Elias Says: March 24, 2017

Suns’ starting five youngest in NBA history

The average age of the Suns’ starting lineup - guards Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis, forwards Marquese Chriss and Derrick Jones Jr., and center Alex Len - on Thursday night against the Nets was 21 years and 15 days old. That is the youngest average age of a team’s starting lineup in NBA history. The previous youngest was the Clippers’ starting five consisting of guards Eric Bledsoe and Eric Gordon, forwards Al-Farouq Aminu and Blake Griffin, and center DeAndre Jordan, who averaged 21 years and 143 days old in a matchup with the Nets on November 15, 2010.

Nets’ bench is the star in win over Suns

Six Nets reserves came off the bench to score at least 10 points, led by 16 points from KJ McDaniels, in their 126-98 win over the Suns. The last time a team had at least six subs with 10-or-more points was on December 29, 1990, when six Bullets reserves did so (with A.J. English leading the way with 14 points) against the Nuggets. Washington scored a franchise-record 161 points in that game, including 52 from Bernard King.

DeRozan breaks Raptors mark for free throws made in win over Heat

DeMar DeRozan scored 40 points and made 12 of his 13 free-throw attempts in the Raptors’ 101-84 victory over the Heat. DeRozan became the first Raptor to make at least 3,000 free throws, finishing the night with 3,008 over his entire career. He broke Chris Bosh’s team mark of 2,997. Only two other active players hold their current team’s record in that category: the Cavs’ LeBron James and the Mavs’ Dirk Nowitzki.

DeRozan scored 24 of his 40 points in the first half on Thursday night. That’s his most points in the opening half in his career. His previous high was 22, done four times in the regular season; he most recently did so on November 9, 2016, at Oklahoma City. He also had a 22-point first half in the playoffs, in Game 3 of a first-round matchup with the Wizards in April 2015.

Aldridge reaches 15,000 points

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and had three blocks in the Spurs’ win over the Grizzlies on Thursday. Aldridge passed the 15,000-point mark on Thursday, having now scored 15,001 points in 785 regular-season games. Aldridge is the 10th player to score his 15,000th point in a Spurs uniform (his first 12,562 points were scored as a Trail Blazer). One other player has done so over the last 10 years: Tony Parker in November 2013.

Lillard with eighth straight 25-point game

Damian Lillard led all scorers with 30 points as the Blazers defeated the Knicks, 110-95. Lillard is the fourth player in Blazers history to have eight straight games with at least 25 points within one season, joining Geoff Petrie, who had two such streaks (11 in a row and eight straight in 1970-71), Clyde Drexler (9, 1987-88) and CJ McCollum (8, earlier this season).

Barnes wins it for Dallas in a close one

Harrison Barnes sank a field goal to give the Mavs the lead for good with just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter and had a clutch steal in the last seconds of the game to give Dallas a 97-95 win over the Clippers. After losing their first three games decided by five-or-fewer points this season, the Mavericks have shown much improvement in those close games, winning nine of their next 14, including Thursday night’s game. Dallas had a 9-15 record (.375) in games decided by five-or-fewer points last season, tied for the fifth-lowest winning percentage in the NBA.

Walton with another solid game but Michigan falls just short

Derrick Walton had 20 points, eight assists, and five rebounds in Michigan’s one-point loss to Oregon in their Sweet 16 matchup on Thursday. It was Walton’s second game with at least 20 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in this year’s NCAA Tournament, also having done so in a Round-of-64 game against Oklahoma State. Frank Mason of Kansas also has two such games in this year’s tournament (Round of 64 and Sweet 16). Over the last 35 years, the only other player with multiple games of this type within one NCAA Tournament was Dwyane Wade for Marquette in 2003 (that included a triple-double performance with 29 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds in a win over Kentucky).

Bell with fourth straight 12-rebound game in the NCAA Tournament

Oregon’s Jordan Bell grabbed 13 rebounds in his team’s one-point win over Michigan to advance to the Elite 8. That was his fourth straight NCAA Tournament game with 12-or-more rebounds dating back to last year. The last player to have that many rebounds in four consecutive NCAA Tournament games was Blake Griffin for Oklahoma, all in 2009.

Kansas duo star in victory over Purdue

Devonte’ Graham and Frank Mason each scored 26 points as Kansas routed Purdue, 98-66, to advance to the Elite 8. They are the second pair of Jayhawks teammates to each score 25 points in a NCAA Tournament game. Dave Robisch scored 29 points and Bud Stallworth had 25 in a Sweet 16 win over Houston in 1971.

Two years later, West Virginia has a repeat poor shooting performance

West Virginia made just 16 of its 60 field-goal attempts (26.7%) in its three-point loss to Gonzaga on Thursday night. That is the lowest field-goal percentage for any team in a NCAA Tournament game in the Round-of-32 or later since West Virginia shot only 24.1 percent from the floor in a Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky in 2015.

Three close Sweet 16 games on Thursday night

Trevon Bluiett led Xavier with 25 points as the Musketeers pulled off the upset win over Arizona, 73-71. It was the third game on Thursday that was decided by three-or-fewer points (Oregon over Michigan, 69-68; Gonzaga over West Virginia, 61-58). Over the last 25 years, there has been only one other Sweet 16 day where at least three games had a margin of victory of three-or-fewer points. That was on March 22, 2007: Kansas over Southern Illinois, 61-58; Memphis over Texas A&M, 65-64; Ohio State defeated Tennessee, 85-84.

Draisaitl first Oiler with six straight multi-point games since Messier

Leon Draisaitl produced his sixth straight multiple-point game by tallying one goal and one assist for the Oilers in their 7–4 win at Colorado. He’s the first Edmonton player to score at least two points in each of six consecutive team games in one season since Mark Messier had a streak of six straight multi-point games in January 1990. Draisaitl is the first player on any NHL team with a multi-point game streak that long since Henrik Sedin’s six-game skein for the Canucks in December 2009.

Holtby’s second straight season with 25 home wins

Braden Holtby tied a Capitals record for home wins by a goaltender in one season with his 2–1 shootout victory over the Blue Jackets in Washington. He’s 25–6–2 in D.C. this season, tying the franchise mark for home-ice wins set by Olaf Kolzig (25–7–8) in 1999–2000 and matched by Holtby himself (25–3–3) last season. Holtby is the first NHL goaltender to win at least 25 home games in each of two consecutive seasons since Martin Brodeur set the league record with a three-season streak from 2005–06 through 2007–08.

Nylander ties Leafs rookie record with a point in 10th straight game

William Nylander set a Maple Leafs record for the longest point streak by a rookie – 10 games – by scoring one goal and assisting on another in Toronto’s 4–2 win against the Devils. Nylander is only the third rookie to produce a point streak of 10 games or more in one of the last nine NHL seasons. The other double-digit point streaks by rookies since 2008-09 were Nathan MacKinnon’s 13-game skein for Colorado in 2013–14 and Shayne Gostisbehere’s 15-game streak for the Flyers last season.

Crawford stops lots of pucks, gets lots of wins

Corey Crawford stopped 42 of the Stars’ 44 shots on goal in his shootout victory over Dallas on Thursday. Crawford has won all three games this season in which he faced 40 or more shots on goal and all of those wins have come this month (also March 12 vs. Minnesota and March 14 at Montreal). He is the first Blackhawks goaltender to post three wins in one month in games in which he faced at least 40 shots on goal since Tony Esposito had three such wins for Chicago in March 1978.

Mason becomes third goalie with 100 wins as a Flyer

Steve Mason recorded his 100th career win for the Flyers with a 3–1 victory at Minnesota on Thursday. Mason is only the third goaltender to reach the century mark in wins for the Flyers, and he’s the first to do so in more than 27 years. The two goaltenders with the most wins for the Flyers are Ron Hextall (240) and Bernie Parent (231).

Kucherov strikes three times in Lightning win

Nikita Kucherov scored three goals for the Lightning as they ended their three-game losing streak with a 6–3 win in Boston. It was the third three-goal game of Kucherov’s NHL career and the first hat trick by a Tampa Bay player in a regular-season road game since March 19, 2014, when Steven Stamkos scored three goals versus the Maple Leafs in Toronto. (Tyler Johnson scored three goals in a playoff game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in 2015.) Kucherov’s hat trick was also the first one ever by a Lightning player against the Bruins, home or road, regular season or playoffs.

Marchessault hits 25-goal mark in first season with Panthers

Jonathan Marchessault scored his 24th and 25th goals of the season in the Panthers’ 3–1 win against the Coyotes. Marchessault, who signed with Florida as a free agent last summer, is the sixth player in Panthers history to score 25 goals or more in his first season with the team. The other players to do that in their first season with Florida are Scott Mellanby (1993–94), Ray Whitney (1997–98), Joe Nieuwendyk (2005–06), Tomas Fleischmann (2011–12) and Reilly Smith (2015–16).

Ellis is piling up the goals in 2017

Ryan Ellis scored the final goal for the Predators in their 3–1 win against the Flames. Ellis scored only four goals in 28 games this season through the end of December but he’s tallied 11 goals in 35 games since January 1, which ranks him second in goals in 2017 by NHL defensemen, one behind Brent Burns with 12.

Allen continues great month with another stellar game

Jake Allen posted his seventh win in eight games this month with a 4–1 victory for the Blues against the Canucks on Thursday. Allen is 7–1–0 with a 1.26 GAA in March, tying Jonathan Bernier, Sergei Bobrovsky and Brian Elliott for the league high in wins by a goaltender this month. Allen has tied his career high for wins in one calendar month, done three times before (most recently last November).

Stempniak lights the lamp twice

Lee Stempniak ended his 10-game goal drought by scoring twice to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4–1 win in Montreal. Stempniak has scored 198 goals in his NHL career, but entering play on Thursday he had tallied only two goals in 22 lifetime games against the Canadiens, matching his lowest goal total versus any NHL team (two goals in 16 games against the Devils and two in 13 games versus the Maple Leafs).

Condon with a big performance in Sens’ win

Mike Condon earned first-star recognition by making 34 saves in a 2–1 shootout win for the Senators against the Penguins. It’s the second win against the Penguins this season for Condon (he beat them 4–1 on January 12), who played in only one game for Pittsburgh this season (and for only one period) before he was traded to Ottawa on November 2. He’s tied for the high in wins by a goaltender versus Pittsburgh this season with Sergei Bobrovsky, Peter Budaj, Devan Dubnyk and Braden Holtby. Condon is the first goaltender ever to win two games in one season against the Penguins after playing for them earlier that season.