Special to ESPN.com
LEBRON TAKES MANHATTAN BY STORM
LeBron James scored 50 points in the Cavaliers' win at Madison Square Garden. James averaged 42.3 points per game in Cleveland's now-completed three-game season-series against New York. It's the fourth-highest single-season scoring average ever against the Knicks (minimum: three games). Wilt Chamberlain averaged 54.5 PPG against New York in 1961-62 (12 games) and 48.0 the next season (8 games); Pete Maravich averaged 43.3 PPG against the Knicks in 1976-77 (4 games).
James was the second player this season to score 50 points in a game after scoring only two in the first quarter. Allen Iverson did it in his 51-point game against the Lakers (Dec. 5).
PAUL IN ELITE COMPANY THROUGH HIS FIRST 200 GAMES
Chris Paul played the 200th game of his NBA career and handed out 18 assists as the Hornets topped the Hawks. Paul's career total of 1,814 assists is the fifth-highest for any NBA player through the first 200 games of his career. Only Oscar Robertson (2,078), Kevin Johnson (1,853), Tim Hardaway (1,842) and Mark Jackson (1,829) had more assists at the 200-game mark than Paul.
EASTERN CONFERENCE BOASTS MATCHUP OF NBA'S TOP TEAMS
The Celtics defeated the Pistons in a battle of the league's top two teams. Over the past ten years, there were 11 games this late in a season between teams that owned the NBA's two highest winning percentages, but each of those games involved at least one team from the Western Conference (nine of them were exclusively Western affairs). Prior to Wednesday, the last time that Eastern Conference teams met on March 5 or later while owning the two best records in the league was on March 9, 1997 (Knicks vs. Bulls).
GARNETT'S SEASON-HIGH FIRST HALF
Kevin Garnett scored 20 points in the first half for the 15th time in his NBA career but the first time since he joined the Celtics. (His previous first-half high this season was 16 points). Ray Allen (twice), Paul Pierce (twice) and Kendrick Perkins have all scored 20-or-more first-half points in a game for Boston this season.
RICHARDSON POSTS SEASON HIGH AGAINST HIS FORMER MATES
Jason Richardson scored a game-high 42 points against his former team to lead the Bobcats to a 118-109 win over Golden State. The only other ex-Warriors to score more than 40 points in a game against them are Wilt Chamberlain, twice for the Sixers (45 points on Dec. 20, 1965 and 62 on March 3, 1966), and Gilbert Arenas for the Wizards (45 points, Feb. 8, 2006).
ROCKETS WIN 16TH IN A ROW AFTER LEADING AT THE HALF IN EACH GAME
The Rockets established a franchise record with their 16th straight win, a 117-99 romp over the Pacers. Houston led at halftime in each of those wins; no other team in NBA history has ever won more than 12 in a row while leading at the half in each game.
Houston has matched the longest single-season winning streak by a Rick Adelman-coached team. Adelman presided over 16 straight wins for the Trail Blazers in 1991 (March 20-April 19).
IVERSON AND ANTHONY PROVIDE ONE-TWO PUNCH
Allen Iverson (31 points, 12 assists) and Carmelo Anthony (30 points, 13 rebounds) highlighted the Nuggets win over the Suns. It was the first time this season that a pair of NBA teammates each scored at least 30 points in a game while one recorded at least a dozen assists and the other grabbed at least 12 rebounds. The only other Denver teammates to that were Alex English (33 points, 12 assists) and Kiki Vandeweghe (35 points, 12 rebounds) against Seattle on March 30, 1982.
JAZZ FOLLOWS FORM BY BEATING THE TIMBERWOLVES
Utah (40-22) defeated the Timberwolves (12-48) to post its 17th straight home victory. You could have seen this one coming from a mile away. The Jazz are 14-0 at home this season against teams that currently have a losing record and Minnesota is 0-13 in road games against teams with a winning mark.
TORONTO HAS SEPERATE 15-0 AND 16-0 RUNS TO BEAT MIAMI
The Raptors scored 15 straight points in the first quarter and 16 in a row during the third quarter of their 108-83 win at Miami. It was the third time this season that an NBA team had separate streaks of 15-or-more consecutive points in one game. The Raptors actually had three such runs within a 106-69 laugher at New Jersey on Nov. 2 (scoring 16, 18 and 16 straight points at various times during that game). The Mavericks had streaks of 15 and 18 consecutive points to defeat Sacramento last week (Feb. 29).
STATISTICAL ODDITY IN MAGIC VICTORY
Orlando posted a 122-92 win at Washington without blocking a shot! Since the NBA started keeping track of blocks in 1973-74, only two other teams had a margin of victory of at least 30 points in a game in which they didn't block a shot. The Nets did it against the Kings (117-83, Feb. 4, 2002 at New Jersey) as did the SuperSonics against the Clippers (118-87, April 14, 2004 at Los Angeles).
SACRAMENTO REMAINS WINLESS WITHIN ITS DIVISION
The Kings are 0-9 within their own division this season after dropping a double-overtime decision to the Clippers in Los Angeles. Sacramento has ten straight losses against Pacific Division opponents (dating back to last season), the longest current intradivision losing streak for any NBA team. The next-longest streak of that kind belongs to the Grizzlies (eight straight losses versus teams from the Southwest Division).
OVECHKIN AGAIN SCORES A PAIR
Alex Ovechkin scored two goals in the Capitals' 3-1 win over the Sabres in Buffalo. It was Ovechkin's 28th multiple-goal game in his three seasons in the NHL, the most by any player in the league over that span. (Dany Heatley is second with 26).
MULLER'S 20TH GOAL IS TOPS AMONGS ROOKIES
The Coyotes' Peter Mueller became the first rookie to reach the 20-goal plateau in the NHL this season when he scored the first goal of the game in Phoenix's 2-1 win at Chicago. Mueller is the first rookie to score 20 goals in one season for the Jets/Coyotes franchise since 1992-93, when the team was still located in Winnipeg. That season, the Jets had a record-tying four rookies with 20-or-more goals: Teemu Selanne (76, an NHL rookie record), Evgeny Davydov (28), Keith Tkachuk (28) and Alexei Zhamnov (25).25
STAAL HAS CONSECUTIVE THREE-POINT GAMES
Eric Staal had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes in their win over the Lightning on Saturday and he had two goals and one assist in Carolina's 6-3 win in Atlanta on Wednesday. Staal is the first Hurricanes player to have consecutive games with three-or-more points since Rod Brind'Amour did that early last season (Oct. 28-Nov. 1, 2006). It's the second time that Staal has put together a streak of consecutive three-point games. He had a three-game streak of that type in 2005 (Oct. 28-Nov. 3).
COREY CRAWFORD EARNS FIRST NHL WIN WITH A SHUTOUT
Blackhawks rookie Corey Crawford, making the second start of his NHL career, recorded his first career win with a 3-0 shutout of the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. Crawford was the first Chicago goaltender to post a shutout for his first career win since Craig Anderson on Jan. 22, 2004 (7-0 vs. Columbus). It marks Anderson's second-straight mention in Elias Says.