Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• With its victory over Miami, San Antonio replaced Boston as the team with the second-highest all-time regular-season winning percentage among current NBA teams, behind the Lakers.
With the exception of brief appearances by upstart franchises within the first week of their inaugural season (Vancouver and Toronto, both in 1995, and Orlando six years earlier), the Lakers and Celtics have ranked one-two (in either order) in all-time winning percentage for current NBA franchises since March 30, 1988, when a Bucks loss dropped them below the Lakers into the third spot in the all-time league standings.
The top five teams: Lakers (2,814-1,762, .615, including Minneapolis Lakers); Spurs (1,445-995, .5922); Celtics (2,774-1,912, .5919); Suns (1,703 -1,392, .550); 76ers (2,430-2,081, .539, including Syracuse Nationals).
• After losing to the Spurs, Miami is 2-5 this season without Shaquille O'Neal. Since his NBA debut, O'Neal's teams have a .697 winning percentage in games he's played (659-286) and a .544 winning percentage in the games he's missed (99-83).
• The Rockets posted an 86-82 win over the Wizards despite Tracy McGrady being held to 13 points. McGrady had scored at least 25 points in each of his previous 15 games against Washington (dating to April 14, 2001, with Orlando), which had been the longest current streak of 25-point games for any active player against any particular opponent. The longest such streak still belongs to McGrady, albeit against a different opponent; he's dropped 25 or more points in each of his past 12 games against the Cavaliers.
• The Raptors defeated the Cavaliers 95-87 despite trailing at the end of the third period. Toronto had lost the previous eight games in which it trailed at the start of the fourth period, with six of those losses coming this season. The only teams with a longer current losing streak in such games are Phoenix and Boston (11 losses each, with both streaks dating back to last season).
• Both Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis made 3-point field goals for the SuperSonics on Wednesday, as they've now done in each of Seattle's 13 games this season. That matches the longest start-of-season streak of its kind for any pair of teammates in NBA history. Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison both had at least one 3-pointer is each of the Wizards' first 13 games in 2005-06.
• The Sabres didn't score seven or more goals in each of two consecutive games in any of the past 12 NHL seasons, but when they beat the Maple Leafs 7-4 on Wednesday night following a 7-2 victory over the Lightning on Monday, it marked the second time they've done it this season. Buffalo posted 7-4 and 9-1 wins in consecutive games last month (Oct. 14-17 vs. the Rangers and Flyers).
It was Buffalo's seventh win this season in a game in which it trailed by at least two goals, equaling the second-highest single-season total in franchise history. The Sabres won nine games in that fashion in 1983-84.
• Brendan Morrison's overtime goal gave the Canucks a 4-3 decision over the Red Wings. It was Morrison's first overtime goal this season, the 10th of his career and his ninth for Vancouver (extending his own franchise record; no other player has scored more than five OT goals for the Canucks). Morrison has scored at least one goal during overtime in each of the past seven seasons. The only other player in NHL history with a streak of that length is Toronto's Mats Sundin, who has tallied at least once in OT in each of the last eight seasons (1998-99 through 2006-07).
• Chris Chelios played in his 1,495th regular-season NHL game in the Red Wings' loss to the Canucks. Chelios, who was born in Chicago, tied Phil Housley for the most career games by a player born in the United States.
Frank Brimsek was the first player U.S.-born player to appear in as many as 500 regular-season games in the NHL, reaching that milestone during the 1949-50 season. Since then, the chronology of the league's career leader in games by American-born players reads as follows: Charlie Burns (passed Brimsek in 1968-69), Lee Fogolin (1984-85), Gordie Roberts (1991-92, the first to reach 1,000), Neal Broten (1996-97), Craig Ludwig (1997-98) and Housley (who had sole possession of that distinction since Jan. 21, 2000).
• The Senators weren't called for a single penalty in their 3-2 overtime win over the Flyers in Philadelphia. It was the second time this season that an NHL team went penalty-free in a game (Tampa Bay did so against the Islanders last Friday) and the fourth in Ottawa franchise history. The Senators' last such game was on Jan. 22, 2002, also against the Flyers in Philadelphia (a 1-1 tie).
• Atlanta defenseman Shane Hnidy ended his 202-game goal drought when he scored in the second period of the Thrashers' 4-2 win in Washington. It was the longest current goalless spell for any NHL forward or defenseman, a dubious distinction which now belongs to Tampa Bay defenseman Nolan Pratt (123 games).
• Bobby Holik scored his 300th career goal in the Thrashers' victory, becoming the 157th player in NHL history to reach that milestone. Holik, who scored a single-season career-high 29 goals for the Devils in 1997-98, is only the fourth member of the 300-goal club who never had a 30-goal season. The others are Al MacInnis (340 goals), Dale Hunter (323) and Cliff Ronning (306).
• The Islanders outshot Carolina 48-15 in their 4-2 victory. The 33-shot differential was the largest in any NHL game this season and the largest in a game for the Islanders since Feb. 8, 1991, when they registered 33 more shots than the Red Wings in an 8-4 loss.
• The Bruins rebounded from a third-period collapse with a shootout win in Pittsburgh. It was the fourth time this season that Boston surrendered either a game-tying or go-ahead goal in the final two minutes of the third period, the most for any team in the league. Wednesday's game was the first of those four games in which the Bruins came back to win in either overtime or a shootout.
• Ken Hitchcock, newly hired to be the head coach of the Blue Jackets, will make his debut behind the Columbus bench Friday in Philadelphia. Hitchcock coached the Flyers' first eight games this season before being fired.
Hitchcock will become the sixth head coach in NHL history to hold that position for two teams in one season. Only one of the other coaches to do that assumed those duties with his second team as early in the season as Hitchcock. That was Fred Glover, who was fired as coach of Charlie Finley's California Golden Seals after just three games in 1971-72 (0-1-2) , then was hired to coach the Kings just over two weeks later, taking over for LA's 11th game of the season.
• Gary Matthews Jr. agreed to a five-year deal with the Angels on Wednesday, pending a physical examination. Matthews posted a career-high .313 batting average for the Rangers this year; that's 50 points higher than his career average (.263) and 58 points higher than his 2005 mark (.255). Matthews's batting average increase from 2005 to 2006 was the second-largest among players who qualified for the batting title in both seasons. Justin Morneau's 82-point improvement (from .239 last year to .321 this year) helped earn him MVP honors earlier this week.
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