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Thursday, February 9, 2012
Superman, 3-pointers fly for Magic

By ESPN Stats & Information

Dwight Howard became the first NBA player this season to record a double-double in the first quarter on the way to finishing with 25 points and 24 rebounds as the Orlando Magic beat the Miami Heat.

It was the sixth 20-20 game of the season for Howard. No other player in the league has more than two such games, and the rest of the league has combined to only match Howard’s total. That’s not a unique position for Howard; during the 2008-09 season, he had nine 20-20 games while the rest of the league combined for eight.

Howard doesn’t often shoot from behind the arc, but he did attempt his fifth 3-pointer of the season on Wednesday. He wasn’t the only Magic player to go long-range in the game. Orlando attempted a franchise-record 42 3-pointers. The Magic were the fifth team since the 1996-97 season to attempt more shots from 3-point range than inside the arc in a single game.

Stop the Lin-sanity
Jeremy Lin continues to take New York by storm. In his second NBA start, Lin scored 23 points and dished out 10 assists to finish with his first career double-double to lead the New York Knicks pas the Washington Wizards.

Lin is the first player since LeBron James in 2003 to score at least 20 points and hand out at least 8 assists in his first two NBA starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only five players have done it since the merger. Greg Anthony (1991-92), Negele Knight (1990-91) and Billy McKinney (1978-79) were the other three.

Even before he moved into the starting lineup, the Knicks offense had been much better with Lin on the court than sitting on the bench. New York scores nearly 12 more points per 48 minutes with Lin on the court, with most of the difference coming due to getting open shots in the paint.

Statistical Feats of the Night
The Houston Rockets bench outscored the starters 66-37 in the team’s win at the Portland Trail Blazers. The 66 bench points tied for second-most in the NBA this season, behind the 68 scored by the Dallas Mavericks against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 14.

Tony Parker was 12-for-24 from the field and 13-for-13 from the free-throw line against the Philadelphia 76ers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Spurs starting guard to make at least half his field-goal attempts and convert all his free throws in a game (minimum: 10 made FG and FT) was George Gervin during the 1983-84 season.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points, his third straight game with at least 24 points after only topping that mark twice in his first 19 games this season. Nowitzki moved past Adrian Dantley into 21st on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Chase Budinger
Budinger
Plus-Minus Note of the Night
All 10 starters for the Rockets and Trail Blazers finished the game with a negative plus-minus. All five Rockets bench players finished in positive territory. Chase Budinger, who scored a game-high 22 points, recorded a game-high plus-15. Jamal Crawford, who led the Blazers with 21 points off the bench, was the only Portland player to avoid a minus, finishing at plus-8.