Hill tops Houston
Solomon Hill led the Pelicans with 30 points and seven assists to help New Orleans defeat the Rockets, 128–112. Hill is the fifth player to score 30 or more points in a game for the Pelicans this season, joining Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Jrue Holiday, and Terrence Jones. Holiday is the only one of those four who led New Orleans in assists while scoring at least 30 points, doing so on January 23 versus the Cavaliers (33 points, 10 assists) and on February 6 against the Suns (30 points, seven assists).
The Pelicans’ total of five different players scoring 30 or more points in a game equals the highest total for any NBA team this season; the Lakers and Nuggets have also had five 30-point scorers. This season’s total also matches a franchise high for the Pelicans. New Orleans saw five players produce 30-point games in 2009–10, 2013–14, and 2014–15.
Harden sets record in losing effort
The Pelicans prevailed despite a monster night by James Harden, who led the Rockets with 41 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. Friday’s game marked the sixth time this season that Harden scored at least 40 points in a game while also recording 10 or more rebounds and 10 or more assists, the most games of that type by any player in a single season in NBA history. Oscar Robertson had five triple-doubles of that kind in 1963–64, and Russell Westbrook has had five such games this season.
76ers destroy Mavericks despite early deficit
The Mavericks finished the first quarter with a two-point lead in Philadelphia, but the 76ers took over from there, outscoring Dallas by double-digits in each of the last three quarters to close out a 116–74 victory. The 42-point margin of victory was by far the largest ever for the 76ers in a game in which they were outscored in the first quarter. The franchise’s previous largest margin of victory in a game of that kind was 34 points, done in two games that took place more than 50 years ago, when the franchise was located in Syracuse.
Rookie is a huge plus for Sixers
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was on the court for just under 30 minutes on Friday night, and in that time the 76ers outscored the Mavericks, 84 to 44. Luwawu-Cabarrot’s plus/minus rating of plus-40 is tied for the second-highest by a Sixers player in a game over the last 20 seasons. On Feb. 20, 2008, the 76ers blew out the Knicks by 40 points thanks in part to Andre Iguodala (plus-41 rating) and Andre Miller (plus-40).
Wall spreads the love in career night
John Wall racked up a career-high 20 assists to lead the Wizards to a 112–107 victory over the Bulls. Wall became the third player in franchise history to produce at least 20 assists in a game. The last player to do so for Washington prior to Wall was Rod Strickland, who earned 20 assists on Feb. 10, 1998 at Golden State. Kevin Porter had four games with 20 or more assists for the Washington Bullets, two in the 1974–75 season and two more in 1979–80, with all four taking place in Washington, D.C.
Wall assisted at least one field goal for each of his eight teammates that appeared in Friday’s game. That’s tied for the most teammates assisted by a player in a single game this season. James Harden and Draymond Green have dished out assists to eight different players in three games this season, while three other players – Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kyle Lowry – have one such game this season. The only time that Wall assisted field goals scored by more than eight different players in a game was on March 5, 2012, when he distributed 14 assists to nine different Wizards players in a loss to the Warriors.
Pistons run out of gas in loss to Raptors
The Raptors overcame a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Pistons 87–75 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Toronto outscored Detroit, 17–1, over the final six minutes of the game as the Pistons failed to connect on any of their final 10 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter. In the last 10 seasons, the only other time that Detroit finished a game with a streak of 10 or more unsuccessful field-goal attempts was on Dec. 6, 2014. The Pistons, who lost in overtime to the 76ers that night, missed their final shot in the fourth quarter then proceeded to go 0-for-11 from the field in the extra period.
Celtics win on St. Patrick’s Day without their scoring leader
With Isaiah Thomas sidelined by a knee injury, Jae Crowder filled the void for the Celtics, scoring a season-high 24 points to lead all scorers in Boston’s 98–95 victory over the Nets in Brooklyn. Friday’s game ended a remarkable run by Thomas, who had been the Celtics’ outright scoring leader for each of Boston’s previous 32 games spanning from January 7 to March 15. The Celtics went 21–11 (.656) in that stretch thanks in large part to Thomas, who averaged 30.7 points in those contests, second only to Russell Westbrook (32.3 PPG) over that span. Thomas’s 32-game streak of leading Boston outright in points is by far the longest such streak in franchise history; no other Celtics player produced a streak even half as long.
The Celtics’ victory on Friday marked their first win on St. Patrick’s Day since 2010 when they defeated the Knicks in Boston. The Celtics’ total of 23 wins on March 17 is the highest by any NBA team on that date; the Knicks are next on the list with 20 wins.
Whiteside on target in Miami
Hassan Whiteside enjoyed an impressive shooting night in the Heat’s 123–105 triumph over the Timberwolves. Whiteside connected on 10 of his 11 field-goal attempts, good for 90.9 percent. Friday’s game marked the fourth time that Whiteside shot 90 percent or better from the floor in an NBA game with at least 10 field-goal attempts. He also did so at Minnesota in February 2015, against Atlanta in November 2015, and at New Orleans in March 2016. The only other player who shot 90 percent or better with 10 or more field-goal attempts in as many as four games for Miami is Alonzo Mourning, who also had four games of that kind.
Magic snaps losing streaks in Phoenix
The Magic halted its four-game losing skid by defeating the Suns, 109–103, in Phoenix. Orlando, who trailed by one point to start the fourth quarter on Friday, had lost its last 24 games in which the team trailed at the end of three quarters. The only team with a longer losing streak of that kind this season is the Lakers, who are 0–33 since the start of December (including Friday’s loss) in games in which they faced a deficit to open the fourth quarter.
Jagr passes Mr. Hockey
Jaromir Jagr set an NHL record for most career points by a player at age 40 or older when he earned the second of his two assists in the Panthers’ game against the Rangers. Jagr has produced 269 points in the NHL since he turned 40 years old, breaking the old mark of 268 which had been held by Gordie Howe since he retired at age 52 following the 1979–80 season. Howe still holds the NHL records for most points by a player at age 30 or older (1022) and most points after turning 50 years old (41).
Crosby nets pair of goals versus Devils
Sidney Crosby tied Brad Marchand for the NHL goal-scoring lead this season when he scored the second of his two goals in the Penguins’ win over the Devils. Crosby has scored 37 goals this season and he has generated five of them in the four games that he has played against the Devils (with at least one in each of those four games). Crosby’s two goals brought his career total against the Devils to 30 (in 56 games). He’s the seventh player to score at least 30 goals against the Devils since the franchise moved to New Jersey in 1982. The others are Mike Gartner (50), Mario Lemieux (47), Pat LaFontaine (37), Jaromir Jagr (36), Tomas Sandstrom (35) and Mark Recchi (34).
Another three-pointer for Giordano
Mark Giordano scored one goal and assisted on two in the Flames’ 3–1 win over the Stars. It’s the second time that Giordano has earned three points in a game this season and the league-high eighth time that a Calgary defenseman has done so. (Dougie Hamilton has racked up five three-point games for the Flames this season and T.J. Brodie one.) The only other NHL teams with more than four individual three-point games by defensemen this season are the Penguins (7), Blues (7) and Senators (5).