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LEBRON AND D-WADE: THE SEQUEL
Those who saw it won't soon forget it: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade playing their own private game of horse within the context of Monday night's Cavaliers-Heat game in Miami. During the second quarter of that contest, James scored 20 points while Wade responded with 17.
How rare is that? That's why you come to "Elias Says." Over the last 10 NBA seasons, there have been only two other quarters in which one player scored 20 or more points and an opponent responded with at least 17 points. In the fourth quarter of a game on April 11, 2006, Chicago's Ben Gordon scored 21 points and the Nets' Vince Carter scored 18; ten days before that, guess who did it? None other than Wade (21 points) and James (18 points), in a preview of Monday night's mano-a-mano duel.
JAMES WINS IT FROM THE LINE
LeBron James recovered from a collision with Dwyane Wade and Quentin Richardson to sink two free throws with 4.1 seconds remaining to provide the game-tying and what proved to be game-winning points in the Cavaliers' 92-91 win at Miami. Even for those of us used to seeing late-game heroics from the King, this was a rarity: In only one other game in his NBA career has LeBron scored a game-winning point on a free throw with less than five seconds remaining in the game. (That came in an 88-87 victory over the Hawks last March 1).
RONDO, WITH STOCKTON-LIKE NUMBERS, STARTS SECOND HALF STRONG
Rajon Rondo entered Monday night's game against the Clippers carrying averages of 14.1 points, 9.6 assists and 2.5 steals per game, while shooting 53.1 percent from the floor. As the second half of the regular season starts (Monday was Boston's 42nd game), it's worth noting that only one player in NBA history had finished a season with across-the-board numbers as high as Rondo's in each of those categories; John Stockton was that man, and he did it twice (in the 1987-88 season and again the next season).
Rondo then he went out against the Clippers and exceeded all four of his season to date averages finishing with 16 points, 12 assists and four steals and connecting on six of eight field-goal attempts, leading the Celtics to a 95-89 win.
BOOZER'S ALL-AROUND GAME LEADS JAZZ TO VICTORY
Carlos Boozer had 21 points, 20 rebounds, made seven of 10 shots from the floor and connected on all seven free throws in the Jazz's 124-115 triumph over the Suns. You have to go back more than 13 years to find the last NBA player who had a 20 points/20 rebounds game in which he hit on at least 70 percent of his field-goal attempts and made all of his foul shots.
The last NBA player to do it was Dikembe Mutombo, who had 20+ points and 20+ rebounds, shooting 78 percent from the floor and hitting all eight foul shots in the Hawks' 105-103 overtime win over the Suns on Jan. 7, 1997.
GRIZZLIES AGAIN COME FROM 16 DOWN TO WIN AT HOME
The Grizzlies earned their 11th straight home win, 99-94, by overcoming a 16-point Orlando lead. It's the third time this season that they have treated their FedExForum fans to a victory after overcoming so sizeable a deficit; no other NBA team has three such victories at home this season.
Over their first eight seasons in Memphis, the Grizzlies had won only two games in which they had trailed by 16-or-more points (one against the Trail Blazers in 2003 and the other against the Pacers in 2008).
DON¿T LOOK NOW: HAWKS ARE 29-14
The Hawks drubbed the Rockets, 102-95, in Houston, lifting their record to 29-14. It's the first time since the end of the 1996-97 season (when the Hawks finished at 56-26) that they have had more than twice as many wins as losses, this late into a season.
76ERS WASTE ANOTHER DOUBLE-DIGIT LEAD
The 76ers, who had beaten the Pacers in Indianapolis on Saturday, led the rematch, 43-32, early in the second period. But the Pacers (with the third-lowest field-goal percentage in the NBA) made seven of their next nine shots, wound up shooting 50 percent or better from the floor for only the fourth time in 45 games this season, and won, 109-98.
Philadelphia fans had seen this movie before. It was the 10th time this season, and the sixth time at home, that the 76ers have lost a game in which they had held a double-digit lead. Each of those totals is the highest in the NBA this season.
PENGUINS' 7TH STRAIGHT WIN OVER RANGERS
The Penguins responded to a third-period go-ahead Rangers goal with two goals of their own in the next 91 seconds and a late empty-netter earned them a 4-2 victory at Madison Square Garden. Pittsburgh has won its last seven games against the Rangers, all in regulation time, outscoring New York, 34-14. It's the longest winning streak by either team in the 43-year history of this rivalry, surpassing the Penguins' six straight wins from March 2000 to March 2001.
The Penguins' win over the Rangers marked the 25th time that Marc-Andre Fleury and Henrik Lundqvist started against each other in regular-season play. Fleury-Lundqvist is the most common matchup of starting goaltenders since Lundqvist entered the NHL in 2005-06; Fleury has 14 wins and Lundqvist has 11 in their head-to-head starts.