Date: February 11, 2012

Elias Says...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN.com

NBA

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Lin

ELI MANNING NO LONGER MOST POPULAR ATHLETE IN NEW YORK

From Elias: Jeremy Lin scored 38 points on Friday, giving him 89 in his first three NBA starts. That's the highest total by any NBA player in his first three NBA starts since Atlanta's John Drew started his career by scoring 97 points in his first three games in the fall of 1974.

Lin had never scored more than 13 points in an NBA game before Saturday, but he's now surpassed 20 in four straight contests. Excluding rookies, only one other player has ever scored 20 or more points in each of four straight games after never previously scoring as many as 15 points in a game. Ronald "Flip" Murray began the 2003-04 season with six straight 20-point games for Seattle after playing 14 games the previous season (for the Bucks and Sonics) without scoring more than six points in any of those games.

New York Knicks

BULLS EXTEND THEIR OWN NBA RECORD

From Elias: The Bulls have won each of their last four games, all of which have been on the road, each by at least 20 points, including a 95-64 win over the Bobcats on Friday. No other team in NBA history has won even three straight games, all on the road, all by 20 or more points.

The Bulls have already held their opponent under 70 points in six different games this season. No other team has done that even half as often. The Bulls are the first team with six such games since the 2003-04 season, when the Pistons (11) and Spurs (six) each did so.

Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Bobcats

MIAMI NOTCHES 20TH WIN

From Elias: The Heat improved to 20-7 with their win over the Wizards on Friday. Miami has reached 20 wins in 27 or fewer games only two other times in team history, in their 27th game in both the 1996-97 and 2004-05 seasons.

Miami Heat, Washington Wizards

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Crawford

CRAWFORD BLAZES TRAIL FOR PORTLAND

From Elias: Jamal Crawford had 31 points and eight assists off the bench in Portland's win over New Orleans on Friday. He's the first Portland player in the team's 42 seasons in the NBA to get 30-or-more points and at least eight assists in a game he did not start.

Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Hornets

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Love

LOVE AT 25

From Elias: Kevin Love played his 25th game of the season on Friday, in which he's averaged 25.3 points per game and 13.6 rebounds per game. He's the first NBA player in more than a decade to average at least 25/12 (points/rebounds) through his first 25 games of a season. That was previously done by Shaquille O'Neal for the 2000-01 Lakers (25.5 and 13.0).

Minnesota Timberwolves

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Howard

SMITH OUTREBOUNDS HOWARD

From Elias: Dwight Howard had 18 rebounds on Friday but he was out-rebounded by Atlanta's Josh Smith, who had 19. That's the most rebounds Howard has had in any career game in which an opponent had a higher total.

Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks

ANOTHER ROAD COMEBACK FOR CLIPPERS

From Elias: The Clippers' win in Philadelphia on Friday was their fourth road win in the last two weeks in which they overcame a double-digit deficit; they've also had comebacks of 10-plus points at Utah, Denver and Orlando since January 29. Prior to this stretch, the Clippers' last four road wins in which they overcame a double-digit deficit came in four different years - they had wins of that kind at Indiana in December 2008, at New York in March 2009, at Houston in March 2010 and at Memphis last April.

Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers

AN UNLIKELY WINNING STREAK

From Elias: The Pistons defeated the Nets on Friday to extend their winning streak to four games, improving their season record to 8-20. Over the last 10 seasons, only one other team has won four straight games at least 20 games into a season after having as poor of a record as the Pistons entering the streak; in December 2002 the Grizzlies won four straight after having a 2-19 record.

Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets

A CLOSE ONE IN MEMPHIS

From Elias: Friday's Pacers-Grizzlies game was tied at the end of each of the first three quarters before Memphis pulled away for a 98-92 win. The NBA's only other game of that sort over the last three seasons (that is, starting with the 2009-10 season) was also played in Memphis, on March 4 of last year, when the Hornets pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Grizzlies, 98-91.

Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies

NHL

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MacDonald

TWO STRAIGHT FOR MACDONALD

From Elias: Joey MacDonald, starting his third consecutive game in place of the injured Jimmy Howard, made 29 saves to lead the Red Wings to a 2-1 shootout victory against the Ducks that extended Detroit's home winning streak to 19 games, one shy of the single-season NHL record of 20 set by the Bruins in 1929-30. MacDonald suffered a 3-1 loss at Phoenix on Monday in the final game of the Red Wings' road trip, before beating the Oilers on Wednesday (4-2) and Anaheim on Friday. It's the first time that MacDonald has won consecutive team games in the NHL since Nov. 22-24, 2008, when he posted wins for the Islanders at Buffalo and Montreal.

Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks

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Holmstrom

HOLMSTROM PLAYS #1,000

From Elias: The Red Wings' shootout win over the Ducks on Friday was Tomas Holmstrom's 1,000th regular-season NHL game, all of which have been for Detroit. He's the sixth player to appear in 1,000 games for Detroit, joining Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom and Kris Draper. Detroit is the only NHL team to have six men play 1,000 or more games.

Holmstrom is the ninth NHL player born in Sweden to reach the 1,000-game milestone, joining Nicklas Lidstrom, Mats Sundin, Borje Salming, Markus Naslund, Calle Johansson, Daniel Alfredsson, Ulf Samuelsson and Fredrik Olausson in that exclusive group.

Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks

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Parros

HE'S A FIGHTER, NOT A SCORER

From Elias: George Parros scored the Ducks' goal in their 2-1 shootout loss to the Red Wings. It was Parros' first goal since Dec. 1, 2010, when he scored twice against the Florida Panthers in Anaheim. Parros, better known as a fighter than as a goal scorer, entered play on Friday with the longest current goal drought among active NHL forwards, 83 games. He recorded 24 fighting majors during his goalless streak.

Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks

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O'Reilly

LEADING THE LIFE OF O'REILLY

From Elias: Ryan O'Reilly's goal at 4:58 of overtime earned the Avalanche a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. O'Reilly's goal matched the latest OT tally in an NHL game this season, a standard set by Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh at Calgary on October 20. He also tied the mark for the latest regular-season overtime goal in Quebec/Colorado franchise history. The only previous instance of a Nordiques or Avs player scoring a goal with two seconds left in overtime was Ville Nieminen's goal against Phoenix on Jan. 17, 2002.

Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche

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Vanek

VANEK NOTCHES 20TH GOAL

From Elias: Thomas Vanek, returning to action after missing Buffalo's last three games due to an "upper body" injury, reached the 20-goal mark for the seventh time in his seven seasons in the NHL when he scored the first goal for the Sabres in their 3-2 shootout win over the Stars. Vanek's goal ended his 10-game goalless streak, the third-longest drought of his NHL career. He had 14- and 11-game dry spells as a rookie with Buffalo in 2005-06.

Only four active NHL players besides Vanek scored 20 or more goals in each of their first seven NHL seasons: Jaromir Jagr (17), Teemu Selanne (11), Ilya Kovalchuk (10) and Alex Ovechkin (7).

Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars


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