Special to ESPN.com
IVERSON RETURNS TO PHILADELPHIA
The Nuggets lost for the second time in as many nights, but Allen Iverson scored 32 points in his return to Philadelphia. Two former Sixers scored more points in their first game back in Philly: Charles Barkley (35 for Phoenix on Mar. 28, 1993) and World B. Free (33 for San Diego on Nov. 24, 1978).
Iverson is the all-time leading scorer (10,255 points) in NBA games played in Philadelphia. Next on that list are Julius Erving (9364), Barkley (7288), Wilt Chamberlain (7066) and Hal Greer (6590).
NUGGETS FADE IN SECOND OF BACK-TO-BACK GAMES
With its loss to the 76ers, Denver is 4-12 (.250) this season in the second of games played on consecutive days, compared to 36-16 (.692) in all other games. The 442-point difference in those winning percentages is the largest for any team in the league.
HARDER THEY COME, HARDER THEY FALL
After winning 22 straight games, the Rockets have lost two in a row, 94-74 to the Celtics on Tuesday and 90-69 to the Hornets on Wednesday. In NBA history, only one other team has ever had a winning streak of more than seven games that was immediately followed by two straight losses, each by a margin of at least 20 points. In 1994-95, Utah had a 14-game winning streak snapped in that fashion.
LEBRON REACHES CAREER MILESTONE FOR ASSISTS
LeBron James scored 30 points to lead the Cavaliers over the Pistons, but his six assists caught our attention. In his 379th game in the NBA, James went over 2500-assist mark for his career (2501) to go along with his 2611 rebounds. Only three other players reached the 2500-mark in both rebounds and assists in fewer than 400 games: Oscar Robertson (247 games), Magic Johnson (290) and Grant Hill (391).
James is only four points shy of matching Brad Daugherty (10,389) for the most in Cavaliers history. Daugherty has held that distinction since Jan. 29, 1994, when he passed Austin Carr (10,265).
THE RAPTORS CLOBBER MIAMI
Toronto embarrassed the Heat, 96-54, with Miami making only 25.6 percent (20 of 78) of its field-goal attempts, the lowest percentage in a game for any NBA team since Nov. 9, 2004, when the Trail Blazers shot only 24.4 percent (19 for 78) from the floor in a 64-60 loss at New Jersey.
Toronto scored 64 percent (96 of 150) of the points in Wednesday's game, the second-highest percentage in any NBA game in the last ten seasons (since 199899). The highest percentage over that span was by the Pistons (64.1%) in a 118-66 win over the Celtics on Jan. 31, 2003.
Anthony Parker, Andrea Bargnani and Miami's Chris Quinn each scored a game-high 14 points. It was only the sixth NBA game during the shot-clock era (1954-55 to date) in which no player on either team scored as many as 15 points, but it was the second such game this season.
BOSH RETURNS AFTER MISSING TEN GAMES
Chris Bosh returned to the court for the Raptors after a ten-game absence and saw limited duty (8 points in 23 minutes). Toronto was 2-8 over its previous ten games and is 4-11 without Bosh this season. Meanwhile, Miami's record this season without Dwyane Wade dropped to 2-14. While those two teams have a combined .194 winning percentage under those circumstances, the 28 other NBA teams are 40-49 (.449) in games without their leading scorer.
WASHINGTONS'S FIRST ONE-POINT ROAD WIN SINCE 2005
The Wizards earned their first one-point win of the season with an 87-86 decision at Orlando. Washington hadn't won a road game by the minimum margin since Dec. 23, 2005, when they beat the Suns at Phoenix, 112-111. The Wizards played 98 consecutive road games between one-point win, but longest current streak of that kind belongs to the Bobcats, who have never registered a one-point victory away from Charlotte (156 road games in their history).
NEW JERSEY'S HIGH-SCORING BACKCOURT
Vince Carter scored 39 points and Devin Harris added 26 in the Nets' 125-117 win over the Hawks. It was the first time this season that both starting guards scored more than 25 points in a game for the Nets. Carter and Jason Kidd did that only four times in the four seasons they spent as New Jersey teammates.
CLIPPERS CAN'T DIG OUT OF FIRST-PERIOD HOLE
The Clippers have trailed at the end of the first quarter in each of their last 13 home games, including Wednesday's loss to the Warriors. That's the longest single-season streak of that nature by an NBA team in the last 58 seasons (since 1950-51, when the data on scores by quarter became consistently reliable). Seattle and Dallas each trailed at the end of the first quarter in 13 straight home games, but both of those streaks spanned seasons (SuperSonics: 2006-07 to 2007-08; Mavericks: 1996-97 to 1997-98).
TIMBERWOLVES WIN AFTER TRAILING BY 14 POINTS
Minnesota pulled out a 98-94 win against the Grizzlies after trailing, 54-40, in the third quarter. The Timberwolves have only 17 wins this season, but four of them were in games in which they trailed by at least 14 points. Only the Nets (6, including Wednesday's victory over Atlanta), Warriors (5) and Knicks (5) have more such wins this season than the T-Wolves.
LUNDQVIST CONTINUES TO HEX DEVILS
Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers beat the Devils, 2-1, in a shootout in New Jersey on Wednesday night. Lundqvist gave up three goals in his first career game against the Devils (Oct. 8, 2005; Rangers lost 3-2 in overtime) but he hasn't allowed more than two goals in any of his 15 starts versus New Jersey since then (2 shutouts, 6 times one goal, 7 times two goals).
Lundqvist has equaled the fourth-longest streak of consecutive starts allowing two-or-fewer goals against a particular team in the NHL's modern era (1943-44 to date). The other streaks of that length are by Dominik Hasek vs. Ottawa (23 starts, 1993-1998, the all-time NHL record); Bill Durnan vs. Chicago (17, 1943-1945); Bernie Parent vs. Chicago (16, 1973-1977); and Tomas Vokoun vs. St. Louis (15, 2002-2007, also a current streak).
Lundqvist is 6-0-0 against the Devils this season, matching the single-season record for wins against New Jersey. Lundqvist shares that mark with Tom Barrasso (6-2-1 for the Penguins in 1992-93) and Rick DiPietro (6-1-1 for the Islanders in 2005-06).
DRURY TIES ANOTHER GAME IN THE THIRD PERIOD
The Rangers trailed from the 6:05 mark of the first period until Chris Drury's goal with 4:46 left in the third tied the score at 1-1. It was Drury's fifth score-tying third-period goal this season. The only player with more such goals this season than Drury is Mats Sundin (7). Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexei Kovalev and Brian Rolston also have five.
SABRES ERASE THREE-GOAL DEFICIT IN THIRD PERIOD
The Sabres trailed the Lightning, 4-1, with just under 15:00 to play in the third period, but Buffalo scored six unanswered goals and beat Tampa Bay, 7-4. It was only the fifth time in NHL history that a team won a game by a margin of three (or more) goals after trailing by at least three goals in the third period. The last team to do it was Chicago on Feb. 1, 1989 (7-4 vs. Winnipeg).
It was the fifth time in Sabres history that they won a game in regulation after trailing by three goals in the third period. The Sabres had only three such wins in their first 35 seasons in the league but Wednesday's game was their second victory of that kind in the last two seasons. On March 23, 2007, Buffalo overcame a 4-1 third-period deficit to beat the Maple Leafs, 5-4.
TWO THIRD-PERIOD NATURAL HAT TRICKS IN ONE NIGHT
Thomas Vanek scored three consecutive third-period goals in the Sabres' win over the Lightning and Henrik Zetterberg did the same in the Red Wings' victory over the Blue Jackets. It was only the third time in NHL history that there were two third-period natural hat tricks on the same day.
The first time it happened was Jan. 16, 1919, when the Canadiens' Didier Pitre and Ottawa's Jack Darragh did that (in the same game!), but it took another 87 years for it to happen again. On Oct. 12, 2006, the Devils' Brian Gionta scored three straight third-period goals against the Maple Leafs and the Oilers' Ryan Smyth did likewise versus the Sharks.
ANOTHER QUICK START FOR THE BLACKHAWKS
Chicago outscored Washington 4-0 in the first period of its 5-0 win over the Capitals. It was the league-high third time this season that the Blackhawks scored at least four first-period goals while holding their opponent goalless in the first 20 minutes. Chicago outscored Phoenix 5-0 in the first period on November 30 and Columbus 4-0 in the opening period on February 13. The only other NHL team to do that in more than one game this season is the Kings (twice).
The Blackhawks honored Tony Esposito in a ceremony prior to the game. Esposito had 418 wins in his 15 seasons with Chicago. The only other goaltender in NHL history to win at least 400 games with one team is Martin Brodeur, who has 534 victories for the Devils.