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Gasol: Grizzlies' 7th different scoring leader in last 7 games
From Elias: Mark Gasol led the Grizzlies with 18 points as Memphis defeated the Bulls, 85-77, in Chicago - and thus, the Grizzlies continued to display, by one measure, the kind of balance rarely seen in professional basketball. Gasol became the seventh different Memphis player to produce a team-high points total - to lead the team outright in scoring, in fact - over the Grizzlies' last seven games. Starting on February 22, the Grizzlies' game-by-game scoring leaders have been Mike Conley (16 points), Courtney Lee (18), Mike Miller (19), Zach Randolph (23), Tayshaun Prince (21), Jon Leuer (19) and Gasol.
Remarkably, it's not the first time this season that the Grizzlies have put together such a streak. Starting on November 20, they had a different scoring leader in each of eight straight games; the same thing with regard to the eight games starting November 22 and the eight starting on November 25. But the Grizzlies have now done something that, prior to this season, had never happened in the history of the NBA: They have had two distinct, non-overlapping streaks of at least seven games with a different outright scoring leader. While no team had ever done that prior to the current season, the Lakers did it earlier this season, with two separate streaks of that type in November.
Lakers tote board: 408 points allowed over last 3 games
From Elias: The Nuggets were the latest team to put up big offensive numbers against the Lakers, winning by a 134-126 score on Friday night. That on the heels of the Clippers' 142-94 beatdown of the Purple and Gold the previous night, and the Pelicans' 132-125 win over the Lakers on Tuesday.
The total of 408 points allowed by the Lakers over those three games matched the most allowed by any NBA team over a span of three straight games over the past 23 seasons. One other team yielded 408 points over three games over that period - and the omen is not good for the Lakers. In March of 2008, the Sonics allowed 408 points over three straight losses to the Nuggets (who scored 168 points), the Suns (110) and the Lakers (130). Following that season, the Sonics franchise relocated from Seattle to Oklahoma City. Just sayin'.
The last NBA team to allow more than 130 points in each of three successive games was the Nuggets, back in December of 1990. That was the season in which the Nuggets, under head coach Paul Westhead used a breakneck run-and-gun style that resulted in the team allowing 130.8 points per game over the season as a whole, by far the highest such average in NBA history. And it's the first time that the Lakers have ever allowed 130-plus points in each of three straight games.
Lawson joins All-Stars Paul and Curry
From Elias: Ty Lawson finished with 30 points and 17 assists in the Nuggets' high-scoring victory, joining Chris Paul and Stephen Curry as the only players in the NBA this season to generate games of 30-plus points and 15-plus assists. Both Paul and Curry have had two such games, but neither of them had as many as 17 assists in either of their games. You have to go back nearly three years to find the last NBA player to be credited with as many as 17 assists in a game in which he scored 30-plus points; that was Derrick Rose, who had 30 points and 17 assists at Milwaukee on March 26, 2011.
Wild night in Big D
From Elias: The Trail Blazers fought back from an early 44-14 deficit at Dallas, took a lead that widened to as many as seven points in the fourth quarter and stood at 98-92 with four minutes, 26 seconds to play. But Portland never scored again, and the Mavericks, scoring the game's last 11 points, came away with a 103-98 verdict. Portland would have been the first NBA team to win a game in which it had trailed by 30-or-more points since the Kings overcame a 35-point deficit to win a game at Chicago in 2009. Instead, the Blazers became the first NBA team this season to lose a game in which they held a lead with at least four minutes to play and never scored again.
Another night at the office for Love
From Elias: Another night, another 25/10 game for Kevin Love, who provided 28 points and 14 rebounds to the Timberwolves' cause in a 114-101 triumph over the Pistons. It was the 34th time this season that Love had produced a 25/10 game - already the highest single-season total for any NBA player since Kevin Garnett, himself then with the Timberwolves, had 40 such games during the 2003-04 season.
The all-time single-season record? Eighty 25/10 games. Yes, 80, by Wilt Chamberlain in the 1961-62 season (the year that he averaged 50.4 points per game). And don't think for a moment that Wilt's total of 80 means that he had two games in which he failed to reach 25/10. No way. In the 1961-62 season, NBA teams played an 80-game schedule, not the current 82, and so, yes, Wilt produced a 25/10 game in every game he played during that very special season!
Jefferson is some kind of hot
From Elias: Al Jefferson poured in 28 points and stayed red hot from the floor, connecting on 12 of his 18 field-goal attempts, as the Bobcats took another step toward a playoff berth by taking a 101-92 decision from the Cavaliers. It was Jefferson's fifth consecutive game scoring 20-plus points, and in each of his last four games, Big Al has produced 25-or-more points while shooting over 60 percent from the floor. No other player in Charlotte's NBA history - the Bobcats or the Hornets - has produced even three successive games of that nature.
It was the seventh time this season that Jefferson has had a game of 25-plus points while shooting over 60 percent from the field - and all of those games have come since January 14. Over that period of less than eight weeks, he shares the NBA lead for the most such games with Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant.
Rockets thrash Pacers, 2 nights after Bobcats did the same
From Elias: James Harden scored 16 points in the third quarter as the Rockets blew open a close game and went on to drub the Pacers, 112-86. Indiana's defeat came on the heels of dropping a 109-87 decision at Charlotte two nights earlier, but even after their two losses, the Pacers' won-lost record stands at 46-16. The Pacers became only the fourth team in NBA history to lose two consecutive games, both by margins of 20-plus points after entering the game at least 30 games above the .500 mark. The Syracuse Nationals lost two straight games like that in 1950, the Celtics did it in 1991 and the Suns in 2007.
Knicks' quick starts are becoming habit
From Elias: The Knicks jumped off to a 17-point first-quarter lead and eased to a 108-81 win over the Jazz. That was the third straight game in which the Knicks ran out to a significant first-quarter lead; they led the Pistons by 14 points in the opening period on Monday - OK, Detroit came back to win that game - and they led the Timberwolves by 16 points on Wednesday.
It's the first time that the Knicks have fashioned leads of 14-or-more points in the first quarter in each of three successive games since December 2003. But head coach Mike Woodson, whose job status has become daily fodder in the 24/7 media mill, should not take solace in the Knicks' newfound ability to start games impressively: the head coach of that 2003 Knicks team that had three similarly impressive starts, Don Chaney, was let go by the team just two weeks later.
Nets and Celtics play one strange game
From Elias: NBA fans have wondered for years, who would win a game played between a team that missed its first 17 three-point field-goal attempts and a team that finished the game with 28 turnovers? The Nets and the Celtics took it on themselves to provide an answer on Friday night in Boston. The Nets missed their first 17 three-point shots, becoming the first NBA team to do that since the Nuggets, in a game at Portland last season, went 0-for-22 on threes for the entire game. Meanwhile, the Celtics accumulated, in one game, more turnovers than the Red Sox scored runs (27) in winning the World Series last fall. It matched the most turnovers by any team in any NBA game this season (the Bulls had 28 in a game on March 3), and it was Boston's highest turnover total in a game in just over 20 years (since it had 28 on Groundhog Day 1994).
So who wins such a game? Boston's advantages in shooting (44 percent to 36 percent) and rebounding (51 to 28) offset Brooklyn's edge in turnovers (14 to 28). The Nets wound up making only four of their 30 three-point attempts, a success rate of 13.3 percent. That's the lowest three-ball shooting percentage for any team in NBA history in a game in which it took at least 30 such shots - and there have been more than 1100 such games over the years!
Jagr's 18th season with 20 goals
From Elias: Jaromir Jagr scored his 20th goal of the season in the second period of the Devils' game in Detroit on Friday night, the 18th time in his NHL career that he has scored 20 goals in a season. Jagr's total of 18 seasons with 20 goals is the highest by any active NHL player and fifth-most in league history, behind only Gordie Howe (22), Ron Francis (20), Dave Andreychuk (19) and Brendan Shanahan (19).
At age 42 years, 20 days on Friday, Jagr is the second player in NHL history who was at least 42 years old at the time he scored his 20th goal of a season. Gordie Howe was 42 years, 324 days old when he reached the 20-goal plateau for the 22nd and final time in his legendary NHL career on Feb. 18, 1971.
Franzen & Nyquist lead Red Wings over Devils
From Elias: Johan Franzen (two goals, two assists) and Gustav Nyquist (one goal, three assists) each scored four points for the Red Wings in their 7-4 win over the Devils. Over the last seven seasons, there were only two other games in which a pair of Detroit players each recorded at least four points: a 5-2 win over St. Louis on Dec. 15, 2010 (Nicklas Lidstrom 4, Henrik Zetterberg 4) and a 7-2 victory against Columbus on March 26, 2012 (Todd Bertuzzi 4, Zetterberg 4).
McDonagh scores another shortie for Rangers
From Elias: Defenseman Ryan McDonagh scored a shorthanded goal for the Rangers in their overtime loss to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, and he did so again in their game against the Hurricanes on Friday. Over the last 19 seasons, the only other NHL defenseman to score a shorthanded goal in each of two consecutive team games was the Rangers' Michal Rozsival on Nov. 17 and Nov. 19, 2007. This season, the only other NHL player, at any position, to contribute a shorthanded goal in each of two straight team games is the Coyotes' Antoine Vermette (Jan. 20-22).
Nash's 10th straight season of 20 goals
From Elias: Rick Nash reached the 20-goal mark for the second time in his two seasons with the Rangers when he produced a score-tying goal in the third period of his team's victory at Carolina. Nash scored 17 goals as a rookie with the Blue Jackets (in 2002-03) but has scored at least 20 goals in all ten seasons since then, the longest current streak of 20-goal seasons in the NHL. Alex Ovechkin and Thomas Vanek have scored 20 or more goals in each of the last nine seasons (spanning their entire NHL careers).
Luongo throws a shutout in return to Panthers
From Elias: Roberto Luongo began his second tour of duty with the Panthers with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Sabres. Luongo, re-acquired by Florida from Vancouver on Tuesday, did not earn a win in his first stint with the Panthers (which began in October 2000) until his 11th game; he had a record of 0-7-2 (with one no-decision) and 2.74 GAA over his first 10 games. Luongo's first shutout during his original tenure in Florida was a 0-0 tie at Minnesota in his third game with the Panthers (Oct. 22, 2000).
Rookie Colborne leads Flames' comeback
From Elias: Rookie Joe Colborne scored two of the Flames' three third-period goals when Calgary rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Islanders, 4-3. Colborne is only the second Flames rookie to score two third-period goals in one game over the last 24 seasons. But we'd bet that even many die-hard Flames fans might not remember the player who did that, Clarke Wilm, in a 5-1 Calgary win on home ice against Colorado on April 15, 1999.
Recurring nightmare for Islanders
From Elias: The Islanders squandered a two-goal lead in their 4-3 loss at Calgary on Friday, after doing the same in a 3-2 overtime loss at Edmonton the day before. In fact, the Islanders have failed to win any of the last five games in which they led by two goals (three regulation losses, one overtime loss and one shootout loss). They're the first NHL team with a five-game winless streak of that kind within one season since the Maple Leafs went through that sort of agony in the 1985-86 season. The Islanders' total of 12 games that they failed to win after leading by two goals this season is twice that of any other NHL team (Detroit and Washington each have six such losses).