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Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Elias Says ...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider

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


• Tuesday was the 111th day of the NBA's 2006-07 season on which at least four games were played, but it was the first of those 111 days on which visiting teams made a clean sweep.

To do so, the Sonics had to overcome a 25-point deficit to win in Minneapolis, and the Grizzlies had to come from 15 points down to beat the Lakers in Los Angeles.

 Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant made his first three field-goal attempts on Tuesday night, accounting for the Lakers' first seven points. But he shot 4-for-23 from the floor thereafter as the Grizzlies shocked the Lakers 88-86 at Staples Center. And that invoked The Cold Kobe Coda: The Lakers have now lost 15 of the 16 regular-season games in which Bryant has had at least 20 field-goal attempts and has made less than 30 percent of them.

Memphis held Bryant, who had averaged 53.6 points per game over his five preceding games, to 23 points. That ended Bryant's streak of 19 consecutive games scoring 25 or more points, denying him a new personal high. (He had a 19-game streak last season.)

The Grizzlies may not have accomplished all that much this season, but they have won a pair of games on the road, against the league's two most legendary franchises, in which they battled back from 15-point deficits. On Dec. 6, Memphis won such a game over the Celtics in Boston.

 Rashard Lewis
• The Timberwolves held an 88-63 lead over the Sonics just beyond the halfway mark of the third quarter in Minneapolis, and Minnesota still held a 15-point lead when Seattle's Rashard Lewis hit a technical foul shot with 6:24 to play in the fourth quarter. But the end of the game was all Sonics, as they outscored the Wolves 25-2 the rest of the way to win 114-106.

The Sonics' victory marked the first time in over three years that the visitors have won an NBA game by overcoming a deficit of 25 or more points. The last such win was registered by the Knicks, who overcame a 26-point third-quarter deficit to take a 103-100 decision at Milwaukee on March 14, 2004.

• The Mavericks defeated the Hornets in Oklahoma City to extend their winning streak to 21 games against the NBA's nomads. Of those 21 straight wins, 11 have come at Dallas (two at Reunion Arena, nine at American Airlines Center), two at Charlotte Coliseum, five at New Orleans Arena, and three at Ford Center.

The Mavericks' streak of 21 straight wins against the Hornets is the longest current head-to-head winning streak in the NBA; the last streak that long was a 21-gamer by the Spurs over the Grizzlies (1997-2002).

• The Cavaliers won 105-94 in Indianapolis, a result that (1) clinched a playoff berth for Cleveland; and (2) continued the Pacers' remarkable tailspin.

Call it the Curse of Peyton Manning. Coming into Super Bowl Sunday, the Pacers had a record of 26-21 and had won six of their last seven. But since Peyton won the big one, his city's basketball team is 5-18. More recently, the Pacers are 2-12 in the month of March -- the most losses that they have had in any calendar month since they went 4-12 in January 1990.


 Henrik Lundqvist
• The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead at Montreal -- but as all Rangers fans know, that's exactly what you don't want to see. And sure enough, the Canadiens scored five times in the second period -- routing Henrik Lundqvist along the way -- en route to a 6-4 victory over New York.

Pressed after the game about the significance of losing yet another game after taking a two-goal lead, Rangers head coach Tom Renney only commented, "I'm not even going there." So we will: This was the Rangers' seventh regulation-time loss this season in a game in which they had jumped to a 2-0 lead; no other NHL team has had more than three such losses!

Maybe this is why Renney won't go there: The Rangers are the first NHL team in 20 years to turn as many as seven 2-0 leads into losses in one season; in the 1986-87 season, both Calgary and Vancouver had coaches who didn't want to go there.

 Alexei Kovalev
Alexei Kovalev, who had two goals in Montreal's win, had not scored more than one goal in a game this season until Saturday when he had a pair of goals against Washington. It's the first time that Kovalev has had consecutive multiple-goal games since October 2002, when he did it for Pittsburgh.

Zach Parise, who had 14 goals for the Devils as a rookie last season, notched his 30th goal of this season when he opened the scoring in New Jersey's 3-2 win over the Islanders Tuesday night. Zach's father, J.P., played 14 seasons in the NHL and scored 20 or more goals in a season seven times but his career high for goals was 27 for the North Stars in 1972-73.

• The Flames and the Wild played 65 minutes of scoreless hockey in St. Paul before Calgary prevailed in a shootout to end the home team's nine-game winning streak. It was only the third time in the NHL's two-year use of its tie-breaking rule that a shootout had settled a previously scoreless game.

In each of the two previous cases, the home team had won the shootout: Philadelphia defeated Calgary in December 2005 and Montreal bested Florida on Nov. 28 of this season.

 Mike Modano
• The Stars blanked the Coyotes 6-0 in a game in which Mike Modano scored his 20th goal of the season. Modano became the 22nd NHL player to reach the 20-goal mark in 15 different seasons; at the top of that list stand Gordie Howe (22 seasons), Ron Francis (20), Dave Andreychuk (19) and the active leader, Brendan Shanahan (18).


• has reported that the 49ers have reached an agreement with Frank Gore to extend the contract of their star running back. Pretty much under the radar by NFL standards, Gore ran for 1,695 yards and averaged 5.43 yards per carry during the 2006 season.
 Frank Gore

Don't just sail past those numbers; they're special. Only five other players in NFL history have enjoyed seasons in which they reached the Gore levels for both rushing yards and yards per carry: Jim Brown (1963), O.J. Simpson (1973 and 1975), Walter Payton (1977), Eric Dickerson (1984) and Barry Sanders (1994 and 1997).