Elias Says: March 8, 2017

Westbrook: 42, 45 and 58 vs. Portland

Russell Westbrook scored 42 points against the Trail Blazers on Super Bowl Sunday and 45 more points against them last Thursday, but he bettered those performances with a 58–point game against Portland on Tuesday. Westbrook’s total of 145 points in his last three games against the Trail Blazers is the highest by any NBA player over a three-game span versus a particular opponent since 1990, when Michael Jordan scored 148 points over three games against the Cavaliers.

Westbrook’s 58 points tied a franchise record held by Fred Brown, but Oklahoma City lost to Portland, 126–121. It was the most points by an NBA player in a defeat since Kobe Bryant scored 58 in a triple-overtime game at Charlotte in 2006. No player had scored that many points in a regulation loss since Michael Jordan’s 61 against Atlanta in 1987.

Nowitzki reaches 30K in style

Dirk Nowitzki entered the Mavericks’ game against the Lakers 20 points shy of becoming the sixth NBA player to score 30,000 points in his career. The surprise was not that Nowitzki reached that milestone on Tuesday night, it was how quickly he did so. Nowitzki scored 20 points in the game’s first 13 minutes and 2 seconds, the second-fastest he has ever reached the 20-point mark in an NBA game. Nowitzki scored 20 points just 10 minutes and 49 seconds into a game against the Bulls in December 2001, back when he was 23 years old and Tom Brady had not yet played in an NFL postseason game.

When Nowitzki was drafted by the Bucks with the ninth pick of the 1998 draft, the all-time leading scorers by players born outside the 50 states were Dominique Wilkins (26,534, France), Hakeem Olajuwon (24,422, Nigeria), and Patrick Ewing (22,079, Jamaica). But those players all went to American colleges. The highest point total at that time by a foreign-born player who did not attend a U.S. college was by Vlade Divac, with just 8,188 points. In fact, Divac was the only such player with even 5,000 points at that time.

Since Nowitzki was drafted, 16 foreign-born, non-U.S. college players have surpassed Divac’s total at that time. Seven of them, including Nowitzki, cracked 10,000 points. The others are Pau Gasol (19,754), Tony Parker (18,392), Peja Stojakovic (13,647), Manu Ginobili (13,361), Hedo Turkoglu (11,022), and Nene (10,269).

Wall extends road assists streak

John Wall’s 25 points and 14 assists lifted the Wizards to a win at Phoenix. It was the sixth straight road game in which Wall handed out at least 12 assists, the longest such streak for any NBA player in more than a year––since Rajon Rondo did that in seven consecutive Kings road games from February 5 to March 3 in 2016. Wall’s streak is the longest of its kind in franchise history; the previous record was four in a row by Rod Strickland in November 1997.

Another 30-win season for Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist reached the 30-win mark for the 11th time in his 12 seasons in the NHL with a 5–2 victory over the Panthers in which he made 43 saves. (The only season in which Lundqvist didn’t get 30 wins was the lockout-shortened 2012–13 campaign, when he tied for the NHL lead with 24 wins in a 48-game schedule.) Lundqvist’s 11 seasons with 30 or more wins rank him third in NHL history, behind Martin Brodeur (14) and Patrick Roy (13). Lundqvist’s victory on Tuesday improved his career record in games in which he faced 40 or more shots on goal to 24–3–10, including a 16–2–3 mark in such games over the last seven seasons.

Three straight shutouts for Bobrovsky

Sergei Bobrovsky recorded his third consecutive shutout with a 2–0 victory over the Devils in Columbus. Bobrovsky, who blanked Minnesota on Thursday and the Devils in Newark on Sunday, is the second goaltender in Blue Jackets history to post three straight shutouts in one season. The first was Steve Mason, who did that as a rookie in December 2008. “Bob” is the second NHL netminder to post three consecutive clean sheets this season, matching Devan Dubnyk’s three-game streak from October 25–29. If not for the goal he allowed in a 1–0 overtime loss in Montreal last Tuesday, Bobrovsky would have a current streak of four straight shutouts. As it is, Bobrovsky is only the second NHL goaltender to allow no more than one goal over a span of four consecutive starts during the last five seasons. Brian Elliott did that for the Blues last season (March 19–29), with three straight shutouts followed by a win in which he gave up one goal.

Tarasenko tallies game-winner

Vladimir Tarasenko scored the game-winning goal for the Blues in their 2–1 victory at Minnesota. Tarasenko has been credited with at least six game-winners for St. Louis in each of the last three seasons (6 in 2014–15, 7 in 2015–16, 6 this season). He’s the fourth player to score at least six game-winning goals for St. Louis in each of three or more consecutive seasons. Brett Hull had a four-season streak (1988–89 through 1991–92) and a five-year skein (1993–94 through 1997–98), and Red Berenson (1967–68 through 1969–70) and Brendan Shanahan (1992–93 through 1994–95) each had three-season streaks.

Gudas: 3 points and plus-5

Radko Gudas scored one goal, assisted on two and posted a plus-5 rating in the Flyers’ 6–3 win at Buffalo. He’s the first Philadelphia defenseman to tally at least three points in a game in which he also finished with a plus-5 or higher rating since Nov. 3, 2005, when Mike Rathje (3 assists, plus-6) and Joni Pitkanen (3 assists, plus-5) both did so in an 8–1 Flyers rout of the Capitals. The only other NHL defenseman to have a game of that kind this season is the Blue Jackets’ David Savard (Feb. 25 vs. the Islanders: 1 goal, 2 assists, plus-5).

Marner leads rookies in multi-assist games

Mitch Marner assisted on two goals for the Maple Leafs in their 3–2 win against the Red Wings. Marner leads NHL rookies with nine multiple-assist games this season, one more than the eight recorded by Blue Jackets’ rookie defenseman Zach Werenski. Marner’s nine multi-assist games are the second-most by a Maple Leafs rookie in one season. Steve Thomas set the Toronto rookie record with 10 such games in 1985–86.

Lee ties career high for goals

Anders Lee matched his career high for goals in one season (25) when he scored the second of his two goals in the Islanders’ 4–1 win at Edmonton. Lee, a Minnesota native, also scored 25 goals for the Islanders as a rookie in 2014–15. This was Lee’s sixth multiple-goal game of the season, which puts him one behind the NHL co-leaders in that category, Jeff Carter and Brad Marchand. Lee’s six multi-goal games are the most that a U.S.-born player has produced in one season for the Islanders since Mark Parrish racked up eight of them in 2001–02.

Barrie’s 10th game with at least 3 points

Tyson Barrie produced his first three-point game this season when he tallied one goal and two assists for the Avalanche in its 3–1 win over the Hurricanes. This is the 10th time that Barrie has scored at least three points in one game during his six-season NHL and Colorado career. That ranks him second in three-point games by a defenseman in Quebec/Colorado franchise history, one behind Sandis Ozolinsh with 11.