Elias Says: March 25, 2018

Simmons reaches double-digits in triple-doubles

Ben Simmons scored 15 points for the 76ers and added a game-high 12 rebounds and 13 assists in Philadelphia’s 120–108 victory over the Timberwolves. Simmons now has 10 triple-doubles on the season, becoming the second 76ers player to reach double-digits in that category for a single season. Wilt Chamberlain produced 22 triple-doubles for Philadelphia in 1966–67, then proceeded to beat his own record the following season, netting 31 triple-doubles in 1967–68. Simmons also became the second player to produce 10 or more triple-doubles in his rookie season – Oscar Robertson had 26 for the Cincinnati Royals in 1960–61 – as well as the second man to produce 10 triple-doubles before his 22nd birthday – Magic Johnson is best in that regards with 13 triple-doubles prior to turning 22.

Only two other players in the shot-clock era produced a triple-double as a rookie with 30 minutes or fewer of time on the court (Simmons played 29:46 on Saturday). Tim Hardaway racked up 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists in 28 minutes on Feb. 2, 1990 for the Warriors in a win versus the Nets. And Jason Kidd required just 29 minutes to total 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists on Apr. 7, 1995, a win for his Mavericks over the Timberwolves.

Harden first to reach 2000 points

James Harden scored 27 points in the Rockets’ victory over the Pelicans, and in doing so, he became the first NBA player to reach the 2,000-points mark this season. It’s the fifth season in Harden’s career in which he has reached that level, including the last four seasons in succession. Over the past 20 years, only two other players have linked four consecutive 2,000-point seasons – LeBron James (seven straight seasons starting in 2004–05) and Kobe Bryant (four straight starting in 2005–06).

Rebounding edge fuels another win for Rockets

Clint Capela grabbed 16 rebounds for the Rockets, helping Houston prevail in the battle of the boards over Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. An edge in rebounds has been key to victory for the Rockets over the last few months – Houston has won each of its last 20 games in which it finished with more rebounds than its opponent. That’s tied for the longest such winning streak in Rockets franchise history: Houston also notched 20 consecutive wins in games with the rebounding advantage in the 2007–08 campaign.

Ball in select company after 50 games

Lonzo Ball did a little bit of everything for the Lakers in their win over the Grizzlies, scoring 12 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and distributing a game-high 10 assists. Saturday was Ball’s 50th game for the Lakers, and he has accumulated 505 points, 360 assists, and 348 rebounds in those contests. Only three other players in NBA history produced at least 500 points, 350 assists, and 300 rebounds in his first 50 games. Ben Simmons achieved that feat earlier this season; his totals stood at 832 points, 362 assists, and 388 rebounds at the 50-game mark. The other two players to reach those totals within 50 NBA games were Oscar Robertson (1499 points, 465 assists, 496 rebounds) and Magic Johnson (918 points, 368 assists, 330 rebounds).

Big night across the board for Drummond

Andre Drummond stuffed the boxscore on Saturday night, posting game-high totals with 20 rebounds, four steals, and four blocked shots in the Pistons’ 117–95 victory over the Bulls. That marked the second time this season that Drummond reached all three of those plateaus in a single game; he also had 20 rebounds, four steals, and four blocks on February 3 versus Miami. The only other player in the last 25 years to produce a statline of that kind also achieved that feat for the Pistons. On March 23, 2003, Ben Wallace posted 20 rebounds, four steals, and five blocked shots for Detroit in a 23-point win over Chicago.

Tolliver piles up points for first time in years

It was also a big night for Pistons reserve Anthony Tolliver, who scored a game-high 25 points off the bench, his highest scoring game over the last eight seasons. The last time Tolliver tallied at least 25 points in a game was April 7, 2010, when he scored a career-high 34 points for the Warriors at Minnesota. That contest was also the only time before Saturday that Tolliver finished a game with the highest point total on either side.

Magic shake off another rusty performance

The Magic overcame a cold-shooting first half to earn a comeback win over the Suns. Orlando went 14-for-41 (34 percent) from the floor in the first half, a stretch that included 10 consecutive unsuccessful field-goal attempts spanning the first and second quarters. The Magic seems to be consistent in its inconsistency, seeing as how it has produced a streak of 10 or more missed field-goal attempts in each of its last three games (12 straight misses versus the Raptors on Tuesday, 13 straight against the 76ers on Thursday). Only one other team this season has compiled a streak of 10 or more missed field-goal attempts in as many as three consecutive games. The Pistons also had a three-game streak of that kind from December 6–10.

Howard rebounding like Rodman

Dwight Howard dominated the glass yet again on Saturday, corralling 23 rebounds in the Hornets’ 102–98 victory over the Mavericks. Including his 30-rebound performance against the Nets on Wednesday, Howard has secured 53 boards over his last two games. No other player totaled 50 or more rebounds over a two-game span in the last 20 seasons. The most recent player before Howard to achieve that feat was Dennis Rodman, who wormed his way to 56 rebounds over two games in December 1997.

Lucky number 13 for Maple Leafs at home

William Nylander and Nazem Kadri scored the goals which enabled the Maple Leafs to overcome a 3–2 third-period deficit and beat the Red Wings, 4–3, in Toronto. The Leafs’ victory extended their franchise-record home-ice winning streak to 13 games. Since 2013–14, there have been only two other single-season home winning streaks of that length by NHL teams: a 15-game streak by the Capitals in 2016–17, and a 13-game skein by the Penguins in 2013–14. Saturday’s game was the fifth come-from-behind victory for Toronto in its current run of 13 consecutive home wins.

McDavid putting name amongst Oilers greats

Connor McDavid scored two goals in the Oilers’ 3–2 win against the Kings. McDavid has tallied 21 points in the 12 games he’s played in March (10 goals, 11 assists), matching his career-high for points in one calendar month which he set in February this season (13 goals, 8 assists in 14 games). This is the first time that an Oilers player had recorded more than 20 points in each of two consecutive calendar months since 1990, when Mark Messier did that in January (26 points) and February (22 points). McDavid is also the first player to score at least 10 goals for the Oilers in each of two straight calendar months since Jimmy Carson in 1988 (14 goals in November, 12 goals in December).

Georgiev acing his Broadway audition

Rangers rookie Alexandar Georgiev made 43 saves in his 5–1 win against the Sabres at Madison Square Garden. Georgiev lost his first home game with the Rangers (Feb. 23 vs. Minnesota) but he’s won all three of his games at MSG since then while facing at least 40 shots on goal in each game (March 12 vs. Carolina, 44 shots; March 14 vs. Pittsburgh, 40 shots; Saturday vs. Buffalo, 44 shots). Since 1955–56, when shots on goal became an official statistic, the only other NHL goaltender to win three consecutive home games in one season and face 40-plus shots on goal in each game is Hall-of-Famer Dominik Hasek, who did that for the Sabres at Buffalo’s Memorial Auditorium in February 1996.

Zucker joins Wild’s 30-goal club

Jason Zucker became a 30-goal scorer for the first time in his NHL career when he scored early in the third period of the Minnesota Wild’s 4–1 win over Nashville. Zucker is Minnesota’s second-leading goal-scorer this season, behind Eric Staal with 39 goals. Staal and Zucker are the third pair of players who have each scored 30 or more goals for the same NHL team this season. The others are Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, and the Islanders’ Anders Lee and John Tavares. The only other pair of players in Wild franchise history to each score at least 30 goals in the same season is Marian Gaborik and Brian Rolston, who did so three times (2005–06, 2006–07 and 2007–08).

One at a time works for Marchessault

Jonathan Marchessault scored the only goal for the Golden Knights in their 2–1 shootout loss to the Avalanche in Denver. Marchessault has scored 24 goals this season despite never scoring more than one goal in any game. He’s the NHL goal-scoring leader this season among players without a multiple-goal game. The only other players with 20 goals or more and no multi-goal games this season are Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (23) and Calgary’s Micheal Ferland (21).

Kinkaid stays perfect against first-place teams

Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid made 35 saves in his 2–1 victory over the Lightning in Newark on Saturday. Kinkaid has played one game this season against each of the four current NHL division leaders, Tampa Bay, Washington, Nashville and Vegas, and he’s won all of those games, allowing only nine goals in the process (2.20 GAA).

Trocheck nets 30th of season

Vincent Trocheck reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his five seasons in the NHL when he scored the second of his two goals for the Panthers in their 4–2 win against the Coyotes. Trocheck, a Pittsburgh native, is only the second U.S.-born player ever to score 30 goals or more in one season for the Panthers. The first was David Booth, who scored 31 goals for Florida in the 2008–09 season.

Kane stays hot versus Flames

Evander Kane did not score a goal in the one game he played against the Flames for the Sabres this season, but he’s tallied six goals in two games against the Flames since Buffalo traded him to the Sharks late last month: four in Calgary on March 16 and two in the Sharks’ 5–1 win in San Jose on Saturday. Kane’s six goals against the Flames this season are the most by any NHL player – no one else has more than four – and the most ever in one season by a Shark. He broke the old mark of five set by Owen Nolan in the five games he played for San Jose versus Calgary in 1996–97.

Senators in need of a recess when Ward comes to town

Carolina’s Cam Ward posted his 10th road win this season with a 5–2 victory in Ottawa on Saturday. Ward won only three of his first nine career games versus the Senators, but he’s 14–3–3 with a 1.78 GAA in 20 games against them since then (March 2009 to date). Ward’s career total of 17 wins versus Ottawa ranks him third among active NHL goaltenders, behind Carey Price (22) and Ryan Miller (19).

Wilson embracing new role

Tom Wilson and Evgeny Kuznetsov each scored two goals for the Capitals in their 6–4 win against the Canadiens in Montreal. Wilson, who is more well-known as a fighter than a goal-scorer, has produced four multiple-goal games this season, after entering the 2017–18 campaign having never scored more than one goal in any of his 313 career games in the NHL Wilson’s goal total this season (13) is now the same as his fighting-major total (13, tied for second-most in the NHL). The only NHL player besides Wilson with at least five fighting majors and two multi-goal games this season is Nashville’s Austin Watson (seven fights, two multiple-goal games).

Streaky season for Allen

Jake Allen extended his winning streak to five games with a 2–1 victory for the Blues at Columbus on Saturday. Allen was 17–6–2 in his first 26 games this season, and at that juncture he was tied with Frederik Andersen for the second-most wins by an NHL goaltender, behind Andrei Vasilevskiy with 19. Allen went into a horrendous slump over the next three months, posting a 2–14–0 record in the 19 games he played from December 12 through March 8, but he’s 7–1–0 with a 2.12 GAA in eight games since then.

Four helpers for Backstrom

Nicklas Backstrom tied his career high for assists in one game by setting up four of the Capitals’ six goals in their win at Montreal. It was the 11th time that Backstrom produced four assists in one game during his 11 seasons in the NHL and the eighth time he did so on the road. The only other player with more than two road games of four or more assists since 2007–08, Backstrom’s first NHL season, is Ryan Getzlaf with four.

Forsberg formidable versus East

Anton Forsberg made 31 saves in his 3–1 win for the Blackhawks against the Islanders in Brooklyn, though his bid for the first shutout of his NHL career was spoiled when John Tavares got the Isles on the board with 2:42 left to play in the third period. Forsberg has struggled this season when facing Chicago’s Western Conference rivals, posting a 3–13–2 record and 3.31 GAA in 20 intraconference games, but he’s 7–3–1 with a 2.50 GAA in 14 games against Eastern Conference opponents.