Special to ESPN.com
KINGS HOLD FOE BELOW 100
The Kings defeating the fading Blazers was not the big news out of Sacramento on Thursday night. More noteworthy was the final score of 96 to 85. It's the first time in the last 12 games that the Kings held their opponent below 100 points; the 11 straight games allowing triple-digits was Sacramento's longest such streak since January of 1996.
WARRIORS-SUNS: POINTS A PLENTY
The NBA's two highest-scoring teams, the Warriors (110.9 points per game) and the Suns (109.6 per game), tipped off against each other Thursday night. The result wasn't exactly surprising, as the Suns took a 123-115 decision. It was the eighth straight game between the teams in which each team scored 100-or-more points. You have to go back to the mid-nineties to find the last pair of NBA teams that each reached 100 points in eight straight meetings; the Warriors and Timberwolves each reached triple-figures in eight consecutive meetings from 1994 to 1996.
SOX WAIVE MIRABELLI
How does one parlay a .231 career batting average into a big-league career that has touched parts of 13 seasons - and one that may not be done yet? Well, unless you can win 20 games in a season - or save 40 - the best way might be to learn to catch a knuckleball.
Even so, all things come to an end, and the Red Sox said goodbye to Doug Mirabelli on Thursday, despite the 37-year-old's proven ability to catch Tim Wakefield's favorite pitch. In fact, Mirabelli has been the starting catcher in 150 of Wakefield's last 164 starts (Jason Varitek and Josh Bard each started five times, and Kevin Cash - Mirabelli's presumptive successor in the job - started four of Wakefield's starts late last season).
THAT'S KRYSTAL WITH A "K"
Billy Crystal struck out in his debut, and presumably his swansong, in the Yankees' exhibition game loss to the Pirates. There have been more than 600 players in major-league history who have had exactly one regular-season plate appearance in their big-league "careers". Those players have produced a collective batting average of .107, and nearly 40 percent of them struck out in their lone trip to the plate!
Now, it's true that nearly three-quarters of those one-trip-to-the-plate big leaguers were pitchers; still, they are professional athletes, so a soon-to-be-60 comedian shouldn't feel too bad.
THREE TIMES THIRTY
Jason Spezza scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season to lead Ottawa to a 3-0 win in Montreal. Spezza is the third Senators player to reach the 30-goal plateau this season, joining teammates Daniel Alfredsson (37 goals) and Dany Heatley (35). No other NHL team has more than one player with as many as 30 goals this season
HALPERN SCORES AGAIN!
Jeff Halpern extended his goal-scoring streak to three games, matching his career high, when he scored Tampa Bay's first goal in their 3-1 win in Boston. Halpern, who was acquired by the Lightning from Dallas in a deal on February 26 (the trading-deadline day), scored only 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 64 games with the Stars this season. But Halpern has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in nine games with the Lightning, tying him with Michel Ouellet for the team lead in points since the trade.
BRODEUR NOW 2ND IN GAMES FOR DEVILS
The Devils beat the Wild, 4-3, in a shootout in St. Paul in the 957th regular-season game of Martin Brodeur's NHL career, spent entirely with the Devils. That moved him past Scott Stevens into second place on the franchise's all-time games played list, behind Ken Daneyko (1,283).
Here's a cool fact: The Devils are the only one of the 30 current NHL teams with a goaltender standing anywhere among its top-five career leaders in games played. Other than Brodeur, the goaltender who ranks highest on a franchise's games-played list is former Anaheim netminder Guy Hebert, who stands sixth in Ducks history with 441 games.
KOVALCHUK TOPS IGINLA, 3-2; THRASHERS TOP FLAMES, 6-4
The top two goal-scorers in the NHL over the last five seasons, Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Calgary's Jarome Iginla, went head-to-head at Philips Arena. Kovalchuk, number one in goals since the start of the 2002-03 season, bested number-two Iginla, three-goals-to-two, and the Thrashers overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Flames, 6-4. Including Thursday's game, Kovalchuk has scored 221 goals over the last five seasons and Iginla 192.
Kovalchuk's hat trick was his third this season, tying him with the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin for the league high. His two other hat tricks came in consecutive games: November 1 at Ottawa and November 3 at Tampa.
The Flames' loss marked the first time in more than six years that they failed to earn points from a game in which they led by a three-goal margin. The last such occasion: Dec. 19, 2001 at Phoenix, when Calgary also had a 3-0 lead but the Coyotes roared back to win, 6-3.
NCAA Men's Basketball
HOYAS BEAT WILDCATS AGAIN
Georgetown's 82-63 win over Villanova was the Hoyas' fifth straight win over the Wildcats in Big East Tournament play, matching the longest current winning streak by one team over another in Big East tourney competition. Connecticut has won five straight tournament games over Seton Hall, and Georgetown has won five straight over St. John's.
Georgetown is now 13-0 as a number-one seed in the Big East Tournament. Only one other school, in its current conference, has won as many games without a loss when playing as a number-one seed in a conference tournament: Massachusetts is 15-0 when playing as the top seed in the Atlantic-10 Tournament.
PITT: GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS
The good news: Pitt defeated Louisville, 76-69 in overtime, to advance to the semifinals of the Big East Tournament for the seventh time in the last eight years; the Panthers will play Marquette on Friday night. The bad news: In the past, teams have won only one of 18 Big East Tournament games when playing the day after winning in overtime.