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Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Elias Says ...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

NBA

• The Mavericks' 92-77 victory in New York was their 41st victory in their last 45 games -- and that, friends, equals the NBA's all-time record for most wins over any 45-game span in any of the league's 61 seasons.

Three other teams went on 41-of-45 runs, and all three of them went on to win that season's championship: Wilt Chamberlain's 76ers in 1966-67, Wilt's Lakers in 1971-72 and Michael Jordan's Bulls in 1995-96.

• The Cavaliers held an 81-71 lead with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter at Charlotte, but the Bobcats outscored the Cavs 37-19 over those eight minutes plus the five of overtime.

It ended a streak of 75 consecutive losses for the Bobcats in games in which they faced a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. Charlotte's last such win came on Nov. 5, 2005 against Boston.

LeBron James
James

LeBron James scored 30 points after halftime, but he took each of Cleveland's last four field-goal attempts in regulation time, and missed them all, including a 3-point attempt at the buzzer. James is now 0-for-9 this season on 3-point field goal attempts taken in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or any overtime period with the game within a three-point margin.

• Tyson Chandler scored 16 points, collected 11 rebounds and made eight of his nine field-goal attempts in the Hornets' 114-103 victory at Memphis. Chandler is now averaging 12.4 rebounds per game this season while shooting 62.7 percent from the floor.

Here's one that'll make you sound smart: Only one player in NBA history has ever had a season in which he reached the Chandler levels in both rebounds per game and shooting percentage. That player, of course, was Wilt, who did it three times (24.2 rebounds and 68.3 percent in 1966-67; 19.2 and 64.9 percent in 1971-72; and 18.6 and 72.7 percent in 1972-73).

• The Hornets made 42 of their 70 field-goal attempts against the Grizzlies, ending a streak of 707 consecutive games in which the Hornets had failed to hit 60 percent from the floor. That had been the longest current streak of that type in the NBA, and it began exactly nine years earlier.

The Hornets' last 60-percent game came nine years and two days ago, on March 18, 1998, when the then-Charlotte Hornets, under head coach Dave Cowens (think Glen Rice, Vernon Maxwell, J.R. Reid), shot 60 percent in a 111-85 win over Utah.

It was the 16th NBA game this season in which one team shot at least 60 percent from the floor; all 16 of those games have resulted in victories.

• The Nuggets came into New Jersey on a four-game winning streak, including a 27-point victory over the Lakers and a 24-point triumph over the Suns during which they shot 54 percent and 57 percent from the floor, respectively.

But while Denver shot just 40 percent from the floor -- 32 for 80 -- against the Nets, it was good enough to secure a 94-90 victory. It's the 12th time this season that the Nuggets have shot 40 percent or less from the floor, but the first of those games that they have won. That equals the numbers that Denver had in that category all last season: 12 games shooting 40 percent or less, and only one win in those 12 games.

Allen Iverson
Iverson

• Allen Iverson had four steals in Denver's victory, lifting his season total to 103 and therein lies the tale. The Answer became the answer to this trivia question: Since the NBA began keeping track of steals in 1973, who is the only player to get both 1,000 points and 100 steals in each of his first 11 seasons in the league?

Iverson surpassed Julius Erving, who reached 1,000 points and 100 steals in each of his first 10 seasons in the NBA.

• Carlos Boozer earned his keep in the Jazz's 104-100 win over the Warriors, scoring 25 points and gathering 21 rebounds. It was just the third game this season in which an NBA player amassed both 25 points and 20 rebounds; the others came on consecutive days in January, by Seattle's Nick Collison (29 and 21) and Orlando's Dwight Howard (30 and 25).

Boozer was the first Utah player to go 25-and-20 in more than six years, since Donyell Marshall had a 26-point, 21-rebound game on Jan. 15, 2001. You might be surprised to learn that the franchise record of nine such games is merely shared by Karl Malone; back in the franchise's New Orleans years, Truck Robinson also had nine of them.

• Yao Ming scored 32 points to lead the Rockets to a 86-76 victory over the Pacers. It was the highest point total by an opposing center against the Pacers since the last time that Yao faced them -- on March 8, 2006 -- when he poured in 38 points.

Gilbert Arenas
Arenas

• Gilbert Arenas has had an undeniably outstanding season, but Tuesday night was another clunker. Arenas shot 4-for-16 from the floor (missing all seven of his 3-point field-goal attempts) in the Wizards' two-point loss at Portland.

That was the 15th game this season in which Arenas has shot 30 percent or less from the floor. Considering games in which a player had at least 10 field-goal attempts, only one NBA player has had more 30 percent or less clunkers this season; Mike Bibby has had 19 such games.

NHL

• The Bruins-Canadiens game marked the 341st regular-season meeting of the teams in Montreal, and the Canadiens' 1-0 victory was only their second by that score in all of those meetings! Rookie Jaroslav Halak bested Tim Thomas on a second-period goal by rookie Guillaume Latendresse.

The teams first met in the Mount Royal Arena on Christmas Day of 1924, and through six regular-season games played there, 306 at the Forum and now 29 games at the Bell Centre, the only other 1-0 Canadiens victory came on Jan. 19, 1939, when Wilf Cude bested Frankie Brimsek on a second-period goal by Johnny (The Black Cat) Gagnon.

But back to Tuesday's game. Halak became the first Canadiens rookie to earn a 1-0 shutout win in goal since Ken Dryden beat the Maple Leafs by that score on Jan. 19, 1972 -- yes, 33 years to the day after Boston's last 1-0 loss at Montreal! And now, the piece de resistance: This was the first 1-0 victory in Canadiens' history -- repeat, the first ever -- in which both the winning goaltender and the goal-scorer were rookies!

Niklas Backstrom
Backstrom

• The Wild took a 3-0 lead over the Coyotes into the third period and held on for a 3-2 victory in St. Paul. Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who was in net for the win, is now 15-3-2 in 21 games since Jan. 26. Backstrom's total of 15 wins over that span matches those of Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo for the league high.

Minnesota has now won seven consecutive games while allowing no more than two goals in each, matching the longest such winning streak by an NHL team this season. The Red Wings did that from Oct. 28 through Nov. 14.

Nik Antropov
Antropov

• Nik Antropov had the game-winning goal for Toronto in its 2-1 victory over the Devils. Antropov has six goals in nine games since March 1, and that's already the most goals that Antropov has scored in any calendar month in his seven-season NHL career.

• Ed Belfour and the Panthers finished a four-game season-series sweep of the Flyers with a 4-1 victory in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. Belfour got the win in all four games and allowed a total of five goals: two in the first game and one in each of the last three. Belfour had only seven wins in 25 games against Philadelphia in his previous 16 NHL seasons (7-10-8).