Elias Says: March 15, 2017

James and Westbrook shine

LeBron James (16 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists) and Russell Westbrook (25, 12, 19) both recorded a triple-double on Tuesday, the sixth time that those two superstars recorded a triple-double on the same date, and the fifth time this season. That matches the most times any two players both recorded a triple-double on the same date: Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain, Robertson and Elgin Baylor, Robertson and Richie Guerin, and Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

Another 20-point game for Irving

Kyrie Irving scored 26 points in the Cavaliers’ win over the Pistons, the 16th consecutive game in which he scored at least 20 points. Only one other player in Cavaliers history scored 20 or more points in 16 straight games within one season. LeBron James had several streaks like that including a franchise record 49 straight games with at least 20 points in 2007-08.

Only three players have scored more points than Irving (446) since his streak began on February 6: Russell Westbrook (520) and Anthony Davis (449).

Cavs rain threes

The Cavaliers made their first ten three-point field goal attempts in their win over the Pistons. It was the second time this season that a team made their first ten shots from beyond the arc in a game. The Thunder started 12-for-12 from three-point range in a game against the Jazz on February 28. The last time the Cavaliers made their first 10 or more long range shots was when they made their first eleven on November 15, 2014 versus Atlanta.

Westbrook starts strong

Russell Westbrook got off to a good start on his way to his 33rd triple-double of the season, recording nine points and eight assists in the first quarter of the Thunder’s win over the Nets. Westbrook is the third player this season to score at least eight points and hand out at least eight assists in the first quarter of a game. James Harden did it on October 26 (12 points, 9 assists) and Ricky Rubio on March 13 (nine points, 10 assists).

Happy Birthday Steph

Stephen Curry, playing on his 29th birthday, scored 29 points for the Warriors on Tuesday night. It’s the fourth straight year in which Curry scored at least 25 points on his birthday. He scored 27 points in 2014, 25 in 2015 and 27 in 2016. The only other player in NBA history to score 25 or more points on four consecutive birthdays was Oscar Robertson: 30 on his birthday in 1960, 31 in 1961, 28 in 1962 and 32 in 1963.

Saric continues to contribute

Philadelphia rookie Dario Saric scored 25 points in the 76ers’ loss to the Warriors on Tuesday night. It was the 17th straight game in which Saric scored in double-figures, the longest such streak for a 76ers rookie since Allen Iverson scored at least ten points in his last 26 games of the 1996-97 season.

Hernangomez produces off the bench

Knicks rookie Willy Hernangomez came off the bench to score 13 points and grab 16 rebounds in the Knicks’ win over the Pacers. He scored 16 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as a substitute at Brooklyn on February 1. No other NBA rookie has had even one game off the bench with at least 13 points and 13 rebounds this season and the last rookie to have more than one game like that in a season was the Nets’ Mason Plumlee in 2013-14.

Prior to this season there had been only three instances in which a Knicks rookie scored at least 13 points and grabbed at least 13 rebounds in a game in which he did not start since the NBA starting keeping track of starters in 1970-71: Toby Knight in 1978, Renaldo Balkman in 2007 and Timofey Mozgov in 2011.

Backstrom reaches the big 5-oh

Nicklas Backstrom assisted on three goals in the Capitals’ 4–2 win against the Wild. Backstrom’s final assist was his 50th this season, marking the seventh time in his 10 seasons in the NHL that he’s reached the 50-assist mark. Backstrom is the first player to record at least seven 50-assist seasons in the first 10 seasons of his NHL career since Joe Sakic did so seven times in his first 10 NHL campaigns (1988–89 through 1997–98).

Tavares scores in OT

John Tavares’ goal 34 seconds into overtime gave the Islanders a 3–2 victory over the Hurricanes in Raleigh. It was Tavares’ first regular-season overtime goal in just over two years (since March 9, 2015) and the ninth regular-season OT goal of his eight-season NHL career, extending his own Islanders team record. Tavares is tied with Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux for the second-most overtime goals in the NHL over last eight seasons, behind Alex Ovechkin with 12.

Hedman scores the GWG

Victor Hedman scored a goal in the final minute of overtime to earn the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2–1 win against the Senators in Ottawa. It was Hedman’s fifth game-winning goal this season and his third game-winner this month (including two in overtime). Hedman is the first defenseman in Lightning franchise history to score three game-winning goals in a calendar month in one season. The only other NHL defenseman who has scored at least three game-winning goals in one calendar month this season is Shea Weber, who scored three decisive goals for the Canadiens in October (his first month with the team).

Four helpers for Vanek

Thomas Vanek set a career high for assists in one game by setting up four goals for the Panthers in their 7–2 win over the Maple Leafs. Vanek, who had not recorded an assist in any of the five previous games he had played since he was traded to Florida by the Red Wings on March 1, is the first player to produce a four-assist game for the Panthers since Brian Campbell did so in a 7–4 victory in Tampa on Oct. 17, 2011. Vanek has tallied 34 assists in 57 games versus Toronto during his 12 seasons in the NHL, which ranks him fourth in assists against the Maple Leafs since 2005–06, behind Evgeni Malkin (37), Andrei Markov (36) and Jason Spezza (36).

Another 10-point month for Kane

Patrick Kane scored the first goal and then assisted on goals by Artemi Panarin and Jonathan Toews in the Blackhawks’ 4–2 win at Montreal. Kane tallied nine points (in nine games) in October this season but he’s produced a double-digit point total in all five months since then (November: 14, December: 14, January: 12, February: 16, March: 11 in seven games). This is the second time that Kane has recorded 10 points or more in each of five consecutive calendar months in one season, having also done that last season from October through February (14, 23, 19, 17 and 12 points).

Balanced scoring for the Oilers

Seven different Oilers scored goals in their 7-1 win over the Stars on Tuesday night. That matches the most different goal scorers they have had in a game over the last 20 seasons. The last time seven different Oilers lit the lamp in a game was November 19, 2011 in a 9-2 win over the Blackhawks.