NBA’s first 50-point game on January 1
DeMar DeRozan rung in the new year with 52 points in the Raptors’ overtime victory over the Bucks. That is the most points that any NBA player scored in a game played on January 1. The previous highest point total on the first day of any year was 49, by Bob Pettit in 1962 (for the St. Louis Hawks against the Pistons) and Kiki Vandeweghe in 1983 (for the Nuggets versus the Suns).
Timberwolves win by more than 15 points on back-to-back nights
The Timberwolves defeated the Pacers on Sunday evening, 107–90, and dismissed the Lakers, 114–96, on Monday night. The only other NBA team to win by more than 15 points on each of back-to-back days this season was the Pacers, on Oct. 31 (101–83 versus the Kings) and Nov. 1 (124–107 against the Cavaliers).
Teenager leads Nets to victory
Allen led the Nets in scoring for the first time on Monday night, with 16 points in Brooklyn’s victory over the Magic. It is the third time this season that a teenager was his team’s outright leader in scoring in a win. Lonzo Ball (29 points at Phoenix on Oct. 20) and Dennis Smith Jr. (19 points versus Memphis on Oct. 25) were the other not-yet-20-years-old players who did that this season.
McCollum: 11-for-30 from the field
CJ McCollum scored a game-high 32 points in the Trail Blazers’ overtime win over the Bulls, but he was just 11-for-30 (.367) from the field. It was the 12th time in the last 20 seasons that a Portland player attempted at least 30 field goals in a game, but the first in which that player converted fewer than 40 percent of those shots.
Prior to McCollum the last member of the franchise to shoot below 40 percent in a game with at least 30 FGAs was Isaiah Rider in a quadruple overtime loss to Phoenix in Nov. 1997. Rider was 12-for-36 (.333) from the field in that game and he scored 35 points.
Miller is overtime hero
J.T. Miller’s overtime goal earned the Rangers a 3–2 win over the Sabres in the NHL’s Winter Classic. Over the last 12 months and one day (i.e., since Jan. 1, 2017), Miller has scored 12 goals in 30 regular-season games versus Atlantic Division clubs (including six of his eight goals this season) but only six goals in 52 games against all other NHL teams.
Sabres defenseman picks up where he left off in 2017
Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen tallied one goal and one assist in the Sabres’ overtime loss to the Rangers in the NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field, after doing the same in Buffalo’s last game, an overtime win at New Jersey on Friday. He’s the first Sabres defenseman in the 21st century to produce at least one goal and one assist in each of two consecutive team games in one season; the last to do so before Ristolainen was Jason Woolley on April 6–9, 1999. Taking the assists out of the equation, Ristolainen is the first Buffalo defenseman with a two-game goal-scoring streak since Zach Bogosian on March 16–18, 2016.