Elias Says ...

11/30/2006 - NFL NBA NHL MLB Soccer + more

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

• It's the principle of the midseason coaching change, and it was demonstrated again in Chicago on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks scored twice in the third period for a 2-1 victory over the Stars in Denis Savard's first game as head coach. Since the start of the 2002-03 season, NHL teams playing for a new coach following an in-season change have a record of 20-3-5. (The five one-point games include one tie and four OT losses.) Only six of those 28 teams had a winning record prior to the change.

Tuomo Ruutu scored the game-winner for the Blackhawks with 1:48 to play in the third period. It was only the fourth time in NHL history that a team won its first game for new coach with a surviving go-ahead goal in the last two minutes of regulation. All four have come since 1995. The others: Pierre Turgeon for Mario Tremblay in 1995 (Canadiens), Robert Lang for Bruce Cassidy in 2002 (Capitals), and Vincent Damphousse for Ron Wilson in 2002 (Sharks).

• The Mavericks extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 117-98 victory over the Raptors. Dallas, which had previously broken the NBA record for consecutive wins immediately following a start of 0-4 (or worse), tied another record tonight. The Mavs equaled the longest winning streak by an NBA team with a record at least four games below .500 at the start of the streak. That record was set by the Nuggets in 1983 and equaled by the Suns in 1997.

Erick Dampier shot 5-for-6 in the Mavs' victory, raising his shooting percentage to .690 this month. Over the past 30 years, only three qualifying players recorded field-goal percentages that high during the month of November: Mark West, .691 (1990); Artis Gilmore, .695 (1980); and Dave Twardzik, .693 (1977).

Joe Johnson scored a season-high 36 points to lead the Hawks to a 99-90 win over the Bobcats. That raised Johnson's scoring average to 27.8 points per game, the highest by a Hawks player during the month of November since Dominique Wilkins averaged 28.0 points in 1992. It was the highest November scoring average by a Hawks guard since Pistol Pete Maravich scored 28.4 points per game in November 1973.

Dwight Howard scored 24 points on 8-for-8 shooting from the field in the Magic's 94-84 victory at Seattle. It was only the fifth time in Sonics history that an opposing player shot 8-for-8 or better at Seattle. The others were Dale Davis, 8-for-8 (1993); Darryl Dawkins, 8-for-8 (1978); Wilt Chamberlain, 8-for-8 (1973); and Greg Smith, 10-for-10 (1971).

• The Bobcats missed the first 13 field-goal attempts in their loss to the Hawks. That was not only the worst shooting start in the team's three-year history, it was the worst in any NBA game since the 76ers went 0-for-16 to start an 88-80 loss to the Spurs in 2004.

Eddy Curry scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a game-winning dunk with 46 seconds to play, in the Knicks' 101-98 victory at Cleveland. It was only the third time in Curry's career that he scored as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter. The others were for the Bulls -- in a loss to the Spurs in 2003 (16) and in a win over the Nuggets in 2005 (14).

Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field in the Suns' 102-91 victory over the Rockets. It was only the second time in 10 starts against Yao Ming that Stoudemire shot 50 percent or better. Stoudemire shot 36 percent in the first eight of those 10 games, but 18-for-31 in the last two (58 percent).

Tim Duncan scored 21 points with 10 rebounds, but the Spurs lost to the Jazz 83-75. It was the first time since December 2002 that the Spurs were held to 75 points or less in a loss despite Duncan reaching the 20-point mark.

• The Nets outscored the Celtics 30-19 in the fourth quarter of their 106-103 win at Boston. It was the sixth time in 12 seasons since moving to the TD Banknorth Garden (formerly known as FleetCenter) that the Celtics lost a game in which they outscored their opponent in each of the first three quarters. They suffered only two such losses in 49 years at the Boston Garden (1946-95).