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Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Griffin has historic day on historic day

By ESPN Stats & Info

The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that when the New York Knicks hosted the Phoenix Suns on Monday it was the 24th NBA game played at Madison Square Garden on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the highest total at any venue. The Staples Center is second with 20 MLK Day games played.

Traditionally, the Knicks have done well to defend home court on MLK Day, however Monday the trend was broken as the Suns handed the Knicks their sixth loss in the 24 home games played on this historic day.

Amar'e Stoudemire scored a season-high 41 points, which is the most for him since scoring 44 on March 19, last season against the Utah Jazz. It's the 16th time in his career that Stoudemire has topped 40 points, but only the third time his team has lost the game. Stoudemire has now scored at least 20 points in 25 straight games, the third-longest streak in Knicks history (he entered the game tied with Bernard King). Next on that list are Patrick Ewing (28) and Richie Guerin who is the franchise leader at 29 straight.

Stoudemire’s day was impressive, but Los Angeles Clippers rookie Blake Griffin had a day that will be etched in history forever.

Blake Griffin
Griffin
Griffin had a career-high 47 points, the highest total by any NBA player in a single game this season, and the most by a Clipper since Charles Smith scored 52 points at the Denver Nuggets on December 1, 1990. Griffin’s 47 points were also the second-most by any player in a game on MLK Day (Gilbert Arenas had 51 for the Washington Wizards against the Jazz in 2007).

What makes Griffin’s performance even more interesting is that his 79.2 field-goal percentage (19-of-24) was the highest by a rookie who took at least 20 shots in an NBA game since Dec. 6, 1984, when Hakeem Olajuwon made 18-of-22 (81.8 percent) for the Houston Rockets.

It gets better.

In the history of the NBA, only two other players under the age of 22 have ever had a game like Griffin's … Michael Jordan and Rick Barry. Griffin also became just the second rookie over the last 25 seasons to record at least 45 points and 10 rebounds. The other was a 20-year old Shaquille O'Neal back in February of 1993.

Now clearly nobody had a day like Griffin, but there was one more individual performance we couldn’t overlook.

Derrick Rose recorded his first career triple-double, which was the fourth against the Memphis Grizzlies. Over the last five seasons; Baron Davis, LeBron James and Brad Miller have also had triple doubles in Memphis. The only team that has allowed more triple-doubles at home over the last five seasons is the Sacramento Kings, who have surrendered five.