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A FIRST-HALF DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR SHAQ
Shaquille O'Neal had 14 points and 16 rebounds, including 12 and 11 in the first half, leading the Suns to a 94-87 win over the Spurs on Sunday. That was Shaq's second first-half double-double in the last three seasons (he also did it on March 2, 2007). In the previous three seasons (2002-03 through 2004-05), O'Neal had a double-double by halftime 11 times. In the three seasons before that (1999-2000 to 2001-02) he did it 34 times.
BULLS CAN'T SWEEP PISTONS
The Bulls were unable to complete an unlikely season sweep of the Pistons, losing 116-109 in Auburn Hills. Despite being 20 games behind them in the standings entering Sunday, the Bulls had won their first three meetings with Detroit this season. No NBA team has ever swept a season series of at least four games from a team that finished the season more than 15 games ahead of them. The "record" belongs to the 2005-06 Hawks, which went 4-0 against the Pacers despite finishing 26-56, 15 games behind Indiana.
A HUGE TURNAROUND FOR KINGS
On Friday night, the Kings lost at home to the lowly Timberwolves, 111-103. But Sunday night Sacramento beat the red-hot Lakers, 114-113 in Los Angeles. It's been almost 13 years since a team, in consecutive games, lost at home to a team it led by at least 10 games in the standings (entering the game), then won on the road against a team it trailed by 10+ games. The last team to pull this trick was the Mavericks in 1995. Dallas lost at home to Golden State on April 10, then won at Houston on April 11, 1995.
76ERS ARE ONE OF THE NBA'S HOTTEST TEAMS
The 76ers beat the Bucks 119-97 in Milwaukee. The last time these teams met, Philadelphia won 112-69 at home on January 30. Since (and including) January 30, the 76ers are 13-5 and have outscored their opponents by 10.6 points per-game. The only teams that have had a larger average margin of victory over that span are the Rockets (17-0, +13.0) and the Lakers (16-4, +12.0).
THREE PITCHERS THROW 4+ INNINGS, DON'T ALLOW HIT
Milwaukee's Claudio Vargas threw five innings of no-hit ball against the Mariners in Cactus League play on Sunday. In the Grapefruit League, the Mets' John Maine and the Yankees' Phil Hughes each tossed four no-hit innings. In the last ten years, there has been only one other day during Spring Training when three different pitchers threw at least four innings without allowing a hit. Last March 15, Jeff Suppan pitched five no-hit innings for the Brewers against the Angels, Jake Westbrook pitched four innings for the Indians against the Devil Rays and Justin Verlander tossed four for the Tigers against the Nationals.
RANGERS, BRUINS AGAIN CAN'T SCORE BEFORE SHOOTOUT
For the second time this season, the Rangers and Bruins played 65 minutes without either team scoring a goal. On October 20 in Boston, the Bruins prevailed in the shootout, and on Sunday afternoon in New York the Rangers won the shootout tiebreaker. It's been more than half a century since a pair of NHL teams played two goalless games against each other in the same season. The Bruins and Red Wings played to a scoreless tie in the first two of 14 meetings in the 1955-56 season.
COGLIANO SCORES OT GOAL IN SECOND STRAIGHT GAME
Rookie Andrew Cogliano scored at 3:01 of overtime, giving the Oilers a 6-5 win at Chicago Sunday. Cogliano also scored an overtime game-winner at Columbus on Friday. He's the first Edmonton player and the first rookie in NHL history to score an overtime goal in consecutive team games.
ANOTHER BIG GAME FOR MALKIN IN 2008
Evgeni Malkin had three assists for the Penguins in their 4-2 win at Washington on Sunday afternoon. It was Malkin's league-leading 12th game with three-or-more points this season and it was his 10th such game since January 1, twice as many as any other NHL player has compiled in 2008. (Eric Staal, Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Frolov each have five three-point games since New Year's Day.)
OVECHKIN TAKES 10 SHOTS AGAIN
Alex Ovechkin had 10 shots on goal for the Capitals in Sunday's game against Pittsburgh. It was the fifth time that Ovechkin reached double-figures in shots on goal in a game this season; no other NHL player has done that more than twice this season.
CROSBY CREDITED WITH GAME WINNER
Sidney Crosby was credited with the goal at 19:32 of the third period that broke a 2-2 tie Washington's Nicklas Backstrom shot the puck into his own net and the Penguins added an empty-net goal to beat the Capitals, 4-2, on Sunday. It was the second time in Crosby's three seasons in the NHL that he scored a tie-breaking goal in the final minute of the third period. On Oct. 12, 2006, Crosby's goal at 19:56 of the third period gave Pittsburgh a 6-5 victory over the Rangers in New York.
LIDSTROM HAS MOST POINTS AGAINST NASHVILLE
Nicklas Lidstrom returned to action after missing six games due to a knee injury and contributed two assists to the Red Wings' 4-3 win over Nashville on Sunday afternoon. Lidstrom is the all-time scoring leader against the Predators, with 43 points (11 goals, 32 assists) in 53 games. Lidstrom's former Detroit teammate, Sergei Fedorov, is second with 38 points versus Nashville.
NABOKOV OWNS THE WILD
Evgeni Nabokov and the San Jose Sharks posted a 3-2 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. Nabokov has won his last six games against the Wild (dating back to November 2006) and allowed a total of only seven goals in those six games, not more than two in any single game.
TURCO SHUTS OUT AVS FOR FIRST TIME
Marty Turco and Stars shut out Colorado, 3-0, Turco's 33rd career shutout but his first against the Avalanche. With Colorado added to his list of victims, the only Western Conference opponents Turco has never shut out are the Kings (27 games) and of course the Stars, for whom he's played his entire career.