Special to ESPN.com
AN UNUSUAL FIRST HALF FOR THE MAGIC
The Magic shot 26-for-39 (66.7%) in the first half of their win over the Pacers, but only led by eight at the break because they also committed 12 first-half turnovers. The last team to make at least two-thirds of its first half field goal attempts while also committing at least a dozen turnovers was the Grizzlies on March 24, 2005. On that date, Memphis shot 21-for-30 (70.0%) but turned the ball over 13 times in the first half at New Jersey.
BOOZER BRINGS BACK MEMORIES OF KARL MALONE
Carlos Boozer scored 41 points, shooting 15-for-19 (78.9%) from the field in Utah's 117-115 loss at New Jersey. The last Jazz player with that high a field goal percentage in a 40-point game was Karl Malone, who scored 61 points on 21-for-26 shooting (80.8%) on January 27, 1990 against Milwaukee.
ANOTHER 20-POINT WIN FOR THE CELTICS
The Celtics beat the Bucks, 99-77, the 17th time this season Boston has won a game by at least 20 points. That's the most 20-point wins by any team since the 2002-03 Mavericks (17). Ray Allen didn't play Saturday night. It was the third such win for the Celtics without at least one of their "big three" (Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce) in the lineup. On December 14 Boston also beat Milwaukee without Allen and on January 29 they beat Miami without Allen and Garnett.
ANDRE MILLER'S GREAT SHOOTING GAME
Andre Miller scored 32 points in the 76ers' 103-96 win over the Spurs, shooting 11-for-14 from the field and 10-for-11 from the free throw line. In the last ten years, only two other starting guards have made more than 75% of their field goals and more than 90% of their free throws in a game (minimum 10 FG made and 10 FT made). Gilbert Arenas was 13/16 from the floor and 13/14 from the line for the Wizards on February 25, 2006 and Stephon Marbury was 10/12 and 10/11 for the Nets on February 8, 2000.
WIZARDS RALLY FROM THE BRINK
The Wizards trailed the Clippers 98-94 with less than five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter but rallied for a 119-109 overtime win. It's only the fourth time in the last 10 years that a team has won a game it trailed by 4+ with five seconds or less remaining in the fourth. The others: LA Lakers at Sacramento on January 4, 2007; Boston at New Jersey on December 28, 2000; LA Lakers at Golden State on April 20, 1999.
OSWALT NEARLY PERFECT FOR SIX INNINGS
Roy Oswalt pitched six almost perfect innings for the Astros against the Braves in Kissimmee on Saturday. The only blemish on his record came when Scott Thorman reached on an error. Over the last 15 years, only two pitchers have thrown at least six innings in a Spring Training game without allowing a hit, walk or hit batsman: Mark Buehrle for the White Sox on March 19, 2005 and Ron Darling for the Athletics on March 23, 1994 (both pitched six innings).
KAZMIR TO MISS OPENING DAY
The Rays announced that Scott Kazmir's elbow injury will prevent him from starting on opening day. Kazmir threw the first pitch for Tampa Bay in the 2006 and 2007 seasons, becoming the first Rays pitcher to earn consecutive opening day starts since Wilson Alvarez in 1998 and 1999, the franchise's first two seasons. James Shields, or whoever else starts for Tampa Bay at Baltimore on March 31, will become the team's 9th different opening day starter in the last ten seasons (Kazmir is the only one of the previous eight still in the organization). The only other team that's used eight different starting pitchers in its last nine opening days is the Pirates. Pittsburgh will join Tampa Bay in using nine in ten seasons unless Zach Duke, who's currently projected as the number five starter, gets the call again in 2008.
GABORIK'S 200TH GOAL
Marian Gaborik, the third overall pick in the 2000 Entry Draft (behind Rick DiPietro and Dany Heatley), scored the 200th regular-season goal of his NHL career in Minnesota's 2-0 win over the Kings on Saturday. Gaborik is the second player from the class of 2000 to reach the 200-goal plateau, joining Heatley, who has scored 215 times. Three other players from the 2000 draft have at least 100 goals: Justin Williams (121), Alexander Frolov (117) and Scott Hartnell (115).
BRODEUR BEATS THEODORE AGAIN
Martin Brodeur and the Devils beat Jose Theodore and the Avalanche, 4-2, in Denver on Saturday. That's pretty much par for the course when Brodeur and Theodore go head-to-head. The two goaltenders have started against each other in regular-season play 17 times and Brodeur is 13-4-0 with a 1.42 goals-against average and five shutouts in those 17 games. Theodore is 4-13-0 with a 2.69 goals-against average and one shutout.
RANGERS FALL AGAIN IN FLORIDA
The Rangers came up empty on their two-game road swing to the Sunshine State, losing 3-2 to the Panthers on Friday and 3-0 to the Lightning on Saturday. This was the 18th time that the Rangers played consecutive road games against the Panthers and Lightning (in either order) but only the second time that they failed to gain a point in either game. The other instance was Dec. 21-23, 2006, when the Rangers lost 3-2 at Florida and 4-3 in Tampa.
CANADIENS ON A STREAK AGAINST ISLANDERS
The Canadiens have won their last five games against the Islanders (the last meeting in 2006-07 and all four this season), outscoring them 19-6. It's Montreal's longest winning streak versus the Islanders since they won 10 consecutive games against them from 1975 to 1978.
HALAK IS SECOND ROOKIE GOALIE WITH A SHUTOUT FOR MONTREAL
Rookie Jaroslav Halak recorded his first shutout of the season when the Canadiens blanked the Islanders, 3-0, in Montreal. Halak's rookie teammate, Carey Price, has two shutouts this season. This is the first time that the Canadiens have had two rookie goaltenders post shutouts in the same season since 1980-81, when Richard Sevigny had two shutouts and Rick Wamsley had one.
DEFENSEMEN TIE, WIN GAME FOR BRUINS
Aaron Ward would not have been able to score the overtime winner for Boston had fellow Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference not tied the score at 2-2 with a goal at 19:33 of the third period. It was the first time that an NHL team had a score-tying goal from a defenseman in the final minute of the third period and then a winning goal in the same game by a defenseman since Jan. 2, 2006, when the Kings got a tying goal from Lubomir Visnovsky (at 19:33 of the third period) and overtime winner by Mattias Norstrom to beat Dallas, 3-2. It was the second such win for the Bruins since the five-minute overtime rule was introduced in 1983-84. On March 6, 1993 against St. Louis, Glen Wesley had the last-minute tying goal and Ray Bourque scored the game-winner in OT.
WARD BEATS FLYERS IN OT FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS SEASON
Defenseman Aaron Ward's second overtime goal of the season gave the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Flyers in Boston on Saturday afternoon. Ward's other OT goal this season was also scored against the Flyers (January 12 in Philadelphia). It's only the third time since the NHL introduced the five-minute overtime period in 1983-84 that a defenseman scored two overtime goals against the same team in one season. But Ward is not the first defenseman to do that this season. The Capitals' Mike Green has scored two OT goals against the Rangers (Dec. 12 and Feb. 10; both in Washington). Before this season the only defenseman to do it was Scott Niedermayer (then with the Devils) against the Bruins in 2001-02.
ROB NIEDERMAYER LOVES THE THIRD PERIOD
Rob Niedermayer scored two third-period goals, including the game-winner, in the Ducks' 5-2 win over the Blues. Seven of Niedermayer's eight goals this season have come in the third period, and over the last three seasons, he's scored 19 of his 28 goals (68%) in the third. The only other player with 20+ goals since 2005-06 who has scored at least 60% of them in the third period is Boyd Devereaux (14 of 23, 61%).
ROOKIE SMITH GETS A SHUTOUT FOR HIS SECOND TEAM
Rookie Mike Smith, who was traded to Tampa Bay by Dallas on February 26, had two shutouts for the Stars this season and he recorded his first shutout for the Lightning by blanking the Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday night. Smith is the third rookie in NHL history to post shutouts for two different teams in the same season and he's the first to do so in 79 years. Hal Winkler had two shutouts for the Rangers and four for the Bruins in 1926-27, his first NHL season, and Flat Walsh recorded three shutouts for the New York Americans and one for the Montreal Maroons as a rookie in 1928-29.
NCAA Men's Basketball
TIM WELSH FIRED
Providence head coach Tim Welsh was fired Saturday. Welsh has a 1-9 career record in Big East Tournament games, the worst mark all-time among head coaches with at least 10 games. Next-worst: Mike Brey, Notre Dame (3-8); Paul Evans, Pittsburgh (4-8); Leonard Hamilton, Miami (5-9); Craig Esherick, Georgetown (5-6).
GEORGIA WINS IN OT AGAIN
Georgia became the second team this year to win consecutive conference tournament games in overtime. Tulsa beat UAB and UTEP in consecutive games in the Conference USA tournament. Prior to this year, no team had win consecutive conference tournament games in overtime since UNC-Asheville in 2003. The Bulldogs beat Elon and Winthrop in the Big South Tournament.
MEMPHIS ROLLS THROUGH C-USA
As expected, Memphis won the Conference USA championship, 77-51 over Tulsa. The Tigers have not only won each of their last nine conference tournament games, but they have won all nine by at least 10 points. Only two other schools have ever won as many as nine consecutive conference tournament games by double-digits: Kentucky has had 3 such streaks in the SEC Tournament (22 and two streaks of nine) and Davidson won nine consecutive games in such fashion in the Southern Tournament. No other Division I school has a current streak longer than three games.