Elias Says ...

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:


Kobe Bryant Bryant

Kobe Bryant did it again, scoring 60 points in the Lakers' 121-119 win at Memphis. It was Bryant's third consecutive game scoring 50 points or more, following a 65-point performance against the Trail Blazers on Friday and a 50-pointer against the Timberwolves on Sunday. The only other players in NBA history to score 50 points in three consecutive games were Michael Jordan (1987), Elgin Baylor (1962), and Wilt Chamberlain, who did it 12 times within a span of 18 months (Oct. 1961-March 1963).

• Although the Grizzlies are tied with the Warriors for the worst defense in the NBA, allowing 106.5 points per game (112.4 since Tony Barone replaced Mike Fratello as head coach), no opposing player had scored 50 points against them since Jamal Mashburn did it in an overtime game in 2003. Besides Mashburn, Kobe is the only player ever to score 50 or more points in a game against the Grizzlies. He also scored 56 points vs. Memphis at Staples Center on Jan. 14, 2002.

Yao Ming Yao

Yao Ming scored 27 points in the Rockets' 91-85 win over the Pistons. It was the sixth time this season that an opposing starting center scored at least that many points against Detroit, equaling the number who did so over the previous four seasons combined (with Big Ben defending the castle).

Stephon Marbury made only 6 of 22 field-goal attempts, and as usual that spelled defeat for the Knicks, who fell to the Trail Blazers 92-86. Marbury has missed more than 15 FGAs 28 times in his career, and his teams have a 4-24 record in those games.


Jonathan Cheechoo Cheechoo

Jonathan Cheechoo scored three goals in the Sharks' 5-1 victory at Atlanta. It was Cheechoo's seventh hat trick over the last two seasons, the most by any player over a two-season span since Alexei Kovalev recorded a total of seven in 2000-01 and 2001-02.

Milan Michalek had a goal and two assists in the Sharks' win, extending his streak to six consecutive multiple-point games. That ties the longest streak in franchise history, set last season by Joe Thornton in his first six games with the team and then equaled by Thornton himself later in the season.

Sidney Crosby Crosby

• The Islanders kept Sidney Crosby off the scoresheet and defeated the Penguins 3-1. Crosby finished the season with 14 assists against the Isles, equaling the highest total by any player against one team in a season since Mario Lemieux recorded 15 assists against the Devils in 1992-93. Since then, the only other player with 14 was Marc Savard against the Capitals last season.

• The Hurricanes held the Capitals to 10 shots on goal but needed a pair of third-period goals to defeat Washington 4-3. The last team to record 10 or fewer shots on goal in a game was the Caps in a 3-0 loss at New Jersey in 2003, and the last to score at least three goals on as few as 10 SOGs was the Maple Leafs in a 4-0 win over the Blues in 1999 (9 SOG).

• Alex Ovechkin continues his push for the Danny Geoffrion Award. Ovechkin, who scored two goals in the Capitals' loss, has scored 12 goals since Jan. 30, but Washington hasn't won any of the nine games in which he's scored over that span (seven regulation losses, two shootout losses). Danny Geoffrion, son of Hall of Famer Bernie, scored 20 goals in his NHL career -- all for the Winnipeg Jets in 1980-81 -- but not one of those goals was scored in a victory.

• To paraphrase Jimmy Johnson, how 'bout them Wild? (Or something like that.) Minnesota defeated the Blues 5-1 for their eighth consecutive victory, allowing two or fewer goals in all eight wins. Over the last five seasons, the only other team to win eight in a row without allowing as many as three goals in any were the Red Wings last season (nine in a row).

• The Canadiens scored four times in the third period of a 5-3 victory at Boston. It was the fifth time this season that the Bruins allowed four or more goals in a period at home, their highest total since doing so six times in 1978-79.

Chris Gratton Gratton

Chris Gratton of the Panthers played his 1000th NHL game tonight, becoming the 10th player to reach that level in the minimum possible 13 seasons. Gratton, the third overall pick in the 1993 draft, has played over 100 games more than anyone else from that draft class. The surprising runner-up on that list is Todd Marchant, the Rangers' seventh-round pick (164th overall) who made his NHL debut on March 18, 1994 but never played for the Rangers again. (Marchant was traded to Edmonton for Craig MacTavish three days later.)

NCAA Tournament

Ohio State

• Ohio State overcame a 49-32 halftime deficit to defeat Tennessee 85-84. That's the largest halftime margin that a team has erased to win a game in regulation in the history of the NCAA Tournament. The only larger halftime deficit by a winning team was recorded in Virginia Tech's 89-85 overtime victory against Western Kentucky in the opening round in 1980. Western Kentucky led by 18 points at the half.

• A good omen for Ohio State and Memphis, who advanced to the Elite Eight with as 65-64 victory over Texas A&M: Two of the last four NCAA champions survived the round of 16 with a one-point win. North Carolina advanced with a 67-66 win over Villanova in 2005, and Syracuse did so with a 79-78 victory over Auburn in 2003.

For the record, only one champion prior to that posted a one-point win in the Round of 16: Marquette in 1977 (67-66 over Kansas State).

Brandon Rush scored 12 points on 6-for-6 shooting in Kansas' 61-58 victory over Southern Illinois. Rush was the first player to make as many as six field goals without a miss in the round of 16 since Kevin Lyde did so for Temple in a win over Purdue in 1999.


• The Jayhawks made only one of six 3-point attempts in their victory, becoming the first team in four years to win a tournament game with fewer than two three-point field goals. Kansas was also the last team to do so, shooting 1-for-12 from three-point range in a 69-65 win over Duke in 2003, when Kentucky shot 1-for-5 in a victory over Wisconsin on the same day.

Note that Southern Illinois' first two opponents made a total of three 3-pointers on 24 attempts. The only other school to hold their three opponents to fewer than five treys through the round of 16 was Notre Dame in 1987 (the first year of the 3-point rule).

• UCLA defeated Pittsburgh 64-55 and has allowed only 146 points through three games, the lowest total since 1985 when Patrick Ewing's Georgetown team gave up 142 points in its first three games of the tournament.

• Thursday night's victories by Kansas and UCLA set up the fifth meeting between those teams in NCAA Tournament play. The Bruins won the first four. There are seven other instances of teams that are 4-0 or better against another in the tournament: Kentucky vs. Utah (6-0), Indiana vs. LSU (5-0), Ohio State vs. Kentucky (5-0), Kentucky vs. Miami of Ohio (4-0), Kentucky vs. Illinois (4-0), UCLA vs. New Mexico State (4-0) and North Carolina vs. Michigan State (4-0).

• Tubby Smith is leaving Kentucky to assume coaching duties at Minnesota. Smith has taken his teams to the NCAA Tournament is each of the last 14 years: Tulsa, 1994-95; Georgia, 1996-97, and Kentucky for the last 10 years. That's the fifth-longest such streak in tournament history, and it's the third-longest current streak, behind Lute Olson (23) and Roy Williams (18).

Since 1998, Smith's first season at Kentucky, the Golden Gophers are one of two Big Ten teams not to win a tournament game. (Northwestern is the other.)


• John Dutton threw three interceptions, one short of his career high, in the Colorado Crush's 71-47 loss at Philadelphia. Dutton had thrown only three INTs (and 23 TDs) in four previous games against the Soul.


Jonathan Papelbon Papelbon

• The Red Sox announced Thursday that Jonathan Papelbon won't be used as a starting pitcher this season, as originally planned. Papelbon will return to the bullpen as the team's closer, a position at which he excelled for three months last season, before turning from rookie phenom to mortal closer. Papelbon converted each of his first 20 save opportunities, compiling a 0.31 ERA during that time (through June 8). But he blew six of next 18 chances, the most blown saves in the American League during that span (June 9 to Aug. 20), and he was shut down shortly thereafter with a tired shoulder.