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Curry and Warriors on record pace after beating Thunder
The Warriors equaled the best 50-game start in NBA history by defeating the Thunder, 116-108, in Oakland. Golden State improved to 46-4 on the season, which is tied with the 1966-67 76ers for the best start to any season in league history. In fact, only one other team besides Golden State and Philadelphia won 46 of 50 games at any point of a season - the Mavericks had a 46-4 stretch in the 2006-07 campaign.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 26 points and 10 assists in their victory over Oklahoma City. Including Saturday's contest, Golden State has earned a win in each of the last 20 games that Curry has compiled at least 20 points and 10 assists, including a 7-0 record in such games this season.
Durant posts big numbers versus defending champs
Kevin Durant had a huge night in a losing effort, scoring a game-high 40 points for the Thunder while securing 14 rebounds, one shy of the team lead. In the last 40 seasons (1976-77 to 2015-16), only two other players totaled at least 40 points and 14 rebounds in a game against the defending NBA champions. Karl Malone (45 points, 17 rebounds) did that in 1995 against the Rockets, and Blake Griffin (43 points, 15 rebounds) did so in 2014 versus the Heat.
New "Big 3" for Cavaliers?
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and J.R. Smith each topped 20 points in the Cavaliers' 99-84 victory over the Pelicans. The Cavs' trio combined for 76 points on the night - Irving led Cleveland with 29 points, while James and Smith contributed 27 and 20, respectively. Only one other set of three teammates this season combined for more points in a game in which their team failed to score at least 100. Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Shabazz Muhammad compiled 79 of the Timberwolves' 99 points on January 8 against the Cavaliers.
Kobe says farewell to San Antonio with vintage performance
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 25 points on Saturday night in what will likely be his final game played in San Antonio. The 106-102 win for the Spurs marked the 35th regular season loss for Bryant against San Antonio. That's the most wins for any team against Bryant's Lakers - the Blazers are next on the list with 32. The Spurs also have the most playoff wins against Bryant's Lakers teams with 12, though that's less impressive when considering San Antonio's overall playoff record versus the Lakers with Bryant (12-18).
Saturday's contest marked the 37-year-old Bryant's third consecutive game with at least 25 points. He scored a season-high 38 points against the Timberwolves on Tuesday and totaled 27 points at New Orleans on Thursday. The last player before Bryant to score at least 25 points in three or more consecutive games at age 37 or older was none other than Michael Jordan, who had four straight games of that kind for the Wizards at age 40 in December 2003.
Lillard dishes and swishes to lead Blazers
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 21 points and 10 assists in Portland's 96-79 victory over the Rockets. Saturday's win marked the 30th time this season that Lillard led the Blazers (or tied for the team-lead) in both points and assists. That's tied with James Harden for the most games of that kind this season. Lillard, who had 31 games last season in which he led Portland in points and assists, is one of two Blazers players to lead Portland in both points and assists at least 30 times within a single season. Clyde Drexler had 35 such games for Portland in the 1991-92 campaign.
Rough night for Harden despite lofty point total
James Harden struggled against the Blazers despite scoring a game-high 33 points - the bearded All-Star shot 38.9 percent from the floor and committed a career-high 10 turnovers. The last Rockets player prior to Harden to compile at least 30 points and 10 turnovers in a game was Hakeem Olajuwon in January 1994. Olajuwon coincidentally also had 33 points and 10 turnovers in a home game against the Blazers.
Timberwolves stun Bulls with late scoring run
The Timberwolves outscored the Bulls 12-0 over the final two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter to cap a 112-105 comeback victory. Minnesota went 4-for-4 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line in those last 150 seconds, while Chicago missed all seven of its field-goal attempts in that span. The Timberwolves are the fourth team this season to finish a victory with at least 12 unanswered points, joining the Raptors (Dec. 26), Celtics (Jan. 13), and Clippers (Jan. 31), but only Minnesota and Boston were trailing when their scoring runs began. The Celtics overcame a three-point deficit against the Pacers in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter with their 12-0 run.
Hayward and Jazz make quick work of Suns
It was a fast start for the Jazz in their 98-89 road victory over the Suns. Utah scored the first 10 points of the game and ended the first quarter with a 31-12 lead over Phoenix. The 19-point advantage for the Jazz marked their highest first-quarter point differential over the last five seasons; the last time Utah outscored its opponent by that many points in the first quarter was on November 3, 2010 against the Raptors (also a 19-point lead).
How bad was the Suns' first quarter? Consider the fact that they were outscored by Gordon Hayward alone! That's right - Hayward had a higher point total in the first quarter (14 points) than that of the entire Suns lineup (12 points). And it wasn't even the first time this season Hayward outpaced an opposing team in first-quarter scoring. Hayward's 13 points in the opening period on December 9, 2015 against the Knicks were more than New York compiled as a team in the quarter (11 points).
George nets another 30-point game
Paul George scored 30 points in 30 minutes to lead the Pacers to a 112-104 victory over the Pistons. Saturday's game marked the 16th time that George has scored at least 30 points in a game this season. The only other Pacers player with as many 30-point games before the All-Star break is Billy Knight, who scored 30 or more points in 17 games before the break in the 1976-77 campaign, Indiana's first season in the NBA.
Mavs notch another OT triumph
The Mavericks earned their first win of February by defeating the Grizzlies, 114-110, in overtime. Dallas has flourished in overtime games recently - the Mavs were a perfect 6-0 in such games last season and they're 6-1 this season including their win over Memphis. Only two other teams in NBA history tallied at least six overtime wins in back-to-back seasons. The Celtics achieved that feat in the 1952-53 and 1953-54 seasons (six overtime wins in each season), and the Heat did so in 2000-01 (six OT wins) and 2001-02 (seven OT wins).
Batum helps Hornets climb back versus Wizards
The Hornets overcame an early 19-point deficit in their 108-104 victory over the Wizards. Charlotte's win marked the third time in its last nine games that the team won a game after overcoming a deficit of 15 or more points. The Hornets also overcame a 19-point deficit on January 22 at Orlando and climbed out of a 17-point hole at Sacramento on January 25. In the last 15 seasons, the only other time that Charlotte had at least three 15-point comeback wins within a span of nine or fewer games was in the 2013-14 campaign. The then-Bobcats had three such victories within a four-game span in December 2013.
Nicolas Batum, who led Charlotte with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists on Saturday, has compiled 47 points, 17 rebounds, and 16 assists over the last two days. Only one other player in franchise history reached all of those levels within a two-day span - Larry Johnson did so twice for the Hornets (Mar. 1992 and Mar. 1996). The only other NBA player this season to hit those marks within a span of two days is James Harden (Jan. 24-25).
Okafor finishes strong versus Brooklyn
Jahlil Okafor finished with a flourish on Saturday, helping the 76ers defeat the Nets, 103-98, in Philadelphia. Okafor led the Sixers with 22 points and 17 rebounds with the bulk of both coming in the second half (16 points and 13 rebounds after halftime). Only one other rookie player in the last 10 seasons totaled that many points and rebounds in a single half. On March 17, 2009, Kevin Love compiled 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Timberwolves in the second half at San Antonio.
Rangers steal win after Yandle's late equalizer
The Rangers recorded a 3-2 shootout victory in Philadelphia after Keith Yandle's goal with 12.9 seconds left to play in the third period tied the score for the New Yorkers at 2-2. Yandle's goal was the latest score-tying tally for the Rangers since February 3, 2009, when Markus Naslund notched a tying goal at the 19:49 mark against the Thrashers at Madison Square Garden. (Atlanta won that game in a shootout, 2-1.) Before Saturday, the last time a Rangers defenseman scored a tying goal that late was when Brian Leetch did so at 19:59 versus the Florida Panthers at MSG on December 1, 1998. The Rangers won that game in overtime on a goal by Adam Graves.
Penalty-shot OT winner for Bruins
Brad Marchand's penalty-shot goal in overtime gave the Bruins a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Marchand is only the fourth player to score an overtime goal on a penalty shot during the last ten NHL seasons. The others are Bobby Ryan (Anaheim vs. Detroit on March 2, 2011), Brian Gionta (Montreal vs. Rangers on April 12, 2014), and Cody Eakin (Dallas at Nashville on April 4, 2015). Marchand was the first Bruins player to attempt a penalty shot in overtime since the NHL introduced the five-minute OT format for regular-season games in 1983-84.
Karlsson has four helpers in Ottawa
Erik Karlsson recorded the second four-assist game of his NHL career when the Senators beat the Maple Leafs, 6-1, on Saturday. Karlsson's other four-assists game came earlier this season in Ottawa's 7-3 win at Columbus on October 14. He's the first NHL defenseman to have multiple games with four or more assists within one season since Chris Chelios had two for the Blackhawks in 1994-95. Karlsson is also one of only four active NHL defensemen with two such games in his NHL career. The others are Brian Campbell, Kris Letang and Dion Phaneuf.
Letang nets a pair for Penguins
Kris Letang's second goal of the night earned the Penguins a 3-2 overtime win against the Florida Panthers in a game that the Pittsburgh trailed, 2-0, until Letang started the Penguins' comeback with a goal at the 14:56 mark of the third period. Excluding shootout victories, this was the first time that the Penguins won a game in which they trailed by two goals in the last six minutes of the third period since their 4-3 overtime win against the Lightning on February 4, 2009. Letang is the first defenseman in Penguins history to record a multiple-goal game that includes an overtime goal, though three other NHL defensemen have pulled off that feat this season: Tampa Bay's Jason Garrison (Oct. 8), Calgary's Mark Giordano (Oct. 23), and Philadelphia's Michael Del Zotto (Jan. 7).
Arvidsson helps Predators tame Sharks
Rookie Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals for the Predators in their 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. This is the Predators' 17th season in the NHL but before Saturday there had been only three instances of a rookie recording a multiple-goal game for Nashville. They were Blake Geoffrion's three-goal hat trick at Buffalo on March 20, 2011, and two-goal games by Craig Smith at Anaheim on November 9, 2011 and Filip Forsberg at Vancouver on November 2, 2014.
Larkin leads Red Wings to victory
Rookie Dylan Larkin scored one goal and assisted on another in the Red Wings' 5-1 win over the Islanders on Saturday afternoon, after scoring two goals in Detroit's 6-3 loss at Florida on Thursday. Since 1992-93, only two other Red Wings rookies registered at least two points in each of two or more consecutive team games in one season: Henrik Zetterberg with back-to-back multiple-point games in 2003 (Feb. 27 and March 2) and Jiri Hudler with three in a row in 2007 (March 11-14).
Devils rookie piling up points
Rookie Joseph Blandisi had a hand in both Devils goals in their 3-2 shootout loss to the Capitals on Saturday afternoon. Blandisi's power play goal early in the third period tied the score at 1-1 and he assisted on the goal by Adam Henrique which gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead. Blandisi made his NHL debut on December 11 and he did not record a point in three games before being returned to the minors. Blandisi was called up again last month and after being held pointless in his first game he has tallied ten points in ten games (three goals, seven assists), which ties Lee Stempniak for the team scoring lead over that stretch (Jan. 12 to date). Blandisi is the first Devils rookie to average at least one point per game over a ten-game stretch in one season since Adam Henrique did so in December 2011.
Plekanec scores four-pointer for Montreal
Tomas Plekanec tied his career high for points in one game when he recorded one goal and three assists in the Canadiens' 5-1 win against the Oilers in Montreal. It's the seventh time that Plekanec scored four points in one game during an NHL career spent entirely with the Canadiens. Plekanec's first four-point game was on October 26, 2007, against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. Over the last nine seasons, no other player has registered even half as many four-point games for Montreal as Plekanec.
Blues snap power play drought in a big way
Vladimir Tarasenko, Jori Lehtera and Troy Brouwer each scored a power play goal for the Blues in their 4-1 win against the Minnesota Wild. The Blues went into Saturday's game having not scored a power play goal in their last eight games. St. Louis is the first NHL team to score at least three power play goals in one game after entering that game with a power play goal drought of at least eight games that season since March 27, 2010, when the Bruins stopped an eight-game dry spell in a 5-0 win over Calgary with PPGs from Dennis Seidenberg, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara.
Anisimov scores early and often for Blackhawks
Artem Anisimov scored one goal and assisted on three more in the Blackhawks' 5-1 win at Dallas. Anisimov recorded all four of his points in the first two periods. He's the first Chicago player to register at least four points in the first 40 minutes of one game since Marian Hossa had one goal and three assists in the first two periods of the Blackhawks' 7-1 victory at Edmonton on November 22, 2014.