Sunday, January 28, 2007
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Tiger Woods shot a final-round 66 on Sunday to rally to victory at the Buick Invitational. It was Woods's fifth win in 10 appearances at the event, and his fourth in the past five years. Some perspective:
• Woods finished in the top 10 in all five appearances at the Buick Invitational that he didn't win. Only four other players placed in the top 10 in 10 consecutive years at any event, topped by Sam Snead, who recorded a 17-year streak at the Greater Greensboro Open (1949-65). The other three all did so at the Masters: Arnold Palmer (11 years, 1957-67); Jack Nicklaus (1970-79); and Lloyd Mangrum (1947-56).
- Woods became the third golfer to win three different tournaments at least five times. He also has five victories at two WGC events: the Bridgestone Invitational and the American Express Championship. Jack Nicklaus had six wins at the Masters and five at the Tournament of Champions (now known as the Mercedes-Benz Championship) and the PGA Championship. Sam Snead had eight wins at the Greater Greensboro Open, six at the Miami Open and five at the Palm Beach Round Robin.
- Only two other players won an event four times over a period of five years: Byron Nelson, who won the Tam O'Shanter Open in each of the only four years it was played (1941-42 and 1944-45); and Walter Hagen, who won the PGA Championship in four straight years (1924-27). But how about this: Tiger has done it twice previously. He won the Bay Hill Invitational four straight years from 2000-03 and the WGC-American Express Championship four times from 2002-06.
• The Suns defeated the Cavaliers 115-100 on Sunday for their 33rd win in their past 35 games. Only three other teams in NBA history went 33-2 over a 35-game span in one season: the Lakers in February-April 2000; the Bulls in 1995-96; and the Lakers in 1971-72 (34-1).
• Steve Nash scored 23 points with 15 assists and no turnovers in the Suns' victory. It was the second time this season that Nash recorded 15 or more assists in a turnover-free game. He also did it against the Trail Blazers nine days earlier. The only other player with even one such game this season is Deron Williams of the Jazz (Jan. 22 vs. Timberwolves).
• Making his first appearance since suffering a sprained left shoulder Jan. 8, Mo Williams scored 30 points with 10 assists in the Bucks' 107-105 win over the Knicks. Williams became the first player in NBA history to record at least 30 points and 10 assists in his first game back after a layoff of 20 days or longer. Honorable mention to Oscar Robertson, who scored 28 points with 11 assists after missing 22 days for the Cincinnati Royals in 1970.
• Michael Finley nailed a major-league three-pointer with 1.3 seconds to play to give the Spurs a 96-94 overtime victory against Lakers. Finley's shot traveled 27 feet, the same distance as a game-winner that he hit for the Mavericks with one second to play in the second OT against the Pacers in 1998. There were only four such field goals at least that long in the entire NBA in the nine-year interim -- overtime game-winners with less than five seconds remaining.
• Kobe Bryant scored six of the Lakers' 14 points in overtime, and he has now accounted for a total of 50 of his team's 106 points in OT this season (spanning seven OT games). The Lakers have 38 games to play this season, but Bryant has already scored more OT points than any other player in any season since Jalen Rose tallied 51 points in overtime in 2000-01.
• And in the darkest moments for the Blackhawks and the Flyers, there appeared Denis Arkhipov and Jeff Carter to snap their respective teams' winless streaks at 10 games and nine games. Both players scored a pair of goals including a late game-winner -- Carter with 62 seconds to play in the third period, Arkhipov in overtime.
Only two other players did over the last 20 seasons what Arkhipov and Carter did within minutes of each other Sunday afternoon. Both scored a late game-winning goal -- let's call it final two minutes of the third period or in overtime -- to end a winless streak of nine games or more, and had scored earlier in the game as well. The only others to do so since 1983 were Darby Hendrickson for the Wild in 2001 and Laurie Boschman for the Senators in 1993.
• Arkhipov was the third Blackhawks player in the past seven seasons to score in overtime after tying a game in the final minute of the third period. Jeff Hamilton did it last month against the Predators, and Alex Zhamnov did it in 2000. No other team has had three players who did so since the NHL resumed regular-season overtime play in 1983.
• Nikolai Khabibulin, the winning goaltender for the Blackhawks, has a 16-3-2 record with a 2.11 goals-against average in 22 regular-season games against the Flames, and he's never lost to them when playing at home (6-0-2 in nine games for the Jets/Coyotes, Lightning and Blackhawks).
• The Avalanche were outshot 41-12 in a 3-1 loss to the Red Wings. The Avs' 12 shots on goal matched their lowest total in a game since the franchise moved to Denver from Quebec in 1995. Colorado won the other game in which it was held to a dozen shots (3-0 at Dallas on Feb. 7, 1999).
• Three fights in their game against the Stars on Sunday increased the Fighting Ducks' league-leading total to 49 fighting penalties for the season. No other team has reached even the 30 mark.
• The U.S. Women's National Team played to a 1-1 draw against England in the Four Nations Tournament in China on Sunday. England had seven shots on goal, two more than the United States.
The U.S. team, which had won its previous six games against England by a combined score of 25-1, allowed more shots on goal than it took only once before in Greg Ryan's 32-game tenure as the team's head coach. That was in a scoreless tie against China last March.