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DURANT DURING MARCH
Kevin Durant scored 37 points as the Thunder beat the Celtics in Boston. Durant scored a league-high 474 points in March (29.6 per game) to become only the second player in franchise history to lead the NBA in that category for a calendar month. The first was Rashard Lewis, who topped the league with 75 points for Seattle during his two games in October 2003 (including a 50-point game).
LOSING STREAKS END FOR WIZARDS AND T-WOLVES
The Wizards snapped their 16-game losing streak with a victory in New Orleans and the Timberwolves halted their 16-game slide by beating the Kings. Wednesday marked the first time in NBA history that two teams ended losing streaks of more than a dozen games on the same day.
BETTER WITH EACH PASSING MONTH
Amar'e Stoudemire, who scored 15 points in the Suns' win at New Jersey, had a 27.3 PPG scoring average during March, after posting per-game averages of 18.0 points in October, 20.0 in November, 21.2 in December, 21.9 in January and 25.3 in February. The only other NBA player (minimum: 10 PPG) who increased his scoring average in each succeeding calendar month this season is David West.
WIN #50 FOR DALLAS
The Mavericks needed overtime to dispose of the Grizzlies and post their 50th win of the season. Dallas has won at least 50 games in ten straight seasons to match the second-longest streak of that kind in NBA history. The Lakers had 12 consecutive 50-win seasons from 1979-80 through 1990-91. The Celtics did it in ten straight seasons from 1958-59 through 1967-68 and the Spurs won at least 50 games in each of the past ten seasons (1999-2000 through 2008-09) and need five more wins to extend their streak to 11 in a row.
HAWKS IMPROVE UNDER WOODSON
The Hawks defeated the Lakers to register their 48th win of the season, one more than their total from 2008-09. The Hawks have improved their record in each of five straight seasons since posting a 13-69 mark in 2004-05, their first year under Mike Woodson. Woodson is the only head coach in NBA history to improve his team's winning percentage in each of five straight seasons immediately following his initial campaign.
LAKERS' LOPSIDED LOSSES
The Lakers' 109-92 defeat in Atlanta was their 21st loss of the season (second-fewest in the league), more than half of which (11) have been by a margin of at least ten points. Seven NBA teams have fewer double-digit losses this season than the Lakers, including the Cavaliers, who have the fewest (four).
BUCKS SURRENDER LAST-MINUTE LEAD
LeBron James led the Cavaliers to a come-from-behind win over the Bucks. James tied the game with a pair of free throws with 49 seconds remaining and then made a layup with 17 seconds left to give Cleveland a lead it would not relinquish. It was the league-high seventh time this season that Milwaukee lost a game that it led in the final minute of either the fourth quarter or overtime.
JACK GETS BUSY
Jarrett Jack had no points but he distributed ten assists in only 18 minutes on the court for the Raptors in their victory over the Clippers. Jack was the third player to hand out at least ten assists without scoring a point in an NBA game this season, joining Chris Duhon (Jan. 26) and Jason Kidd (Saturday), but Jack was the first to do it while playing fewer than 20 minutes since Philadelphia's B.J. Tyler on Nov. 12, 1994.
LEE NOT ENOUGH
The Knicks were blown out in Portland despite David Lee's team-high totals of 20 points, ten rebounds and five assists. Lee has led his team (either outright or tied) in all three of those categories in eight games this season. The only other NBA player to do that more than five times is LeBron James (16).16
HILL, GINOBILI AND PARKER
The Spurs handled the Rockets with George Hill scoring a career-high 30 points while passing out seven assists. Hill was the third San Antonio player with a 30/7 game this season (PTS/AST), joining Manu Ginobili (Nov. 9) and Tony Parker (Nov. 25). That's the most amount of different players to do so this season for any NBA team.
A DOZEN FOR HASLEM
Udonis Haslem was 4-for-5 from the floor for the Heat on Wednesday, sinking his first four shots to extend his streak of successful field-goal attempts to 12 (over a two-game span), matching his career high. It was the longest streak of consecutive field goals by a Miami player since Haslem made 12 in a row in January 2007.
NO SOPHOMORE JINX
Brandon Sutter, who made his NHL debut last season and scored only one goal in 50 games for the Hurricanes, scored his 20th goal this season in Carolina's 2-1 win at Montreal. Sutter is the first player in NHL history to reach the 20-goal mark in a season after playing at least 40 games and scoring no more than one goal in the previous season. The previous high for goals by a player coming off such a season was 18 by Dave Manson in 1988-89 and Landon Wilson in 2000-01.
THREE FOR OTT
Steve Ott notched the first three-goal game of his NHL career in the Stars' 5-1 win over the Sharks and he did it by scoring shorthanded, on the power play and at even strength. Ott was the fourth NHL player to score a "full house" hat trick this season; the others are Dany Heatley (Nov. 20), Nathan Horton (Dec. 14) and Rene Bourque (Dec. 28).
CHANGE OF SCENERY
Lee Stempniak, who scored the Coyotes' only goal in their 2-1 loss at Calgary, led all NHL players with 13 goals in March. He did so while playing for two teams during the month. Stempniak played one game for Toronto last month (no goals on March 2) and then scored 13 goals in 14 games after he was traded to Phoenix on March 3.
Curtis McElhinney, who was acquired by Anaheim from Calgary at the March 3rd trading deadline, has a 4-0-0 record in five games for the Ducks following his 5-2 win against the Avalanche in Denver. McElhinney's four wins in the four weeks he's spent with Anaheim equal his victory total in the 29 games he played over parts of three seasons with the Flames (4-12-1, including an 0-8-1 record through his first 18 NHL games). He's the only goaltender in Ducks history to win his first four decisions with the team.
SHUTOUTS ON THE ROAD
Antti Niemi's 4-0 win at Minnesota was his seventh shutout of the season and his fifth in a road game. Niemi is the fourth goaltender in Blackhawks history to record at least five road shutouts in one season. The others were Charlie Gardiner (seven in 1930-31), Tony Esposito (six in both 1969-70 and 1973-74) and Jeff Hackett (five in 1997-98).
SABRES POUR IT ON
Buffalo outshot Florida 41-15 in its 6-2 rout of the Panthers. It was the 11th time this season that the Sabres recorded at least 40 shots on goal in a game but only their fourth victory in those 11 games (4-6-1). Buffalo's other wins in 40-shot games this season were by narrow margins: 1-0, 5-3, and 3-2 in a shootout.
ON THE MARCH
Jason Pominville, who scored the first goal for the Sabres, recorded 16 points in 16 games in March (8 goals, 8 assists). Pominville has averaged better than a point per game in March over the last four seasons (63 points in 59 games, 1.07 points per game), well above his average in all other months combined (210 points in 263 games, 0.80 points per game).
SMITH BLANKS CHAMPS
Mike Smith, who made 27 saves in his 2-0 win at Pittsburgh, has faced the Penguins three times over the last two seasons and won all three games, allowing just one goal. Smith's victory against the Penguins marked only the third time that a Lightning goaltender has shut out a defending Stanley Cup champion. The other Tampa Bay goaltenders to do that were Nikolai Khabibulin (Jan. 2003 vs. Detroit) and Johan Holmqvist (Feb. 2007 at Carolina).