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Balanced scoring for the Big Three
From Elias: LeBron James scored 23 points, while Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh added 22 apiece, in the Heat's 99-90 win over the Wizards. It was the second time that each of the Big Three produced a point total no more than one point above or below his other two teammates. On November 27, 2010, in a loss at Dallas, James, Wade and Bosh each, coincidentally, scored the exact same number of points as they did on Monday night.
Neither James nor Bosh went to the free-throw line; they became the second pair of teammates this season to each make at least 10 field goals in a game and not attempt a free throw. The other was Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson against Houston on January 16.
James has not attempted a foul shot in either of the last two games. The only other time in his pro career that he did not go to the foul line in back to back games was as a rookie in December 2003, in his 19th and 20th games as an NBA player.
Pierce hits game-winning three-pointer
From Elias: Paul Pierce's three-point field goal with 1:14 remaining in the fourth quarter turned a 94-94 tie into a 97-94 Nets lead and Brooklyn went on to defeat the Raptors, 101-97. It was Pierce's latest game-winning (giving his team the lead for good) three-pointer in eight years - since he helped the Celtics beat the 76ers with a shot from downtown with 27 seconds to go in March 2006.
Griffin on target
From Elias: Blake Griffin was 14-for-16 (.875) from the field and his game-high 37 points powered the Clippers to a 112-105 win over the Suns. That was the highest field-goal percentage for a player who attempted at least 15 shots in an NBA game since Josh Smith was also 14-for-16 in a Hawks win over the Nets on December 7, 2010.
Knicks biggest comeback win of the season
From Elias: The Knicks trailed the 76ers during the first quarter, 29-17, but rallied to defeat Philadelphia, 123-110. The Knicks, prior to Monday night, were the only NBA team that had not won a game this season in which it fell behind by at least a dozen points. New York was 0-31 in that situation before its comeback victory over the 76ers.
Payback in Bucks-Magic series
From Elias: The Bucks overcame an 18-point deficit to defeat the Magic on Monday night, after Orlando rallied from 19 points down to beat Milwaukee on November 13. They are the only pair of NBA teams this season to each record a win over the other after falling behind by 18 or more points. One pair of teams exchanged comeback wins of that kind last season: the Hawks and Celtics.
Hawks snap road losing streak with two-point win
From Elias: The Hawks had lost their last 10 road games before Monday night's 112-110 win over the Jazz in Salt Lake City. That tied the longest road losing streak in the past 20 years snapped with a victory on Utah's court. Washington, in 2011, and Memphis, in 2007, also ended 10-game road schneids with victories over the Jazz during that span.
Atlanta has now played 13 games this season that were decided by two or fewer points, tying the Warriors for the most in the league; the Hawks are 6-7 in those contests. It was Utah's first loss by two-or-fewer points this season, leaving the Spurs as the only team that has not suffered a setback by that margin.
Jefferson: 12 points and seven rebounds in first quarter
From Elias: Al Jefferson scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the first quarter and finished with a 26/13 night in the Bobcats' win over the Nuggets. Jefferson scored at least a dozen points to go along with seven or more rebounds in the first quarter in only one other game of his NBA career. He had 17 points and eight boards through the first 12 minutes on February 7, 2009 for the Timberwolves.
Islanders shock Canucks with record-tying third period
From Elias: The Islanders trailed, 3-0, through two periods in their game at Vancouver but they outscored the Canucks, 7-1, in the third period and skated off with a stunning 7-4 win. The Islanders tied the NHL record for most goals in one game by a team that was goalless through the first two periods. It was done three previous times: twice by the Maple Leafs (Jan. 16, 1934 at Ottawa, 7-4 in overtime; and Feb. 13, 1960 vs. Detroit, 7-1), and once by the Red Wings (Nov. 27, 1998 vs. Vancouver, 7-1).
Monday's game also marked only the second time in Islanders history that they won a game in regulation time after trailing by three goals during the third period. Their other win of that description was a 6-4 victory at Philadelphia on Nov. 21, 1987.
Another 20-goal season for Kopitar
From Elias: Anze Kopitar, who's played his entire eight-year NHL career with the Kings, reached the 20-goal mark in a season for the seventh time when he scored L.A.'s final goal in its 3-2 win at Calgary. Kopitar's seven 20-goal seasons for the Kings rank him sixth in franchise history, behind co-leaders Marcel Dionne, Luc Robitaille and Dave Taylor (12 each), and also Butch Goring (9) and Bernie Nicholls (8).
Hemsky's second straight game with three assists
From Elias: Ales Hemsky did not record a point in his first game after he was traded from the Oilers to the Senators last Wednesday, but he's tallied three assists in each of Ottawa's two games since then, including its overtime loss to Nashville on Monday. He's the second NHL player to register three assists in each of two consecutive team games this season, joining Victor Hedman, who did that for Tampa Bay (January 23-25). Hemsky is the fifth player in Senators history to notch three or more assists in each of two consecutive team games in one season; the others are Dave McLlwain (1993-94), Daniel Alfredsson (2000-01), Jason Spezza (2007-08) and Filip Kuba (2009-10).
Lightning rookie strikes again
From Elias: Rookie Ondrej Palat had a hand in all three of the Lightning's goals in its shootout loss to the Coyotes, assisting on the first goal (by fellow rookie Tyler Johnson) and personally scoring the last two. Palat recorded only 12 points in his first 36 games this season (5 goals, 7 assists) but he's posted 30 points in 29 games since then (12 goals, 18 assists). That ranks him second in the NHL among rookies in points scored over that span (Dec. 23 to date), one behind Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon (31 points).
Duchene grounds the Jets
From Elias: Matt Duchene's goal at the 2:33 mark of overtime gave the Avalanche a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets. Duchene has scored four overtime goals in his NHL career, with one in each of the last four seasons. The only other NHL players who've scored OT goals in each of the last four (or more) seasons are Washington's Mike Green (who has a five-season streak) and Anaheim's Corey Perry (four in a row).
Jones scores in OT
From Elias: Rookie defenseman Seth Jones scored the first overtime goal of his NHL career to earn the Predators a 4-3 win at Ottawa, after Nashville squandered a 3-0 lead in the third period. Jones is the fourth rookie defenseman in Predators history to score a regular-season overtime goal, following Bubba Berenzweig (2001-02), Andrew Hutchinson (2003-04) and Cody Franson (2009-10).
Kunitz and Crosby reach 30 goals in same game
From Elias: Chris Kunitz reached the 30-goal plateau in a season for the first time in his NHL career in the first minute of the Penguins' game at Washington on Monday, and just over three minutes later Sidney Crosby did so for the sixth time. (Kunitz scored a second goal, which was the game-winner in a 3-2 Pittsburgh victory.)
It was the fourth time in franchise history that two Penguins players scored their 30th goals of a season in the same game. The other Pittsburgh duos to do that were Syl Apps, Jr. and Lowell MacDonald in 1975-76 (March 29 at Toronto), Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 (Dec. 26 vs. Buffalo), and Jagr and Alex Kovalev in 2000-01 (Feb. 7 vs. Philadelphia).