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BULLS FINISH HISTORIC ROAD TRIP
The Bulls completed their seven-game road trip by defeating the Hornets in overtime. After dropping games on the West Coast against the Warriors and Clippers, Chicago finished its road trip with victories against more formidable competition at Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and New Orleans. The Bulls are the first team in NBA history to win five straight games, all on the road and each against a team with a winning record.
200 GAMES FOR DURANT
Kevin Durant scored 30 points in the Thunder's win over the Nuggets, which was his 200th game in the NBA. Durant has scored 4,842 points to date, for a career average of 24.2 points per game. Only three active players scored more points through their first 200 NBA games than Durant: Shaquille O'Neal (27.0 PPG at the 200-game mark), LeBron James (25.5) and Vince Carter (24.6).
Stephen Jackson scored 30 points as the Bobcats won their first encounter with Golden State since the Warriors traded him to Charlotte in November. Jackson is one of 11 players in NBA history to score at least 30 points in his first game against a team that he played for earlier in the same season, but he's the only player to do it twice! On Feb. 5, 2007, Jackson, then with Golden State, scored 36 points in his first game against Indiana after being traded from the Pacers to the Warriors the previous month.
JAMES TOPS GRANGER
The Cavaliers beat the Pacers with LeBron James posting Cleveland's game-high totals in points (22), rebounds (9) and assists (13), while Danny Granger (13 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) did the same for Indiana. It was only the second NBA game this season in which two opponents each led their team (tied or outright) in all of those categories. James and Carlos Boozer did it on January 14 (Cleveland at Utah).
PACERS LOSE TO KOBE, THEN LEBRON
Although the Pacers dropped consecutive games to the Lakers (Wednesday) and Cavaliers (Friday), they can take some consolation in having limited Kobe Bryant to 29 points and LeBron James to 22. Only one of the previous eight teams that faced Bryant and James in consecutive games (in either order) held both players to fewer than 30 points, and the team to do it was the Nets (March 25-27, 2009).
BRYANT OUTDUELS IVERSON IN SECOND HALF
The Lakers defeated the 76ers with a pair of perennial All-Stars putting on a show after the intermission. Kobe Bryant scored 22 second-half points and Allen Iverson netted 21 points in the second half, after each player had only two points at halftime with neither scoring in the first period. It was only the second NBA game in the last 10 years in which a pair of players each scored at least 20 second-half points following a first half in which neither player scored more than two points. On Nov. 22, 2008, Atlanta's Maurice Evans and Acie Law scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, after each was scoreless in the first half.
Samuel Dalembert (12 rebounds on Friday) recorded his tenth straight double-digit rebound game for the 76ers. Only Kevin Love (13 games) and Lamar Odom (11) have had longer streaks of consecutive games with 10+ rebounds this season than Dalembert, who owns the longest streak of its kind for the Sixers since 2003-04 (Kenny Thomas, 12 games).
CAREER NIGHT FOR MILLSAP
Paul Millsap scored 32 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out seven assists to lead the Jazz to a 101-94 win over the Kings. Millsap is the fourth Jazz player ever to reach each of those statistical thresholds in one game. The others were Karl Malone (five times), Pete Maravich (once) and Carlos Boozer (once).once
HAWKS SWEEP CELTICS
The Hawks beat the Celtics for the third time this month to complete a sweep of their four-game season series against Boston. The Hawks had never before defeated the Celtics three times in the same calendar month in a rivalry that dates back to 1949. Over the last 40 years, the only other NBA team with three victories over Boston in one month was the Knicks in January 1997.
HILL STEPS IN FOR PARKER
George Hill replaced the injured Tony Parker in the starting lineup and scored 18 points as the Spurs defeated the red-hot Grizzlies. Hill has averaged 33.8 minutes and 16.8 points while starting each of the five games that Parker has missed this season. Hill has per-game averages of 24.4 minutes and 9.5 points in the 40 games that Parker has played.
HEAT DOUBLE PISTONS' REBOUNDS
The Heat outrebounded the Pistons, 52-25, in their 92-65 win at Detroit. It was the second NBA game this season in which a team had more than twice as many rebounds as its opponent. Philadelphia (59 rebounds) did it in a 117-101 win against Golden State (26) on December 14.
DAVIS EXPLODES IN THIRD QUARTER
Baron Davis scored 28 points, including 23 in the third quarter, in the Clippers' loss at Minnesota. Davis' 23 third-quarter points were the third-most for any player in one period of an NBA game this season. Both Dirk Nowitzki (Nov. 3 in the fourth) and Brandon Jennings (Nov. 11 in the third) scored 29 points in one quarter.
ROY SITS AS ROCKETS TOP BLAZERS
The Rockets beat the undermanned Trail Blazers with Brandon Roy unable to answer the bell for Portland. Roy averaged 30 points per game in three previous games against the Rockets this season, with the Blazers winning two of those three games. Roy's 90 points against Houston are the most for any NBA player this season. Jason Terry (85 points in four games versus the Rockets) and Kobe Bryant (81 in three games) have the next-highest totals.
WIZARDS BEAT STREAKING NETS
The Wizards won a two-point decision at New Jersey to deny the Nets' bid for their first two-game winning streak of the season. New Jersey (4-41) is the first NBA team to advance this far into a season without posting consecutive wins since the 2006-07 Grizzlies needed 73 games to record their first two-game winning streak.
LEAFS TIE RECORD WITH OVERTIME LOSS
The Devils beat the Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime, after blowing a 4-2 third-period lead. Toronto is 0-9 in games decided by an overtime goal this season. The Leafs' nine consecutive overtime losses tie the single-season NHL record (set by the Wild in 2001-02 and matched by the Canadiens in 2002-03.)
MODANO TIES IT, THEN WINS IT
Mike Modano scored two goals in the Stars' 3-2 victory over the Avalanche, including the tiebreaking game-winner in the third period. It was the 92nd multiple-goal game of Modano's NHL career, second-most among active players to Teemu Selanne's 118, but it was his first such game since Dec. 3, 2008 at Edmonton. Modano played 95 games in the interim between his two-goal game against the Oilers nearly 13 months ago and the one he had on Friday night. It was Modano's longest stretch without a multiple-goal game in his 20-year career. His longest drought before this was 73 games from February 2003 to February 2004.
KNUBLE MATCHES CAREER HIGH
Mike Knuble scored a pair of goals in the Capitals' 4-1 win over the Panthers, running his total to 11 goals (in 14 games) this month. Knuble's 11 goals in January equal his career high for a calendar month, set with the Bruins in March 2003. That's the only other time that Knuble reached double-figures in goals in one month in his 13 seasons in the NHL.
MILLER BEATS BRUINS AT HOME
Ryan Miller made 30 saves to lead the Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the Bruins in Buffalo. Miller is 11-1-3 with a 2.03 goals-against average in 15 career home games versus Boston, holding the Bruins to three or fewer goals in all but one of those games.
HOWARD BUSY IN WINGS' NET
Jimmy Howard stopped 46 of 48 shots on goal in his 4-2 win against the Predators. Howard, who made 51 saves in a 2-1 victory at Los Angeles earlier this month (January 7), is the first rookie goaltender with two wins in one season in which he made at least 46 saves since 1996-97, when Patrick Lalime posted three such wins for the Penguins.
Kurt Warner took two teams to the Super Bowl: the 1999 Rams, coming off nine consecutive losing seasons; and the 2008 Cardinals, coming off nine straight seasons without a winning mark. Only two other quarterbacks won even a single playoff game for a team coming off nine or more non-winning seasons: Trent Dilfer (1997 Bucs) and Jake Plummer (1998 Cardinals).