Elias Says: December 5, 2017

Brown surpasses Harrison for most catches, receiving yards over a five-year span

Antonio Brown caught eight passes for 101 yards in the Steelers’ 23–20 win at Cincinnati. Brown has now accumulated 569 receptions for 7611 yards since 2013. Both of those figures are the highest by any receiver in NFL history over a five-season span. Marvin Harrison, who caught 563 passes for 7594 yards from 1999 to 2003, was the previous record-holder in both categories.

Steelers complete rare road comeback

Pittsburgh overcame a 17–0 second-quarter deficit to win, 23–20 in Cincinnati. The Steelers entered Monday 2–152 all-time during the regular season and 0–6 in the playoffs in road games in which they trailed by at least 17 points. Their only two previous such wins came against the Bengals in 1995 and the Ravens in 1997.

The Bengals hadn’t held a lead of more than 14 points in any game against Pittsburgh since Nov. 28, 1999, when they led 24–3 and went on to win 27–10 at Three Rivers Stadium.

Another huge comeback win by the Warriors

Stephen Curry scored 31 points and the Warriors came back from a 69–49 halftime deficit to defeat the Pelicans, 125–115 in New Orleans. It was the second time in 25 games this season that Golden State overcame a deficit of at least 20 points after two quarters to win, having also done so on Nov. 18 at Philadelphia. Golden State is the first team in the shot-clock era (since 1954–55) to win two such games in one season.

Dubs’ trio shines in win

Three Warriors players – Stephen Curry (31 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists), Draymond Green (19 pts, 9 reb, 7 ast), and Kevin Durant (19, 7, 5) – finished with at least 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists in Monday’s comeback victory. It was the second time in the last 40 years that three Golden State teammates had performances like that in a road game. On April 12, 1994, Billy Owens (25 pts, 11 reb, 5 ast), Chris Webber (25, 10, 9), and Chris Mullin (25, 6, 6) did so in a win over the Lakers at the Forum.

Another 40-point win for the Jazz

Alec Burks came off the bench to score a game-high 27 points and the Jazz routed the visiting Wizards, 116–69. It was the second time this season that Utah won a game by 40+ points, having previously beaten the Magic, 125–85 on Nov. 18. No team had posted two 40-point wins within its first 25 games of a season since the 1989–90 Seattle SuperSonics. The Jazz’s two such wins in 2017–18 equal their total over the previous 15 seasons combined (2002–03 through 2016–17.)

Horford finishes Bird-like three-game span

Al Horford made eight of 10 shots from the floor, grabbed nine rebounds, and handed out eight assists in the Celtics’ 111–100 home win over the Bucks. Over his last three games, Horford has made 23 of 32 field-goal attempts (71.9%), and has contributed 22 rebounds and 24 assists. The only other Boston player ever to shoot 70% or better with 20+ rebounds and 20+ assists over a three-game span was Larry Bird, who did so in both April 1983 and March 1986.

If three teammates do this, LeBron James must be involved

Three Cavaliers players – Dwyane Wade (24 points, 9-for-13 FG, 6 rebounds), Kevin Love (24 pts, 8-for-13, 13 reb), and LeBron James (23, 9-for-15, 7) scored more than 20 points, shot at least 60% from the floor, and grabbed at least five rebounds in Cleveland’s 113–91 win at Chicago. There have been only two other games over the last seven seasons in which a trio of teammates had games like that (more than 20 points, 60%+ FG, 5+ reb). James, Wade, and Chris Bosh did that for the Heat at Oklahoma City on Feb. 20, 2014, and then Love, James, and Tristan Thompson did so for the Cavs at Washington on Feb. 6, 2017.

Booker continues to scorch the Northeast Corridor

Devin Booker’s 46 points led all scorers in the Suns’ 115–101 win at Philadelphia. Dating back to March of this year, Booker has scored at least 32 points in each of his last five road games against Atlantic Division opponents (70 at Boston, 32 at Brooklyn, 34 at New York, 38 at Boston, and 46 at Philadelphia.) The last player to score more than 30 points in five consecutive road games against the Atlantic Division was Carmelo Anthony, for the Nuggets in 2006.

Spurs frontcourt provides points, rebounds, assists

The Spurs’ starting forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay scored 17 and 12 points respectively, while starting center Pau Gasol added 15. Oddly, Aldridge, Gay, and Gasol all finished with exactly 10 rebounds and four assists. The last team to get at least 10 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists from all three members of its starting frontcourt was the Rockets, in a 156–133 win at Denver on Jan. 10, 1991. Houston’s forwards in that game were Otis Thorpe (24 pts, 11 reb, 6 ast) and Buck Johnson (23, 13, 4), and its starting center, filling in for an injured Hakeem Olajuwon, was Larry Smith (11 pts, 10 reb, 4 ast.)

Walker is perfect from the line

Kemba Walker made all 14 of his free-throw attempts and finished with a game-high 29 points in the Hornets’ 104–94 win over the visiting Magic. Only one other Charlotte player has gone 14-for-14 or better from the foul line since the team re-entered the NBA (as the Bobcats) in 2004. Corey Maggette made all 14 free throws in a win over the Raptors on St. Patrick’s Day 2012.

A fine first half for Indiana’s starters

The Pacers’ five starters – Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Thaddeus Young – combined to score 51 points on 21-for-31 shooting (67.7%) in the first half of Indiana’s 115–97 home win over New York. The Pacers’ starting five hadn’t combined for as many points and as high a field-goal percentage before halftime since March 19, 2011, when Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Troy Murphy, Brandon Rush, and Earl Watson accounted for 53 points and a 68.8% shooting percentage in a home win over the Pistons.

Nets win with balanced scoring

The Nets got 57 points from their starters and 53 more from their bench in a 110–90 win at Atlanta Monday. It was the eighth time this season that Brooklyn received at least 50 points from both its starters and its substitutes. No other NBA team has more than five such games in 2017–18.

Four Mavs players score seven-or-more first-quarter points

The Mavericks scored a season-high 39 points in the first quarter of their 122–105 home win over the Nuggets. Dallas’s first-quarter outburst was led by Harrison Barnes (10 points), Dirk Nowitzki (7), Wesley Matthews (7), and Dennis Smith (7.) It was the fourth time in the Nowitzki era (i.e. the last 20 seasons) that four Mavs players scored at least seven points in the first quarter. Dirk himself was one of the four players in the first two games, on Nov. 16, 1999 against the Rockets and on March 14, 2000 versus the Pacers. Nowitzki played, but scored only two first-quarter points, in the third, on Feb. 4, 2015 at Golden State.

Ovi wins the race to 20 goals

Alex Ovechkin became the first NHL player to reach the 20-goal mark this season when he scored the second goal for the Capitals in their 4–1 win against the Sharks. Ovechkin’s goal was the 578th of his career, giving him sole possession of 20th place on the NHL’s all-time leaders list, so it’s a bit of a surprise to note that this is only the second time that he’s been the first NHL player to score 20 goals in a season. The only other season in which Ovechkin won that race was 2013–14, when he scored his 20th goal on November 23.

American-born Lee joins 100-goal club

Anders Lee scored the 100th goal of his Islanders and NHL career in the Isles’ shootout win over the Panthers. Lee, a Minnesota native, is the 30th player in Islanders history to score 100 or more goals for the club and the fifth U.S.-born player to do so, joining Pat LaFontaine (287 goals), Kyle Okposo (139), Jason Blake (127) and Mark Parrish (118). Lee reached the century mark in goals in his 287th career game, third-fastest among active U.S.-born NHL players, behind Bobby Ryan (230th game) and Zach Parise (285th game.)

Voracek helps on three goals

Jakub Voracek assisted on three goals as the Flyers ended their ten-game winless streak with a 5–2 victory against the Flames in Calgary. It was Voracek’s third three-assist game this season, which ties him with the Islanders’ Josh Bailey for second most in the NHL, behind the Jets’ Blake Wheeler with five. Voracek has matched his career high for most games with three or more assists in one season, a mark he set with Philadelphia in 2014–15.

Smith scores two goals for Nashville

Craig Smith scored two goals for the Predators when they beat the Bruins, 5–3, in Nashville on Monday. It was Smith’s first two-goal game this season and the 14th multiple-goal game of a seven-year NHL career spent entirely with the Predators. He’s now tied with Patric Hornqvist for the fourth most multi-goal games in Nashville team history, behind David Legwand (24), Jason Arnott (16) and Shea Weber (15.)