Elias Says: February 1, 2018

A nifty fifty for CJ

CJ McCollum scored 50 points while playing only 29 minutes, 16 seconds in the Trail Blazers’ 124-108 victory over the visiting Bulls, becoming only the second player in the NBA’s shot-clock era to score at least 50 points in a game in which he played less than 30 minutes. On Dec. 5, 2016, Klay Thompson poured in 60 points while playing only 29:03 of a victory over the Pacers.

McCollum scored 28 points in the first quarter, nine more than the Bulls’ entire team. It was the most points scored by any NBA player in a quarter this season, and the most ever scored by a Blazers player in a quarter (Damian Lillard had Portland's old record at 26). The Blazers scored 21 consecutive points during that opening period, their largest run of consecutive points in a game since they ran off 22 unanswered points against the Spurs on Feb. 21, 2012.

Rozier earns triple-double in his first NBA start

Terry Rozier, making his first start in three seasons as a pro, put his name in the history books by producing a triple-double as the Celtics pulled away from the Knicks, 103-73. Rozier finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to become the first player to earn a triple-double in a regulation-length game in his first NBA start since Elias began systematically recording starts for NBA players when it became the league’s statistician in 1970. Since that time, only Tony Wroten had earned a triple-double (18 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists) in his first NBA start, doing it while playing for the 76ers on Nov. 13, 2013; but Wroten did so with the benefit of an overtime period (during which he collected his 10th rebound). Having said all of that, we also know that Oscar Robertson produced a triple-double in his first NBA game, which he presumably started, in October of 1960.

The Celtics held the Knicks to eight points in the fourth quarter, the fewest points that any NBA team has scored in a fourth quarter this season. In addition, that total matched the lowest that the Knicks have ever produced in the fourth quarter in any of their 5,099 games since the NBA adopted the shot clock in 1954. (The Bulls held New York to eight fourth-quarter points on Jan. 1, 2016.)

Crowder’s three puts Cavs ahead to stay

Jae Crowder took a kick-out pass from LeBron James and hit an open three to break an 85-85 tie with 1:21 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Cavaliers held on to nip the Heat, 91-89. It was the first time in nearly two years that Crowder hit a field goal in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime to put his team ahead to stay. He last did that with a three-pointer with 30.4 seconds remaining in Boston’s 100-95 win over Utah on Feb. 29, 2016.

Cleveland made only 35 percent of its field-goal attempts, connecting on 28 of 80 shots. That was the second-lowest field-goal percentage for a winning team in an NBA game this season; back on November 16, the Celtics defeated the Warriors, 92-88, in a game in which the winners shot only 32.9 percent from the floor. Isaiah Thomas made only two of 15 field-goal attempts (13.3 percent), the second time in his 12 games with the Cavs that he has produced that exact shooting line. However, Isaiah’s proficiency from the foul line (he made all nine free-throw attempts) proved critical in the two-point win.

Walker sets a team record with nine threes

Kemba Walker drilled nine three-pointers to set a single-game Charlotte record as the Hornets secured a 123-110 victory in Atlanta. Charlotte’s previous high for threes in a game was eight, done by Ben Gordon (2012), Troy Daniels (2016), and Nicolas Batum (2017). Only two other NBA players have hit as many as nine threes in a game this season: Damian Lillard made nine in a loss to the Rockets on December 9, and Stephen Curry made 10 in a victory over Memphis on December 30.

Nets check off some boxes in win over 76ers

It was a game of firsts for the Nets, who in their first meeting of the season with the 76ers, earned their first win of the season against an Atlantic Division opponent, besting Philadelphia, 116-108. Brooklyn had previously gone winless in two games against the Raptors, three games against the Celtics, and four games against the Knicks, and until Wednesday night, it had been the only NBA team without a victory within its division this season. The Nets were led by Spencer Dinwiddie’s 27 points and D’Angelo Russell’s 22, marking another first—the first time this season that those two backcourt players have scored 20-or-more points in the same game.

Pacers’ formula: make half of the shots, and win

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers with 21 points including three free throws to seal the victory in the closing moments of a 105-101 victory over the visiting Grizzlies. The victory lifted the Pacers’ record to 29-23, reaching the six-games-over-500 mark for the first time this season. It was only the third time this season that Bogdanovic has led Indiana in scoring, and the Pacers have won all three games.

Indiana made 37 of its 70 field-goal attempts, marking the 19th game this season in which Nate McMillan’s team has made at least half of its shots from the floor. While teams throughout the NBA have won about 80 percent of games in which they have shot at least 50 percent from the floor this season, the Pacers’ record in such games is unblemished: 19 wins, no losses. That’s the most wins without a loss in 50-percent-shooting games for any NBA team this season.

Payton caps a good month with a big game

Elfrid Payton stuffed the boxscore with 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals as the Magic went off on the Lakers, toppling the visitors, 127-105. It was the most points that Orlando has produced in a home victory in nearly two years, since a 139-105 win over the Nets in March of 2016. Payton’s total of 15 points was enough, and we mean just enough, to give him his highest scoring average in any of the 18 months in which he has played in at least 10 NBA games. Payton finished January with an average of 14.692 points per game, a hair’s width higher than his previous high of 14.688 points per game last January.

Suns throttle Mavs

The Suns outscored the Mavericks, 36-17, over the game’s first 12 minutes and went on to take a 102-88 decision from the visiting Texans. With that, Phoenix emphatically wrote finis to its streak of having allowed 100-or-more points in each of its last 15 games, which had equaled the second-longest streak of that kind in the NBA this season. The longest streak of the season remains the 17 consecutive games in which the Wizards allowed opponents to reach triple-figures.

Mrazek’s 8th straight shootout win

Petr Mrazek earned his eighth consecutive shootout win when he and the Red Wings prevailed in a seven-round tiebreaker against the Sharks after the teams had skated to a 1-1 deadlock. Mrazek won his final shootout in the 2015-16 season and he finished with a 6-0 record in shootouts last season. Mrazek’s run of eight straight shootout wins ties Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov for the longest current winning streak among active NHL goaltenders in games decided by a shootout.

Maple Leafs’ kids are too much for Islanders

Youth was served in Toronto on Wednesday night as Auston Matthews (age 20), Mitch Marner (20), Kasperi Kapanen (21) and Travis Dermott (21) each scored a goal for the Maple Leafs in their 5-0 win against the Islanders. (The Leafs’ fifth goal was scored by 26-year-old Justin Holl, who was making his NHL debut.) This was the first time that four different players age 21 or younger scored a goal in the same game for the Maple Leafs since their 10-2 win over the Bruins on March 18, 1944. Toronto’s youthful goal scorers in that game were Gus Bodnar (age 20, two goals), Bud Poile (20, two goals), Don Webster (19) and Ted Kennedy (18).

Stephenson scores twice within a minute

Chandler Stephenson scored two goals in an NHL game for the first time to help the Capitals beat the Flyers, 5-3. Philadelphia was leading 2-0 before Stephenson produced a pair of goals 47 seconds apart early in the second period to get Washington even at 2-2. They were the fastest two goals in one game by a Capitals rookie since March 21, 2008, when Nicklas Backstrom scored twice in 32 seconds during Washington’s 5-3 win in Atlanta. Stephenson’s two-goal game was the second by a Capitals rookie this season, following Jakub Vrana’s two-goal performance versus Ottawa on November 22. Washington had only one multiple-goal game by a rookie over the previous six seasons combined: Andre Burakovsky scored a pair at Anaheim in February 2015.