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BRYANT SCORES 52 AFTER SLOW START
Kobe Bryant rebounded from a poor-shooting first half (5-for-11 from the field, 3-for-8 from the line) to score 52 points in the Lakers' 108-104 overtime win over the Mavericks. Only five other players in NBA history scored at least 50 points in a game in which they missed as many field-goal attempts (12) and foul shots (7) as Bryant did on Sunday: Tracy McGrady (2004), Allen Iverson (1997), David Robinson (1994), Elgin Baylor (1961), and the incomparable Wilt Chamberlain, who did it a total of 48 times.
KOBE IS PERFECT FROM THE LINE DOWN THE STRETCH
Kobe Bryant shot 13-for-13 from the foul line in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' win. Over the last 10 seasons, only three other players made at least 13 free throws without a miss in the fourth quarter of one game: Gilbert Arenas (15 in 2006), Vince Carter (16 in 2005), and Speedy Claxton (13 in 2004).
AND SPEAKING OF WILT ...
LeBron James scored 37 points in the Cavaliers' 95-86 win over the Bulls. James now ranks 279th in NBA history with a career total of 10,074 points. Consider that his headstart on Wilt Chamberlain, who made his NBA debut at the age of 23 years, 64 days -- LeBron's exact age as of today (Monday, March 3). James has already played 370 NBA games.
DUNLEAVY STAYS HOT IN PACERS' WIN OVER BUCKS
Mike Dunleavy scored 36 points for the second consecutive game, leading the Pacers to a 128-106 win over the Bucks. It was Dunleavy's sixth game of 30 or more points this season, after reaching the 30-point mark only once in 399 previous NBA games. Incidentally, only three other players in the Pacers' NBA history topped the 35-point mark in consecutive games: Billy Knight (three times), Reggie Miller (1990), and Jalen Rose (2000).2000
ANDERSON STOPS 53 SHOTS IN 1-0 VICTORY
Craig Anderson needed every one of his 53 saves in the Panthers' 1-0 victory over the Islanders. It was the most saves any goaltender has made in a shutout since the NHL started tracking shots on goal as an official statistic in the 1955-1956 season. The previous high was 52, by Jacques Plante of the Canadiens (Nov. 13, 1955, 20 win vs. Black Hawks) and Curtis Joseph of the Oilers (Dec. 10, 1996, 0-0 tie vs. Red Wings).
Anderson stopped 29 shots in the second period alone. The only goaltender to make that many saves in one period without allowing a goal-again, since the start of the 1955-1956 season-was Allan Bester of the Maple Leafs. He turned aside all 32 shots by the Hartford Whalers before allowing four goals in the third period in a 5-3 loss on March 15, 1984.
JAGR THE ONLY RANGERS SKATER WITHOUT A SHOT ON GOAL
Every Rangers skater except one had at least one shot on goal in Sunday's 5-4 shootout win over the Flyers. The exception was Jaromir Jagr, who ranks second among active players in both goals (648) and shots on goal. The last player with at least 500 career goals at the time of a game in which all of his teammates had a shot on goal but he did not? Fifty-one-year-old Gordie Howe of the Hartford Whalers, on March 1, 1980 (800 goals at the time).
LUNDQVIST AND NIITTYMAKI GET EARLY HOOKS
The midday hour at Madison Square Garden wasn't the finest for Scandinavian Olympic-medalist goaltenders. By 1:06 p.m. on Sunday, Henrik Lundqvist of Sweden and Antti Niittymaki of Finland had both allowed three goals. It was only the third game this season in which both teams scored at least three times in the first period.
Steve Valiquette replaced Lundqvist to start the second period, and Martin Biron replaced Niittymaki after Christian Backman gave the Rangers a 43 lead at 1:51 of the second. It was the first NHL game in which neither starting goalie lasted 25 minutes since December 26, 2005, when Vitali Kolesnik (Avalanche) played three minutes and Curtis Joseph (Coyotes) played 16 minutes.
KANE RECLAIMS ROOKIE LEAD IN SCORING
Patrick Kane scored two goals an added an assist in the Blackhawks' 4-1 win over the Canucks, reclaiming the scoring lead among NHL rookies from Nicklas Backstrom. Over the last 20 years, only one number-one draft choice led NHL rookies in points: Alex Ovechkin in 2005-2006, after being drafted first overall by the Capitals in 2004.
LETANG GIVES PENGUINS A SHOOTOUT WIN
Kris Letang was the only player to score in the shootout of the Penguins' 3-2 win over the Thrashers. Letang, a rookie defenseman, has converted five of eight shootout attempts. No other NHL defenseman has scored more than twice in shootouts this season.
HASEK FINALLY WINS ONE AT BUFFALO
Dominik Hasek made 22 saves in the Red Wings' 4-2 win over the Sabres, posting his first victory at Buffalo since leaving the Sabres for the Wings in 2001. Hasek, who has won games at 25 other arenas during that time, is 1-1-1 at Buffalo during his five seasons with the Red Wings and Senators.
GARON WINS SHOOTOUT FOR OILERS
Mathieu Garon improved his career shootout record to 15-4 in the Oilers' 4-3 victory over the Blue Jackets. The only goaltender with a better record than Garon in shootouts with at least 10 wins is Manny Fernandez (12-3).
ERSBERG LOSES FIRST START IN OVERTIME
The Wild defeated the Kings, 2-1 in overtime, to spoil the first NHL start of Los Angeles goaltender Erik Ersberg. Ersberg became the third goalie this season to suffer an overtime loss in his first career start, following Thomas Greiss of the Sharks and Tobias Stephan of the Stars.