Saturday, March 3, 2007
Updated: March 5, 10:35 AM ET
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Mavericks have won 50 of their last 55 games after starting the season 0-4. They are only the second team in NBA history to win 50 of 55 games within one season: the 1995-96 Bulls also won 50 of 55 games at one point. (By the way, no team in the history of either Major League Baseball or the NHL has ever won 50-of-55 in one season, either.)
• The Celtics, owners of the worst record in the NBA, have won two straight road games -- Saturday in New Jersey and Monday in Houston -- after trailing by at least 10 points in the fourth quarter of each game. Over the last seven seasons, the team with the undisputed worst record in the NBA has won only one other road game in which it trailed by double-digits in the final quarter. On Feb. 2, 2002, the 9-35 Bulls won in Seattle after trailing by 13 in the fourth quarter.
• Over the last two seasons, no other NBA team has won consecutive road games after trailing by at least 10 points in the fourth quarter in each game.
• The Celtics trailed, 82-77, with 12 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. They're the first road team to win while trailing by that much with that little left on the clock in nearly nine years, since the Pacers won in Atlanta after trailing by six with 11 seconds left on April 9, 1998.
• What's the opposite of a triple-double? Jason Kidd had only four points, six rebounds and six assists in 40 minutes in the loss. That's the most minutes Kidd has played in any game in his NBA career in which he did not have more than six points, rebounds or assists.
• The Knicks won in Atlanta after trailing by 16 points at the end of the first quarter. It's only the third time in team history, and the first time in nearly 37 years, that the Knicks won a road game in which they trailed by at least 15 at the end of the first period: they did it against the Lakers in 1967 (in a game played at the Long Beach Arena) and against the 76ers in 1970.
• The Maple Leafs lost to the Sabres in Toronto on Saturday, 3-1. The Leafs have lost their last three home games, and have been held to only two goals in the three games. It's the first time in club history that the Maple Leafs have lost three straight home games, and scored no more than two goals over the three games.
• Curtis Sanford and the Blues had a 2-0 lead at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon until defenseman Karel Rachunek scored for the Rangers at the 11:14 mark of the third period. The Rangers tied the game on a goal by Sean Avery with just under three minutes left and won it via a shootout.
The Blues have played 125 regular-season games against the Rangers but never shut them out. The closest they've come to doing it (in terms of the furthest into a game that the Rangers scored) was on Nov. 26, 1967, in the first game between the teams. The Rangers won 1-0 on Phil Goyette's goal against Seth Martin at 14:57 of the third period.
Only two NHL teams have a longer current streak of games without shutting out a particular opponent than St. Louis has versus the Rangers: the Maple Leafs, who have gone 154 games since they last blanked the Rangers (in February 1967), and the Kings, who have never held the Canadiens goalless in 130 games against them.
• Florida's Ed Belfour notched his 20th win of the season in the Panthers' victory over the Lightning. It's the 15th time that Belfour has reached the 20-win plateau in a season, the most among active goaltenders and second-most in NHL history, behind Patrick Roy, who did it 17 times. Tony Esposito is third with 13 20-win seasons.
• Peter Forsberg had three assists in the third period of the Predators' 6-3 win over the Kings. It's the eighth time in his career that Forsberg has had at least three assists in one period, the most of any active player. He only needs to do it 37 more times to catch Wayne Gretzky for the all-time lead in that category.
• The Islanders beat their former division rival the Capitals 6-2 in Washington on Saturday night for their largest margin of victory in a road game against the Caps since Nov. 23, 1984. That day the Islanders won 5-1 at the old Capital Centre, with two goals from Mike Bossy, two from Mats Hallin and one from Bryan Trottier.
• Only 12 players are under par after 54 holes of the Honda Classic. It's the lowest number of players under par after 54 holes of a full-field, non-major PGA TOUR event since the 1999 PLAYERS Championship, when only nine were in red numbers after three rounds of play.
• Mark Wilson sits alone atop the leaderboard after 54 holes of the Honda Classic. For Wilson, who is still seeking his first win on the PGA TOUR, it's the first time that he's held a lead heading into the final round of a TOUR event. There have been four Honda Classics in which a 54-hole leader, who had never won on the PGA TOUR, went on to earn his first career victory: 1979 (Larry Nelson), 1996 (Tim Herron), 1997 (Stuart Appleby) and 2004 (Todd Hamilton).
• Winthrop won the Big South tournament Saturday, their seventh tournament win in the last nine seasons (since 1999). Two other teams, both of whose 2007 conference tournaments have not started yet, have won seven times since 1999: Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference.
• Jeff "Suitcase" Garcia started at least 10 games in each of his five seasons with the 49ers (1999-2003), then started 10 for the Browns in 2004, 5 for the Lions in 2005 and 6 for the Eagles in 2006. If Garcia starts at least five games next season for the Buccaneers, with whom he signed on Saturday, he will become the first quarterback in NFL history to start at least five games for five different teams over five consecutive seasons.
The only other quarterback to start at least five games for four teams over four seasons is Dave Krieg, who did that from 1993 to 1996 with the Chiefs (5 starts), Lions (7), Cardinals (16) and Bears (12).