Special to ESPN.com
YAO CONTINUES TO HAVE WAY WITH HOWARD
Yao Ming outscored Dwight Howard, 20 points to 13, in the Rockets' 93-83 conquest of the Magic. Houston now holds a seven-wins-to-two edge in games played between the teams with both Yao and Howard starting. And Yao has out-scored his counterpart by nearly a two-to-one margin--212 points to 110--in those nine games.
JOE JOHNSON: ANOTHER 4TH-QUARTER TERROR
Joe Johnson scored nine points in the game's final six minutes to lead the Hawks to their 118-110 victory in Toronto. Johnson stands tenth in the NBA in total points scored this season, but he stands sixth in points scored in the fourth quarter, behind only Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Brandon Roy.
BLAZERS OVERCOME 18-POINT DEFICIT TO WIN
The Grizzlies led the Trail Blazers, 47-29, with 30 seconds remaining in the first half, but Portland scored six points before halftime and then dominated the second half to earn a 96-93 decision at Memphis.
It was the second time this season that the Blazers have won a road game in which they had trailed by as many as 18 points. (They won at New Orleans on February 2, after having trailed by 20 points.) No other NBA team has won a pair of road games this season by overcoming deficits of that size.
BOBCATS PERFECT FROM THE LINE WHEN IT COUNTS
The Bobcats led Philadelphia, 44-24, early in the second quarter, but it took the 76ers less than 18 minutes of playing time to wipe out that advantage. But Charlotte had an ace up its sleeve, and a bit of surprise one at that: perfect fourth-quarter foul shooting, as the Bobcats came away with a 101-98 victory, thereby maintaining their playoff hopes.
Charlotte went 8-for-8 from the line in the fourth quarter, with Gerald Wallace making four of the free throws and Emeka Okafor three. Over the previous eight games, the Bobcats had made only 58 percent of their fourth-quarter free-throw attempts, contributing to two-point losses to the Wizards and the Celtics.
RIDDLE: HOW DO THE BULLS DO IT?
The Knicks connected on 50.6 percent of their field-goal attempts at Chicago on Tuesday night, while the Bulls shot just 43.3 percent from the floor. Final score: Chicago 110, New York 103.
Unusual? Sure was. Of the 1,160 other games played in the NBA this season, only eight were won by teams who had a greater disparity in field-goal percentage than did the Bulls. But maybe practice makes perfect: back on January 6, the Bulls (shooting 38.6 percent) defeated the Kings (shooting 50.7 percent) by a 99-94 score-the only game in the NBA this season in which the winning team's field-goal percentage was at least 10 percentage points lower than its opponent's.
ISHIKAWA's GRAND-SLAM TRIPLE
The Giants' Travis Ishikawa came to bat in the first inning of the season opener vs. Milwaukee, and no, he did not become the 20th player in the past 20 seasons to hit a grand-slam home run in his team's season opener. He did something even rarer, becoming only the fourth player over the past 20 seasons to hit a "grand-slam triple" in his team's season opener. The others who did that: Barry Larkin in 1990, Mike Greenwell in 1993, and Mark Bellhorn in 2003.
BONIFACIO TEACHES MILLEDGE LESSON... AGAIN
Emilio Bonifacio - he of the majors' first Opening Day inside-the-park home run in 41 years - provided a second-day thrill to South Florida fans by again hitting the ball over the head of Washington center fielder Lastings Milledge, this time for a triple.
Emilio is the first Marlins player to hit an inside-the-park homer in one game and a triple in the next - or vice versa - in the team's 17-year history, and he's the first major leaguer to do it since Colorado's Dustan Mohr on July 10 and July 16, 2005. (One Rockies game, in which Mohr didn't play, and the All-Star break intervened.) The last major leaguer to do it on consecutive days was Toronto's Ken Huckaby on July 17-18, 2002.
TIGERS LOSE IN A FAMILIAR MANNER
Brandon Lyon allowed Aaron Hill's go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning and then after Brandon Inge's homer tied the game in the ninth, Lyon allowed the game-winning sacrifice fly to Rod Barajas in the ninth inning as the Tigers fell to 0-2.
The Tigers had taken a 3-0 lead to the bottom of the eighth, and the loss may have brought back to Tigers fans scary memories of last season. The Tigers lost 14 games last season in which they had led by at least three runs, tying the Mets for the most such losses in the majors.
THOME HIT ANOTHER OPENING-GAME HR: THIS TIME IT'S A WINNER
Jim Thome's three-run eighth-inning homer led the White Sox to a 4-2 win over the Royals in the season opener in Chicago. Last year, Thome belted two homers in the Sox' season-opening loss at Cleveland. He's the first White Sox player to connect in the season opener in each of two consecutive seasons since Dick Allen did that in 1972 and 1973.
Thome's home run was surrendered by Kyle Farnsworth, who was making his Royals debut. The Farnsworth label contained this warning in the small type: "Allowed 15 home runs in 2008, tied for the major-league lead among relief pitchers."
TWINS PARTY LIKE IT'S 1968
The Twins defeated the Mariners after being down to their last out, with nobody on base and trailing by two runs. The Twins hadn't won a game under those circumstances--down to the last out, no one on base, trailing by two-or-more runs--in over 40 years, since Aug. 30, 1968, when the Twins beat the White Sox at Metropolitan Stadium. Cesar Tovar hit a two-run triple to knot that game in the ninth inning; Minnesota won it on Rich Reese's RBI single in the eleventh.
KEPPINGER A HERO IN HOUSTON
Jeff Keppinger's RBI single in the 10th inning pushed the Astros past the Cubs, 3-2. Keppinger became the first Astros player to produce a walkoff RBI in his first plate appearance with the team since April 10, 1973, when rookie pitcher Jim Crawford hit a 12th-inning double, driving in Johnny Edwards with the winning run in a 4-3 win over the Dodgers.
PHILLIES' DREARY OFFENSIVE START
The Phillies have started defense of their title by losing their first two games and scoring only one run in the process. Only two other defending World Series champions have lost the first two games of a season while scoring no more than one run: the Boston Braves in 1915 (who eventually finished in second place that season) and the 1943 Cardinals, who were shut out in their first two games (but went on to repeat as National League champions).
GETTING IGGY WITH IT
Jarome Iginla scored his 35th goal of the season on Tuesday night, marking the seventh consecutive season in which he has reached that plateau, the longest active streak in the NHL. Ilya Kovalchuk owns the second longest active streak, having scored 35-or-more goals in six straight seasons, including the current one.
The last NHL player with seven straight 35-goal seasons? Luc Robitaille, who had eight in a row starting with the 1986-87 season.
CROSBY REACHES TRIPLE FIGURES
Sidney Crosby scored two goals, both on the power play just over a minute apart in the second period, to send the Penguins on their way to a 6-4 win over the Lightning in Tampa. The goals provided Crosby with his 100th and 101st points of the season, enabling him to join Evgeni Malkin (who leads the NHL with 110 points) in the 100-point club. Pittsburgh is only the third team in the last nine seasons to have two players with 100-or-more points. The others were the 2005-06 Senators (Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley) and the 2006-07 Lightning (Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis). St. Louis
CARTER DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' PASSES
Jeff Carter scored an unassisted goal at 7:32 of the third period to break a 1-1 tie and lead the Flyers to a 2-1 win over the Panthers. It was Carter's seventh unassisted goal of the season, second-most in the NHL to Rick Nash's 10. Five of Carter's seven solo goals have been scored in the third period (four) or in overtime (one).
DRURY, NO DIPLOMAT, KILLS CANADIENS AGAIN
Chris Drury scored a pair of goals for the Rangers in their 3-1 win over the Canadiens. Drury has scored at least one point in each of the eight games that he has played against Montreal during his two seasons with the Rangers, with a total of seven goals and four assists in those eight games. Drury had only six goals in 29 games vs. Montreal over his eight previous NHL seasons.
18 SHOTS BEATS 48
The Maple Leafs won 4-1 in New Jersey, despite being outshot, 48-18. It was only the second time in the last 10 seasons that Toronto was outfired by at least 30 shots in a game. The other instance was also against the Devils, on Jan. 4, 2003 in Toronto, and the Leafs won that game as well (2-1), though New Jersey held a 51-19 shots advantage.
GRABOVSKI'S SCORE GIVES HIM A SCORE OF GOALS
Rookie Mikhail Grabovski scored his 20th goal of the season for Toronto in its 4-1 victory at New Jersey. The only other rookie in the last 20 years to score 20-or-more goals in one season for the Maple Leafs was Sergei Berezin with 25 goals in 199-97.
STAAL SETS FRANCHISE MARK IN 9-0 WIN
Eric Staal scored three goals for the Hurricanes in their 9-0 win over the Islanders. It was Staal's league-high fourth hat trick of the season (Alex Ovechkin is second with three). Staal's four hat tricks broke the Hartford/Carolina single-season franchise record, breaking the old mark of three by a pair of Whalers: Mike Rogers (1980-81) and Blaine Stoughton (1981-82).
It was the largest margin of victory for the Hurricanes franchise since a 9-0 victory by the Hartford Whalers over Buffalo on Dec. 6, 1988. And while it was the 45th game in NHL history to be decided by a 9-0 score (the last: Atlanta's 9-0 win over Carolina on Nov. 12, 2005), it was only the fifth of those games in which the winning team produced the symmetry of three goals in each period (the last: Detroit's 9-0 win over the Minnesota North Stars on Jan. 9, 1990).
CAN IT GET WORSE FOR ISLES?
The Islanders' 9-0 loss to the Hurricanes in Raleigh was the largest margin of defeat in a game for the Isles in their 36 seasons in the NHL. They've lost by eight goals on five occasions, though their last such loss was more than 20 years ago (8-0 at St. Louis in December 1988).