Elias Says: January 24, 2018

James loses despite joining elite club

LeBron James scored 28 points, becoming the seventh and youngest player to reach 30,000 career points, in the Cavaliers’ 114–102 loss at San Antonio. Four of the previous six players won the game that game they crossed the 30,000-point plateau. The two who lost did so by margins of one (Wilt Chamberlain in 1972) and two (Karl Malone in 2000) points.

Aldridge outscores the King

LaMarcus Aldridge led all players with 30 points in the Spurs’ 114–102 home win over the Cavaliers. Aldridge has won seven of his last 10 head-to-head matchups with LeBron James, dating back to March 2011. Tuesday’s game was the fourth in which Aldridge outscored James, having also done so in March 2008 (25 to 24), January 2013 (20 to 15), and November 2014 (16 to 11.)

Temple comes off the bench to shatter career scoring mark

Garrett Temple, who had never scored more than 23 points in 417 previous NBA games, came off the bench and led all players with 34 points in the Kings’ 105–99 win at Orlando. Temple is the first player since Minnesota’s Corey Brewer in April 2014 to break his personal single-game scoring record by a margin of 10-or-more points after having played at least 400 previous NBA games. But he’s the first player in NBA history to accomplish this feat in a game that he did not start.

Temple, who made 14 of 17 shots from the floor (82.4%) on Tuesday, is the second Kings bench player to score 30+ points and shoot at least 80% from the field since the team relocated to Sacramento in 1985. Kevin Martin scored 39 points, shooting 14-for-16 (87.5%) on Jan. 14, 2008 against Dallas.

Curry overcomes short-range struggles

Stephen Curry led all players with 32 points in the Warriors’ 123–112 home win over the Knicks. As usual, Curry was excellent from long range, making eight of 15 shots from beyond the arc. But he struggled with shorter field goals, connecting on just one of four two-point attempts. Curry had shot 25% or worse from two-point range in just three of his previous 144 30-point games.

Another big game for the second-most famous Lakers rookie

Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 28 points in their 108–107 win over the visiting Celtics. It was the sixth time this season that Kuzma, the 27th pick in last year’s NBA Draft, scored at least 25 points in a game. The last rookie not drafted with one of the first 25 picks to produce as many 25-point games in one season was the Wizards’ Jordan Crawford, who had six in 2010–11 after being selected by the Nets 27th overall.

Thunder score with few assists

Russell Westbrook scored 32 points and handed out six of his team’s 12 assists in the Thunder’s 109–108 win over the visiting Nets. Only one other team in the last year has scored as many points with as few assists. That was also Oklahoma City, which was credited with 11 assists in a 114–109 loss at Portland on March 2, 2017.

Konecny scores another fast overtime goal

Travis Konecny scored at the 27-second mark of overtime for the second consecutive game to earn the Flyers a 3–2 win at Detroit. On Sunday afternoon, Konecny’s first career overtime goal enabled the Flyers to beat the Capitals in Washington. The only other player in Flyers history to score an overtime goal in each of two consecutive regular-season games is Sami Kapanen, who did that in 2005 (Dec. 28–29.) Konecny is the first NHL player to score a goal in the first 30 seconds of overtime in each of two consecutive team games since the five-minute overtime format was introduced in 1983.

Since 1983, the only players besides Konecny to score in the first minute of overtime in each of two consecutive regular-season games are Tom Poti for the Rangers in 2003 (Dec. 29–30) and Jonathan Toews for the Blackhawks in 2015 (Oct. 24–26.)

Bergeron scores #20

Patrice Bergeron reached the 20-goal mark for the fifth consecutive season and the ninth time overall in his NHL career when he scored in the second period of the Bruins’ 3–2 win against the Devils. Bergeron, who has played exclusively for Boston since entering the NHL at age 18 in October 2003, is now tied with Ray Bourque for the third-most seasons with 20 goals or more for the Bruins, behind Johnny Bucyk (16 seasons) and Rick Middleton (10.) Bergeron needed fewer games to reach the 20-goal plateau this season (41) than in any other season. His previous best was 54 games in 2015–16.

Eichel enjoys second four-point game of the season

Jack Eichel matched his NHL high for points in one game when he tallied one goal and three assists in the Sabres’ 5–0 victory at Edmonton. Eichel produced his first four-point game for Buffalo in 2015–16, his rookie season, and his second came earlier this season (Dec. 15 vs. Carolina: three goals, one assist.) He’s only the second Sabres player since 2008–09 to have multiple games of at least four points within one season. Thomas Vanek had two in the lockout-delayed 2012–13 season, recording five points in Buffalo’s season opener (Jan. 20 vs. Flyers) and another five-point game 11 days later (Jan. 31 at Boston.)

Lightning strike for two late goals to win

The Lightning trailed the Predators in Nashville, 3–2, with less than three minutes left to play in the third period, but Tampa Bay tied the score on a goal by Steven Stamkos with 2:12 remaining in regulation time and won 4–3 when rookie Yanni Gourde tallied in overtime. Over the last three seasons, the only other time that the Lightning won a game without the aid of a shootout after trailing in the final three minutes of the third period was also against the Predators. That was on Feb. 12, 2016 in Tampa, when Tyler Johnson notched an overtime winner after Stamkos scored the late tying goal (19:33 of the third period).

Dea’s first goal is a game-winner

Rookie Jean-Sebastien Dea’s first NHL goal was the game-winning tally for the Penguins in their 3–1 victory over the Hurricanes. This was the fifth time in the last four seasons that a player’s first career goal in the NHL was a game-winner for Pittsburgh. The other players to do that over that four-season span are Derrick Pouliot (Dec. 2014), Scott Wilson (Feb. 2016), Oskar Sundqvist (April 2016) and Carter Rowney (March 2017.)

Drouin notches three points

Jonathan Drouin tied his career high for points in a game when he tallied one goal and two assists in the Canadiens’ 4–2 victory over the Avalanche which ended Colorado’s 10-game winning streak. Drouin, whose three other three-point games in the NHL were all for Tampa Bay last season, is the 11th different player to register at least three points in a game for Montreal this season. However, the only Canadiens player who has more than one three-point game this season is Max Pacioretty with two.

Hutton dominates the East

Blues goaltender Carter Hutton recorded his second shutout of the season with a 3–0 win against the Senators in St. Louis. Hutton, who beat the Senators in Ottawa last Thursday, is 7–0–1 with a 1.52 GAA in his 11 games (including eight starts) against Eastern Conference teams this season. He also won his last five games versus Eastern Conference clubs for the Blues last season.

Radulov is enjoying his best month in the NHL

Alexander Radulov notched his fourth three-point game of the season (and third this month) with two goals and one assist in the Stars’ 6–1 win over the Panthers. Radulov did not register a point in his first game this month, but he’s recorded 15 points in eight games since then (six goals, nine assists) with at least one point in each game. Radulov’s 15 points in January are a career high for any calendar month. His previous high was 13, for Nashville in January 2008 and Montreal in January 2017.