Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Wow. And you know what we're talking about. The Bulls went to South Florida and defeated the Heat, 108-66, in a game that sent opening-night shockwaves throughout the league.
Of course, the 42-point margin made it the most thorough butt-kicking that has ever been administered in a season opener to the defending NBA champions -- but it nearly tripled the previous record in that regard. In 1982, the Warriors defeated the Lakers (head coach: Pat Riley) by 15 points, 132-117, in Los Angeles.
But there has only been one season-opening game in NBA history -- and by season-opening, we mean that it was the first game of the season for both teams -- in which the final score was so lopsided, defending champs or no defending champs. On Nov. 6, 1987, the Nuggets defeated the Clippers, 139-93, in Denver. So the Bulls' victory in Miami was the most decisive road victory in the history of the NBA in a season-opening game for both teams.
The 42-point loss matched the largest margin of defeat for Pat Riley in any of his 1,741 regular-season games as an NBA head coach. On April 22, 1990, in a so-what season finale at Portland, Riley's Lakers lost to the Trail Blazers, 130-88.
And the 42-point victory was the second-largest road victory in any regular-season game in Bulls' history. It missed the record by two points: back in 1971, the Bulls won at Philadelphia, 148-104.
• The Kobe-less Lakers overcame a 19-point deficit to defeat the Suns, 114-106. It was the third time in the past three seasons that an NBA team has overcome a deficit of that size or larger to win its season-opening game.
In 2004, Washington overcame a 19-point Memphis lead to beat the Grizzlies, 103-91. And last year, the Bulls overcame a 25-point Charlotte lead to defeat the Bobcats in overtime, 109-105.
• The NBA's 61st season got started with two games on Tuesday night, but its first season began with a single game 60 years ago Wednesday night. (The league was then known as the Basketball Association of America; the NBA name was adopted in 1949 after admitting several teams that had formerly played in the National Basketball League.)
On Friday, Nov. 1, 1946, the New York Knickerbockers (as they were then unfailingly known) defeated the Toronto Huskies, 68-66, at Maple Leaf Gardens. Toronto's Ed Sadowski was game's high scorer with 18 points, while Leo Gottlieb led New York with 14 points.
The Knicks and the Celtics are the only teams that have represented the same city in each of the NBA's 61 seasons. The Huskies, meanwhile, lasted just a single season in the BAA.
• Think there was some celebrating in ChiTown on Halloween night? Not only did the Bulls take apart the Heat, but the Blackhawks, even in dropping a 5-2 decision to the Islanders, ended a scoreless streak that had reached historic proportions.
The Blackhawks themselves had the longest scoring drought in NHL history. Believe it or not, they once went 581 minutes, 42 seconds without a goal, spread over 10 games in February and March of 1929, including eight straight games in which Chicago was shut out. But the city was more consumed by another event that occurred during its hockey team's scoreless streak: the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, in which seven mobsters were famously rubbed out, apparently by gang rivals. (Check out the 1967 movie of the same name, with Jason Robards and George Segal; it's got everything except a mention of the Blackhawks' scoreless streak.)
Back to 2006 for one more note: On Tuesday, Chicago allowed the first three goals of the game before scoring, extended its streak of unanswered goals allowed to 15, tying a team record done three times previously, most recently in December 1987.
• Chris Higgins scored the first goal in Montreal's 4-2 win over Ottawa. Higgins finished October with a team-high seven goals, the most by a Canadiens player in the first calendar month of a season since Brian Savage scored 10 times in October 1999.
• Bob Bradley, who in his first season with Chivas USA led the team to the sixth-largest turnaround in MLS history, was named MLS Coach of the Year Tuesday. Chivas improved from 4-22-6 last season to 10-9-13 this year, an increase of 0.78 points per game.
The only larger increases in MLS history were by the MetroStars (+1.22) from 1999 (7-25) to 2000 (17-12-3); the Wizards (+1.16) from 1999 (8-24) to 2000 (16-7-9); and the Earthquakes (+0.82) from 2000 (7-17-8) to 2001 (13-7-6).
• Jonathan Bornstein was named MLS Rookie of the Year Tuesday, after a rookie season in which he led MLS field players in minutes with 2,878, having missed only two minutes of game action all year (he was substituted for in the 90th minute twice). It's the third time in the last four seasons that a rookie has led the league in minutes played. 2005 Rookie of the Year Michael Parkhurst did it, as did Todd Dunivant in 2003.