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JAMES RISES TO THE CHALLENGE
Orlando (49-17) played at Cleveland (53-13) in the marquee game of Tuesday night's NBA schedule. LeBron James rose to the challenge, producing 43 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the Cavaliers' 97-93 win. James is the first player in NBA history with at least 40 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a regular-season game between two teams each 30-or-more games above .500.
LAKERS SQUANDER BIG 4TH-QUARTER LEAD
Philadelphia trailed the Lakers by 14 points in the fourth quarter, but recovered to win, 94-93, on Andre Iguodala's game-ending three-pointer. It's the first time in seven years that the Lakers lost a home game in which they led by at least 14 points in the fourth quarter. Their last such loss in Los Angeles was on February 19, 2002 vs. the Celtics.
Philadelphia held Kobe Bryant to 11 points. It's the fewest points that Bryant has scored in any game this season in which he played at least 30 minutes.
CHICAGO COMEBACK CATCHES CELTICS
The Bulls rallied from a 13-point deficit in the third quarter and beat the Celtics 127-121 on Tuesday night. It was the largest second-half comeback for Chicago in a win against Boston since opening night in 2002, when the Bulls won at the TD Banknorth Garden after also trailing by 13 points in the third quarter.
SALMONS JOINS THE KING
John Salmons scored 38 points in Chicago's come-from-behind win against Boston on Tuesday night. That ties the most points by one player against the Celtics over the last two regular seasons. LeBron James scored 38 vs. Boston two times over that span in the regular season.
MAVS NEVER TRAIL IN CLOSE WIN
The Mavericks never trailed in their 103-101 win against the Pistons on Tuesday night. It was only the second NBA game this season decided by fewer than three points with the losing team never holding a lead. The other was the Lakers' 106-104 win at Washington on December 5.
T-WOLVES NEED MORE THAN LOVE
Kevin Love had 19 rebounds in Minnesota's loss at San Antonio on Tuesday night. Over the last 24 seasons, the only other NBA rookie with 19 or more rebounds in a game against the Spurs was also a Timberwolves player Dean Garrett, who had 20 boards vs. the pre-Duncan Spurs in January 1997.
KORVER EARNS GAME-HIGH HONORS WITH ONLY 15 POINTS
Kyle Korver scored a game-high 15 points in Utah's 103-88 win against Washington on Tuesday night. It was only the second NBA game this season in which no player on either team scored more than 15 points. The other was the Lakers' 96-83 victory over Atlanta on February 17, in which Lamar Odom's 15 points led both teams.
20/10 FOR ATLANTA TEAMMATES
Al Horford scored 23 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, while teammate Josh Smith had 21 points and 10 rebounds in the Hawks' victory over the Kings on Tuesday night. It's the first time this season that Atlanta teammates each had a 20/10 (points/rebounds) game. The Hawks had only one such game all of last season, when Smith and Marvin Williams did it in the first week of November.
BRODEUR SETS RECORD WITH FAMILIAR FINAL SCORE
Martin Brodeur set the NHL career record for wins by a goaltender (552) with a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks in New Jersey. The final score was appropriate: 3-2 has been by far the most common scoreline for a Brodeur win (99 times). It was also his 238th win by a one-goal margin, which is more than his total of two- and three-goal wins combined (231: 119 by two, 112 by three).
The Devils jumped out to a 3-0 lead over Chicago and held on to win by one goal. It was the 248th of Brodeur's 552 wins in which the Devils scored the first goal of the game in regulation time and led the rest of the way.
ELIAS SETS FRANCHISE RECORD
Overshadowed by teammate Martin Brodeur setting the NHL record for career wins by a goaltender, Patrik Elias became the Scouts/Rockies/Devils franchise leader in points with his assist on Brian Gionta's goal in the second period. It was Elias's 702nd point for New Jersey, breaking a tie with John MacLean (who now serves as an assistant coach for the Devils).
Elias is one of 12 active players who are the all-time leader in points for their current club, though only four are the top scorer for a team that entered the league before 1991: Mike Modano (North Stars/Stars), Jarome Iginla (Flames), Joe Sakic (Nordiques/Avalanche)and Elias.
LUNDQVIST TIES SHOOTOUT RECORD
Henrik Lundqvist's 4-3 victory in Montreal was the 27th shootout win of his career, tying Martin Brodeur for the all-time lead in that category. Lundqvist has lost four more shootouts than Brodeur, however (18-14).
OVECHKIN IS SECOND-FASTEST TO 400 POINTS
Alex Ovechkin recorded the 400th point of his NHL career in the Capitals' win at Florida. Ovechkin reached the 400-point mark in his 314th game, which is fewer games than any other active NHL player needed to do that with the exception of Teemu Selanne, who got to 400 points in his 304th game.
FLYERS HAVE THE MOTOWN BLUES
The Flyers are still winless in Detroit since 1988 after blowing a 2-0 lead and losing to the Red Wings, 3-2. This was only the second time that the Flyers had a two-goal lead in a game during their Motor City win drought (0-14-2 in the regular season, 0-2 in the 1997 Stanley Cup Final). The only other instance was in the first game of the winless streak, a 5-5 tie on Nov. 1, 1989, in which Philadelphia led 4-2 at one point.
MALKIN IS FIRST TO 100
With the third of his five points in Tuesday's game against the Thrashers, Evgeni Malkin became the first NHL player to reach the 100-point plateau this season. It's the 11th time that a Pittsburgh player has been the "first to 100" in a season. The other Penguins to do that were Mario Lemieux (six times), Jaromir Jagr (three times) and Sidney Crosby (once: 200607).
Malkin is one of only three active NHL players to score five points or more in a game played on St. Patrick's Day. The others are Joe Sakic (5 points on March 17, 1996) and Olli Jokinen (6 points on March 17, 2007).
BYLSMA HAS THE WINNING TOUCH
The Penguins' win over the Thrashers gives Dan Bylsma a 11-1-3 record and 25 points in his first 15 games as an NHL head coach. Bylsma is only the sixth man in NHL history to amass at least 25 points in the first 15 games of his coaching career, but he's not the first to do that this season. San Jose's Todd McLellan posted 26 points (and a 13-2-0 record) in his first 15 games. The other coaches to do it were Dave Gill (26 points, 12-1-2), Hap Day (26 points, 13-2-0), Marc Crawford (26 points, 13-2-0) and Alex Curry (25 points, 12-2-1).
THEODORE REBOUNDS WITH A SHUTOUT
Jose Theodore shut out the Panthers, 3-0, on Tuesday, one night after getting kayoed from his start in Atlanta, when he allowed four goals in the first 33 minutes. Theodore is only the third goaltender in the last 11 seasons to allow four goals or more in a start in which he played no more than 40 minutes, then post a shutout the next day. The only other instances since 1997-98 were by Rick DiPietro and Marty Turco, five days apart in December 2006.
BRENDAN RINGS BELL TWICE
Defenseman Brendan Bell scored two goals for Ottawa in its 4-2 win over Buffalo. It was only the second two-goal game over the last three seasons by a Senators defenseman. The other one was by Andrej Meszaros in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Islanders on Nov. 28, 2007.
ZIDLICKY SCORES SHOOTOUT WINNER
Marek Zidlicky scored the deciding goal in the shootout to give Minnesota a 3-2 victory over Colorado. It was Zidlicky's third shootout goal this season (in five attempts), tying him with Jack Johnson and Andrei Markov for the league high among defensemen.
NCAA Men's Basketball
FARIED GETS THE TOURNAMENT ROLLING
Kenneth Faried had 14 points and 21 rebounds in Morehead State's win over Alabama State in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The last player to reach both of those statistical levels in any NCAA tournament game was Nick Collison in 2003 (19 points and 21 rebounds in Kansas's loss to Syracuse in the 2003 Finals).
Alabama State's defeat marks the 17th consecutive loss by the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the NCAA tournament, the longest current losing streak for any league. Morehead State's victory ended the Ohio Valley Conference's 20-game losing streak in the tournament.