Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Mavericks' 12-game winning streak ended Monday night in Washington, but Dallas avoided a 2-game losing streak with a 92-75 win at New Jersey Tuesday. 18 of the last 20 teams that won 12 or more consecutive games in one season rebounded to win the first game after the streak ended. The only exceptions were the 2003-04 Pistons and the 2001-02 Spurs, both of which were unlucky following 13-game winning streaks.
• Entering Tuesday, the Warriors were allowing the most points per game (105.6) in the NBA. However, opponents' starting centers were averaging just 7.4 points per game against Golden State, fewest in the league, and no center had scored more than 21 points in a game. But Tuesday, Yao Ming scored 23 points in the first half on his way to 27 as the Rockets blew out the Warriors, 118-90.
Golden State lost by 28 one night after falling by 40 in San Antonio. The margin of 68 points is the second largest in franchise history over back-to-back days. The Warriors lost a home-and-home series to the Suns by 69 points in December, 1971.
• The Pistons led the Trail Blazers 24-16 at the end of the first quarter, but lost 88-85. Over the last three full seasons (since 2003-04), Detroit had been 28-1 at home when taking a lead of at least eight points into the second quarter, the only loss coming against Utah on January 7, 2006.
• Steve Nash recorded 20 assists in the Suns' 127-102 win over the Kings, the most in a non-overtime game since Cleveland's Andre Miller had 22 on December 15, 2001.
• Joe Johnson scored 34 points in the Hawks' 102-87 loss at Seattle, the fifth straight game he has scored at least 30. That's the longest streak by an Atlanta player since Dominique Wilkins in March, 1993.
• Elton Brand had 33 points and 17 rebounds in the Clippers' 101-97 win over the Heat. It was Brand's 8th 30-point, 15-rebound game since joining the Clippers in 2001-02. The only players in franchise history (which dates back to the Buffalo Braves in 1970) with more 30/15 games are Bob McAdoo (68) and Elmore Smith (9).
• The Thrashers trailed the Maple Leafs 2-0 at the second intermission, but Atlanta exploded for five third period goals and won 5-2. It's been over six years since a team scored five or more goals in the third after being shut out in the first two periods. On November 29, 2000, also at Air Canada Centre against the Leafs, the Blues trailed 4-0 after two but rallied for a 6-5 overtime win.
Tuesday was only the second time in Toronto franchise history that the Leafs took a lead of at least two goals into the third period and lost by a three-goal (or greater) margin. On Jan. 14, 1981 at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto carried a 3-1 advantage into the third period against Edmonton only to lose, 7-4.
• Olli Jokinen scored the game-winner with just over five minutes remaining as the Panthers snapped a six-game winless streak with a 3-2 win at Pittsburgh. It was Jokinen's 12th goal of the season, but it was his first on the road. Since 1994-95, only one other player has scored his first 11 (or more) goals of the season at home: Bill Guerin for Dallas in 2003-04.
• The Blues retired Brett Hull's uniform #16 in a ceremony prior to their game against the Red Wings on Tuesday. Hull scored 527 goals (in 744 games) during his ten-plus seasons with St. Louis, 116 more than any other NHL player scored over that span (March 8, 1988 through the end of the 1997-98 season). The rest of the top five: Mario Lemieux (411), Steve Yzerman (399), Luc Robitaille (393), Brendan Shanahan (356).
• Ottawa beat the New York Islanders, 4-2 at Nassau Coliseum. Long Island has always been the Senators' favorite road destination. In 1992-93, their first season, Ottawa started 0-39-0 on the road before beating New York, 5-3, on April 10, 1993. Their all-time record in Uniondale is 16-5-6 (.704), the third best road record by any current team against another (minimum 25 games) behind the Blues at San Jose (20-5-2, .778) and the Flyers at Florida (20-6-1, .759).
• Fredrik Norrena of the Blue Jackets shut out the Avalanche in Colorado, 3-0, after blanking the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday, his first NHL shutout. Since 1997-98, only one other goaltender had recorded his first two career shutouts in consecutive games: Atlanta's Michael Garnett in December, 2005.
In 22 previous meetings between Columbus and Colorado, the Jackets had never led by more than one goal at any point.
• Buffalo's Daniel Briere scored three goals in the Sabres' 4-1 win over the Lightning. It was the third hat trick versus Tampa Bay this season, tied with Toronto for the most against any NHL team. Carolina's Justin Williams (Oct. 16) and Pittsburgh's Nils Ekman (Nov. 8) had the earlier hat tricks against the Lightning.
• The Dodgers and Takashi Saito agreed to a one-year contract on Tuesday. In 2006, Saito struck out 107 batters in 78 1/3 innings, a rate of 12.3 per nine innings. The only other pitcher in major league history who was 36 or older on opening day to record a strikeout rate of over 12 in at least 70 innings was Randy Johnson, who did it in 2000 and 2001.
• The Padres have reportedly signed Greg Maddux to a one-year contract. Maddux has pitched at least 190 innings in each of the last 19 seasons, which ties Cy Young (1891-1909) for the longest streak in Major League history. If Maddux had recorded just two more outs in 2002, he'd have 19 straight seasons of 200 innings.