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SHAQ AND Z: SEPARATED AT BIRTH?
Shaquille O'Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskas divided time at center in the Cavaliers' 99-89 victory over the Nets. A pair of teammates would be hard pressed to produce such similar numbers as those big guys did against New Jersey. Shaq shot 7-of-9 from the floor while collecting 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks; meanwhile, Z shot 7-of-9 from the floor while collecting 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.
That's a statistical line that is not all that easy to produce for one player, let alone two teammates in the same game. Since the NBA started keeping track of blocked shots in 1973, there have been more than 750,000 box score lines, but only two players had the specific line 7-for-9 from the floor, 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks that Shaq and Z each produced on Tuesday night. OK, we'll save you the trouble of going through the old box scores; the two guys who did that previously were Jamario Moon in April 2008 and Greg Oden earlier this season.
BRYANT GETS 41 AT UNITED CENTER, TIES BAYLOR'S RECORD
In Kobe Bryant's previous game, on Saturday in Salt Lake City, he made only seven of 24 field goal attempts (the most missed shots he has had in any game this season). But on Tuesday at the United Center, Kobe followed up his bad game with a season-high 42 points.
It was the 101st time in his NBA career that Kobe has scored 40 or more points in a regular-season NBA game, but the first time he has done so at Michael's House, a.k.a. the United Center. That was the 23rd different building in which Kobe has thrown down 40, tying the Lakers record held by Elgin Baylor.
NOAH MISSES 12 FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS, GETS 14 OFFENSIVE BOARDS
Joakim Noah had 20 rebounds, including 14 off the offensive glass, in the Bulls' 96-87 loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night. That was the highest single-game total of offensive rebounds by any NBA player since Shaquille O'Neal had an equal number for the Lakers back on April 4, 2003.
Of course, you can't collect offensive rebounds without missed shots, and Noah contributed there, too, shooting only 4-for-16 from the floor. Since the NBA began keeping track of offensive rebounds in 1973, no other player had ever collected so many in a game in which he had so many missed shots and so low a shooting percentage.
STOUDEMIRE LEADS SUNS TO 9-0 MARK AT HOME
Amar'e Stoudemire scored 28 points and had 14 rebounds as the Suns extended their season-opening home winning streak to nine games, defeating the Spurs, 116-104. Stoudemire has been a huge contributor to that home-court dominance: he's averaging 23.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while shooting 60.3 percent from the floor in those nine home games. In Phoenix's 16 road games, Amar'e is averaging 17.3 points and 7.4 rebounds, while shooting 52.8 percent from the floor.
BOBCATS BEAT KNICKS AT THE END
Things didn't look good for the Bobcats when they trailed the Knicks by six points with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but that was still enough time for Larry Brown's team to score 15 points and hold the Knicks to two as Charlotte took a 94-87 decision. The Bobcats didn't miss a shot of any kind down the stretch: they went 5-for-5 from the floor (including a three-pointer) and 4-for-4 from the line to secure the victory.
It was only the fourth time in their six seasons in the NBA that the Bobcats won a game in which they trailed by at least six points anytime in the last three minutes of either the fourth quarter or any overtime period. But the NBA's youngest team has won those four games against a quartet of opponents that has been playing in the league since the 1940s. Charlotte earned wins in that manner against the Celtics in 2005, against the Pistons and the Lakers last season, and now against the Knicks.
RAPTORS FIND DEFENSIVE CONSISTENCY ELUSIVE
The Heat shot 51.7 percent from the floor in its 115-95 win over Toronto, as the Raptors continued to lurch back and forth between playing shutdown defense and be-our-guest defense.
The Raptors are 4-4 in their last eight games. In the four wins, they held the Wizards to 36.8 percent shooting, the Bulls to 39.0 percent, the Timberwolves to 37.1 percent, and the Rockets to 36.8 percent. But in the losses, the Hawks shot 59.1 percent; the Bucks, 52.5 percent; the Hawks (again), 51.8 percent; and now the Heat, 51.7 percent.
CROSBY TORMETS FLYERS AGAIN
Sidney Crosby scored the first goal and assisted on two others in the Penguins' 6-1 win over the Flyers. It was the fourth time in Crosby's last seven games that he recorded at least three points, after doing that only twice in his previous 26 games this season. Crosby increased his totals against the Flyers to 21 goals and 49 points in 28 regular-season games vs. Philadelphia, the most goals and assists that he has against any NHL team.
O'DONNELL GETS RID OF THE "0"
Sean O'Donnell broke his 157-game goal-scoring drought when he nailed the game-winner for the Kings with 4:33 left in the third period in Edmonton on Tuesday. When he scored, O'Donnell had the third-longest current goalless streak among active NHL skaters. The longer dry spells belong to Minnesota's Derek Boogaard (188 games) and Vancouver's Shane O'Brien (162).
YES, IT'S A TREND
Defenseman Marek Zidlicky's goal at 19:21 of the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and earned the Wild a 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets. There have been seven tiebreaking goals scored in the final minute of the third period in NHL games this season and four of those goals have been scored by defensemen. Before Zidlicky, the D-men who did that were Nashville's Ryan Suter, San Jose's Dan Boyle and Toronto's Ian White.
BLUES' BOYES SETS UP 3 GOALS
Brad Boyes equaled his career high for assists in one game by setting up three goals for the Blues in their 4-3 win over the Flames. Boyes had one three-assist game earlier this season (November 10 vs. Vancouver), but he had recorded only two assists in 14 games since then until Tuesday night against Calgary.
WILSON PROVIDES A DOUBLE-HELPING IN FIRST GAME
Kyle Wilson made his NHL debut on Tuesday night and assisted on two goals in the Capitals' 6-1 win in Denver. It was the second time this season that a player recorded two assists in his NHL debut; Mathieu Perreault, also with the Capitals, did it on Nov. 4 at New Jersey.
Prior to this season, the only Capitals player who registered two assists in his first NHL game was Milan Novy, who did it on Oct. 6, 1982 against the Rangers in New York.