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A COSTLY MISS FOR LONGWELL
The Bears defeated the Vikings in overtime on Monday after Chicago's Israel Idonije blocked Ryan Longwell's extra-point attempt during regulation. It was the first time that the Bears have won a regular-season game in overtime after an opponent missed an extra-point during regulation. The Vikings have had one other loss in that way, in 2002 against Buffalo, in which Minnesota's Doug Brien missed two extra-point attempts during regulation.
CUTLER TO AROMASHODU ENDS IT
Jay Cutler's 39-yard touchdown pass to Devon Aromashodu was the second-longest overtime touchdown pass for Chicago since the NFL began playing regular-season overtime games in 1974. The Bears defeated the Lions in 1990 on a 50-yard walkoff touchdown pass from Jim Harbaugh to Neal Anderson.
4 BEARS CATCH TD PASSES
Cutler threw touchdown passes to four players on Monday: Aromashodu, Earl Bennett, Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen. The only other Bears quarterback to throw TD passes to four players in one game over the last 50 years was Erik Kramer, to Keith Jennings, Curtis Conway, Michael Timpson and Jeff Graham, against the Rams in 1995.
DURANT THROUGH 30 GAMES
Kevin Durant scored 40 points on Monday, giving him 845 over his first 30 games this season. Only two other players in NBA history scored 800 or more points over their first 30 games of a season at age 21 or younger: LeBron James (914 in 2005-06) and Shaquille O'Neal (847 in 1993-94).
NETS SECOND DOUBLE-DIGIT LOSING STREAK
The Nets lost to the Thunder on Monday, 105-89, for their tenth straight loss. Of course, the Nets also had an NBA record 18 consecutive losses to start the season. They are the first team in ten years to post two separate losing streaks of ten-or-more games before New Year's Day. The 1999-2000 Bulls, one season removed from Michael Jordan's second retirement, had two losing streaks of exactly ten games prior to January 1st.
RANDOLPH A BEAST OVER LAST 5 GAMES
Zach Randolph had 23 points and 13 rebounds on Monday and over his last five games he's scored 141 points and collected 91 rebounds. The last NBA player with as many points and rebounds in a five-game span was Shaquille O'Neal in February 1993, his rookie season.
RONDO'S BIG NIGHT
Rajon Rondo had 30 points and 15 assists on Monday, making him only the third Celtics player to have a 30/15 (points/assists) game: Bob Cousy and Larry Bird each did it twice, although neither did it in a loss, as Rondo did on Monday against the Warriors.
Monta Ellis had his seventh complete game of the season on Monday, giving him three more than all other NBA players combined this season. The only other NBA players to play an entire game this season are Ellis's teammates: Anthony Morrow (twice), Vladimir Radmanovic (once) and C.J. Watson (once). Watson
LAKERS BLOWN OUT AGAIN
The Lakers have lost two of their last three games by 15 points, on Monday to the Suns (118-103) and on Christmas Day to the Cavaliers (102-87). It's the first time since March 2007 that the Lakers have lost by 15 or more points twice in a three-game span.
ANTHONY HOISTS 35 SHOTS
Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and took 35 shots on Monday in Denver's loss to Sacramento. The last player to score that many points without averaging a point per shot was Tracy McGrady for Orlando in 2003 (35 points, 36 field goal attempts).
WALLACE GOES 20/10 AS WE NEAR 2010
Gerald Wallace had 21 points and 14 rebounds on Monday, giving him 11 games this season with 20 or more points and 10 or more rebounds. That's fifth-most in the NBA and it's more than Wallace had in either of the last two seasons (9 last season, 7 in 2007-08).
MASON HAS A BETTER NIGHT VS. DETROIT THIS TIME
Steve Mason shut out the Red Wings on Monday night, after giving up eight goals the last time he faced them (Nov. 11). Since 1993, the only other NHL goaltender to allow eight goals or more in one game and then shut out the same team the next time he played against them that season is Tim Thomas, who did that versus the Maple Leafs in 2006-07 (eight goals allowed on Jan. 4, then a 3-0 shutout on Feb. 20).
PARISE ENDS DROUGHT
Zach Parise ended his 12-game goalless streak by scoring two goals in the Devils' win over the Thrashers. It was the second-longest goal drought of Parise's NHL career; he was held goalless in 14 consecutive games as a rookie in February/March 2006. Parise did not play more than four straight games without scoring a goal last season, when he finished third in the NHL with 45 goals.
HAT TRICK FOR BOURQUE...SOUND FAMILIAR?
Rene Bourque scored three consecutive goals in the Flames' win over the Oilers. It was the fourth natural hat trick in the NHL this season and the second in two days in a Calgary game; Vancouver's Mason Raymond scored three straight goals in the Canucks' win against the Flames on Sunday. The other players with natural hat tricks this season are Florida's Steve Reinprecht (Oct. 30 vs. Dallas) and the Islanders' Matt Moulson (Dec. 3 vs. Atlanta).
The hat trick was the second of Rene Bourque's NHL career, which makes him the all-time leader in that category among players with that surname. Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque had one hat trick in his 22 seasons in the NHL, and Phil Bourque also had one three-goal game in his 12 years in the league.
5 POINTS FOR STAAL
Eric Staal posted the second-highest one-game point total of his NHL career when he scored two goals and assisted on three others in the Hurricanes' 6-3 win at Washington. Staal, who had a six-point game (4 goals, 2 assists) against Tampa Bay on March 7 last season, is the only NHL player to record two games with five points or more in calendar year 2009.
COLUMBUS AND DETROIT: LOOKING FORWARD TO JANUARY
The Blue Jackets and Red Wings, who have both struggled to score goals this month, played to a goalless deadlock for 63 minutes on Monday night until Fredrik Modin won the game for Columbus with an overtime goal. The Blue Jackets have not scored more than three goals in any of their last 14 games, matching the longest such streaks in the NHL this season (by Minnesota and Phoenix). Detroit has scored three or fewer goals in each of its last 13 games. It's the longest stretch without a four-goal game by the Red Wings since the team-record 31-game streak in 1977 (last 27 games in 1976-77, first four games in 1977-78).
SMITH GETS BACK-TO-BACK MONKEY OFF BACK
Tampa Bay's Mike Smith posted a 2-1 win against the Bruins, after beating the Thrashers 4-3 on Saturday. Smith entered the day having played the most games (22) of any NHL goaltender who had not won consecutive decisions this season. That dubious distinction now belongs to the Islanders' Martin Biron (17 games).
AN UNLIKELY SOURCE OF GOALS FOR OTTAWA
Chris Neil scored the winning goal for the Senators against the Canadiens, after scoring a goal in Ottawa's shootout victory over the Sabres on Saturday. It's only the sixth time that Neil has scored goals in two consecutive games in his eight-year NHL career and it's the first time he's done so since November 2006.