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LEBRON JAMES OUTDUELS VINCE CARTER
The Cavaliers rolled over the Nets on Sunday with LeBron James leading the Cavaliers in points (30), rebounds (11) and assists (8), while Vince Carter did the same for New Jersey (team highs of 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists). It was only the second NBA game this season in which both teams had one player lead them (either tied or outright) in each of those three categories. It happened previously on March 10, when James and Zach Randolph did so in a Cavaliers victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles.
KINGS FINISH SEASON 1-29 AGAINST THE EASTERN CONFERENCE
The Kings completed their interconference schedule for the season by being routed by the Sixers in Sacramento on Sunday. Disregarding the lockout-shortened season in 1999, Sacramento's 1-29 mark against the East was the worst interconference record ever posted by an NBA team in one season, breaking the previous mark for futility set by the Clippers in 1986-87 (1-21). The Kings, whose only victory against an Eastern Conference team came on Friday night in New York, are the first team in NBA history to complete a non-strike or non-lockout season without winning a home game against a team from the rival conference.
ROCKETS LEAPFROG SPURS INTO FIRST PLACE
The Rockets win at San Antonio catapulted Houston to first place in the Southwest Division. It's the latest point in a season that the Rockets have owned sole possession of first place in their division since they won the Midwest Division title and the NBA championship in 1993-94.
DUNCAN ENDS SCORING DROUGHT
Tim Duncan scored 23 points in San Antonio's loss, breaking his streak of 12 straight games with fewer than 20 points. That streak equaled Duncan's career high; he also scored fewer than 20 points in each 12 consecutive games in 2005-06.
THUNDER WINS WITHOUT CRACKING THE 100-POINT MARK
The Thunder rolled to a 97-90 win at Minnesota behind Kevin Durant's 30 points as Oklahoma City matched its franchise record by failing to reach the 100-point mark for a 12th consecutive game. The franchise was held under 100 points in each of 12 straight games twice before, both times when the team located in Seattle (once in 2002-03 and again the following season).
RAPTORS HAND CLIPPERS ANOTHER LOPSIDED LOSS
The Raptors' 100-76 win over the Clippers on Sunday marked the 18th time this season that the Clippers lost a game by at least 20 points. No other NBA team has more than 14 losses by a 20+ point margin this season and no team has lost as many as 18 such games in any season since the 2002-03 Cavaliers (20).
LAKERS FIRST WIN LIKE THIS IN 5 YEARS
The Lakers trailed the Bulls, 63-48, early in the third quarter, but rallied to earn a 117-109 victory. Even for the Lakers, this was a special victory. It marked the first time in more than five years that they had won a road game after trailing by at least 15 points in the second half. Their last such win came on March 3, 2004, when they won in Houston, 96-93, after having trailed by 15 points in the third quarter. That was back when the Lakers' starting lineup included Rick Fox, Gary Payton and Shaquille O'Neal.
ROY GETS 30, CONTINUES HIS MARCH THROUGH MARCH
Brandon Roy scored 30 points in the Trail Blazers' win in Milwaukee, lifting his scoring average to 25.8 points per game in 12 games during the month of March, fifth-highest in the NBA. The last Portland player with as high a scoring average in a month of at least 10 games was Clifford Robinson, who averaged 25.9 points in 11 games in January 1996.
SUNS SHOOTING LIGHTS OUT
The Suns routed the Wizards, 128-96, making 55.4 percent of their field-goal attempts. That marked the 19th game this season in which Phoenix has made at least 55 percent of its shots from the floor, by far the most by any NBA team. (The Celtics stand second in that category; they had their 10th game shooting 55 percent from the floor on Saturday night at Memphis.)
The last NBA team with as many as 19 such games in one season was Utah, which had 20 in the 1996-97 season.
JACK MATCHES REGGIE'S BEST
Jarrett Jack made 13 field goals in 14 attempts in the Pacers' blowout victory in Charlotte. We'll do the math for you: that's 92.9 percent, and it equals the second-highest field-goal percentage by any Pacers player in a game (minimum: 10 field-goal attempts) since the team entered the NBA in 1976. Reggie Miller went 13-for-14 in a win over Miami in 1992, and Clark Kellogg set the team record with a 15-for-16 performance (93.8 percent) in a victory over the Warriors in Oakland on Jan. 3, 1985.
LEBRON DID PLAY, BUT OTHERS LED
The Cavaliers led by 20 points early in the second quarter en route to a 102-96 win over the Hawks - the proverbial "not-as-close-as-the-score-indicated" result. Mo Williams led Cleveland in points (24) and assists (seven), while Anderson Varejao and Darnell Jackson led in rebounds (eight apiece). It was only the fourth game this season - all Cleveland victories - in which LeBron James did not lead the team in any of those three categories.
CELTICS' FIVE GETTING REACQUAINTED
Kevin Garnett played 17 minutes in the Celtics' 105-87 win in Memphis, one night after returning to the court by playing 15 minutes in a victory in San Antonio.
Even though Garnett missed 13 games from February 22 to March 18, the Celtics' usual starting five - Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins - has logged more time on the court together as a unit than any other quintet in the NBA this season. And it's not even close: the Celtics' five has played 1,042 minutes and change together, while no other fivesome has logged as much as 700 minutes of playing time together.
THREE-POINT-FEST IN ORLANDO
The Knicks and the Magic don't have too many things in common - except, that is, for the love of the three-point shot. Coming into Saturday's game in Orlando, the teams ranked one-two in the NBA in hoisting up three-point shots: New York leading with 28.5 per game and Orlando second with 26.5.
Saturday night, they did not disappoint, combining to fire up 62 three-pointers as the Magic took a 110-103 decision. The NBA single-season record of 26.6 three-point attempts, set by the Warriors last season, seems destined to fall.
A SEMIFINAL MISMATCH IN WBC
Korea scored five runs in the first inning, one shy of the WBC first-inning record that they set on March 6 vs. Chinese Taipei, and advanced to the championship game with a 10-2 win over Venezuela.
Korea's road to the finals was aided by five Venezuela errors - a total that broke the WBC single-game record of four shared by Chinese Taipei and Puerto Rico, both in first-round games in 2006.
FLYERS BEAT PENS WITH A PAIR OF POWER PLAY GOALS
The Flyers scored two power play goals in their 3-1 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon, after scoring a pair of PPGs in their 6-3 win at Buffalo on Friday night. It's the first time that the Flyers have scored two or more power play goals in consecutive games since December 11-16, when they had a three-game streak.
MALKIN AND CROSBY STYMIED IN LOSS
Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, who rank one-two in the NHL in points this season, were held without a shot on goal in the Penguins' loss to the Flyers, though each player had more than 22 minutes of ice time. It was only the second time in the 197 regular-season and 25 postseason games that Malkin and Crosby have played together that both players were held shotless. The previous instance was on March 14, 2007 at New Jersey, though Pittsburgh won that game, 3-0.
41 SAVES FOR THOMAS IN BOSTON WIN
Tim Thomas beat Martin Brodeur and the Devils, 4-1, in Boston on Sunday, stopping 41 of New Jersey's 42 shots on goal. Thomas is the first goaltender to make 40 or more saves in a win over Brodeur since Ed Belfour stopped 50 shots in a 2-1 Maple Leafs victory over New Jersey in Toronto on Jan. 4, 2003. Brodeur had won all five of his previous head-to-head games against Thomas, allowing a total of nine goals.
SHARP AND HAVLAT EACH NET A PAIR FOR THE BLACKHAWKS
The Blackhawks beat the Kings, 4-1, with Patrick Sharp and Martin Havlat each scoring two goals for Chicago. It was only the second time this season that the Blackhawks had two players each score more than once in the same game. Sharp and Andrew Ladd both scored twice in Chicago's 6-2 win over Colorado on November 3.
BACKSTROM BAFFLES OILERS AT HOME
There are few things in life you can always count on, but Niklas Backstrom winning on home ice against the Edmonton Oilers is one of them. With his 3-0 win over Edmonton on Sunday afternoon, Backstrom is 10-0-0 with a 1.09 goals-against average and four shutouts in 10 career games versus the Oilers at Xcel Energy Center, allowing a total of 11 goals on 254 shots.
DEFENSEMEN LEAD DUCKS TO VICTORY
Scott Niedermayer had one goal and two assists and Chris Pronger had three assists in the Ducks' 6-2 win over the Coyotes. It's the third time in Ducks history that they've had two defensemen each score three points in the same game. The two previous games were five days apart in November 2007, with Pronger and Mathieu Schneider doing the honors for Anaheim.
KOZLOV, THE SHOOTOUT MASTER
Slava Kozlov had a goal and an assist as the Thrashers and Lightning played to a 3-3 deadlock for 65 minutes, and then he scored the deciding goal in the shootout that gave Atlanta a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay. The shootout goal was Kozlov's 23rd (in 39 attempts) over the four seasons that the tiebreaker has been used by the NHL and it gave him sole possession of the all-time lead in that category, one ahead of Jussi Jokinen (22 shootout goals).
MAPLE LEAFS PAIR GETS 4 POINTS EACH
Alexei Ponikarovsky (two goals, two assists) and Mikhail Grabovski (one goal, three assists) each scored four points for the Maple Leafs in their win at Montreal. It was the first time in more than 65 years that two Toronto players each scored four points in a game against the Canadiens; the last to do it were Gus Bodnar and Lorne Carr, in a 5-0 win at Maple Leaf Gardens on Jan. 11, 1944.
WHAT AN ENDING FOR BLUE JACKETS!
The Blue Jackets trailed the Panthers, 1-0, with less than three minutes to play in the third period but Raffi Torres scored a pair of goals 73 seconds apart and Antoine Vermette added an empty-net goal to enable Columbus to pull out a 3-1 victory. It was only the fifth game in NHL history in which a team won in regulation time after trailing while being shut out in the last three minutes of the third period. The last team to do that was New Jersey at Ottawa on Dec. 6, 2003 (the Devils trailed, 1-0, but won, 2-1).
LALIME LOSES, BUT AGAIN STOPS PENALTY SHOT
Buffalo's Patrick Lalime lost to the Flyers on Friday and to the Rangers on Saturday, though he did manage to stop a penalty shot in each game (by Philadelphia's Mike Richards and by New York's Lauri Korpikoski). Lalime is the second goaltender in NHL history to face penalty shots on consecutive days. The first was Toronto's Gord McRae; he faced penalty shots by Minnesota's Dennis Hextall and Washington's Nelson Pyatt on March 8-9, 1975, but stopped neither.
RANGERS MORE POTENT UNDER TORTORELLA
The Rangers beat Buffalo, 5-3, on Saturday night, and have now scored four-or-more goals in six of their 11 games under new coach John Tortorella, after having done so only six times in the last 37 games that Tom Renney coached.
BRIND'AMOUR KEEPS IT UP
Rod Brind'Amour, who scored the first goal in Carolina's win over Washington, had no goals and seven assists in the first 28 games that he played after the Christmas break this season (through March 3), but he has five goals and six assists in nine games since then.
SHARKS GET A PAIR OF QUICK GOALS...TWICE
The Sharks got goals 29 seconds apart by Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi in the first period, and 19 seconds apart by Joe Pavelski and Milan Michalek in the second period in their 5-2 win over Dallas. It was only the second time in Sharks history that they scored two separate pairs of goals fewer than 30 seconds apart in one game. San Jose also did that in a 5-0 win against the Kings in 2003 (goals 27 seconds apart by Nils Ekman and Jonathan Cheechoo in the first period, and two goals by Patrick Marleau 29 seconds apart in the second period).
BAILEY, 19, SCORES TWICE IN ISLANDERS LOSS
Josh Bailey was the bright spot for the Islanders in their 5-2 loss in Ottawa, scoring both goals for New York. The only other players as young as Bailey (age 19 years, 170 days as of Saturday) to record a multiple-goal game for the Islanders were Hall-of-Famers Bryan Trottier (three goals on Oct. 11, 1975, at the age of 19 years, 86 days) and Pat LaFontaine (twice: three goals on March 3, 1984, at 19 years, 10 days; and two goals in a game five days later).
NCAA Men's Basketball
HIGHER SEEDS ALL ADVANCE ON SUNDAY
The higher seeded team won all eight games in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on Sunday. It was the first time since March 18, 1995, that there were as many as eight tournament games in one day without at least one "upset" (a lower-seeded team defeating a higher seed).
Fourteen of the top 16 seeds are still alive in the tournament with only Wake Forest (upset by Cleveland State in the first round) and Washington (beaten by Purdue in the second round) failing to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. This marks the first year that more than 13 of the top 16 seeds advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. The last time as many as 13 of the top 16 seeds advanced that far was in 1991.
COLE ALDRICH, SHAQUILLE O'NEAL AND TIM DUNCAN
Cole Aldrich had 13 points, 20 rebounds and ten blocked shots for Kansas in its victory over Dayton. It was the sixth official triple-double in tournament history, but only the second one that involved blocked shots. (LSU's Shaquille O'Neal had the other, against BYU in 1992.) Aldrich is the first player with at least 36 points and 33 or more rebounds over his first two games of the tournament since Tim Duncan did so for Wake Forest in 1997 (40 points, 42 rebounds).
GRIFFIN DOMINATES FOR SOONERS
Blake Griffin had 33 points and 17 rebounds in Oklahoma's 73-63 victory over Michigan. It had been six years since the NCAA men's tournament had last seen a player enjoy a 30/15 (points/rebounds) game; the last was Nick Collison (33/19) for Kansas vs. Duke in 2003.
A.J. CHANNELS HIS INNER D-WADE
A.J. Price of Connecticut scored 27 points and was credited with nine assists in the Huskies' 92-66 victory over Texas A&M. The last player to reach both of those levels in an NCAA men's tournament game was Dwyane Wade of Marquette six years ago; Wade had 29 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds against Kentucky.