0 lead in the first period of their game at New Jersey on goals by Anze Kopitar, Tanner Pearson and defenseman Alec Martinez, then coasted to a 3–1 victory over the Devils. Martinez has scored seven goals for L.A. this season and the Kings won all of those games.
In fact, whether Martinez records a point or not may be the surest predictor of the outcome of a Kings game this season. Martinez has produced a goal or an assist (or both) in 22 games this season and the Kings have a 19–2–1 record in those games. Los Angeles is 4–19–3 in the games in which Martinez has failed to register a point this season.
Johnson’s two quick goals lead Lightning to victory
• The Lightning were tied 2–2 in the third period of their game at Chicago but Tyler Johnson broke things open by scoring twice in 30 seconds (at 6:14 and 6:44) and Tampa Bay went on to beat the Blackhawks, 5–2. The only other player to score two goals in so short a span during the third period of an NHL game this season is the Kings’ Dwight King, who scored twice in 25 seconds (at 17:07 and 17:32) during the final period of L.A.’s 4–2 win against the Islanders on November 23.
Johnson is the second player in Lightning history to score two third-period goals no more than 30 seconds apart. Jason Wiemer tallied twice in 16 seconds late in a game versus New Jersey on Oct. 3, 1997, though his goals (at 17:51 and 18:07) merely turned a 4–1 deficit into a one-goal Tampa Bay loss (4–3).
Pastrnak ends his longest goal drought
• David Pastrnak reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his three seasons in the NHL when he scored with 46.9 seconds remaining in overtime to earn the Bruins a 4–3 win over the Red Wings. Pastrnak’s goal also ended his career-worst 17-game goal drought. (He had never before gone more than eight games without scoring a goal in the NHL.) Pastrnak’s last goal before Tuesday was against the Penguins in Pittsburgh on December 14. Through that date he ranked second in the NHL’s goal-scoring race, only two behind league leader Sidney Crosby (21–19).
Radulov tallies twice for Montreal
• Alexander Radulov produced his first two-goal game for the Canadiens by scoring a pair of power play markers in Montreal’s 5–1 win over the Flames. It was the fifth two-goal game in the NHL for Radulov but his first since March 20, 2008, when he scored twice for the Predators against the Red Wings. (Radulov went home to play in Russia after that season, and except for a brief nine-game stint with Nashville in 2011–12 he had not played again in the NHL until this season with the Canadiens.)
Radulov is the first Canadiens player to score two power play goals in one game this season. Montreal had one individual two-PPG in each of the past three seasons, by Thomas Vanek (2013–14), Max Pacioretty (2014–15) and Alex Galchenyuk (2015–16).