- Roberto Abramowitz
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A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Rockets announced that Tracy McGrady will be out indefinitely with back spasms. Since McGrady joined Houston for the 2004-05 season, the Rockets are 90-55 in the games in which he has played, a .621 winning percentage; but they're 9-31 in the games that he has missed, a .225 percentage.
• The Warriors jumped out to an early lead over the Kings and ran to a 126-113 victory in Oakland. And while Matt Barnes had career highs of 32 points and 11 rebounds, the Elias Says Player Of The Night has to be Andris Biedrins.
Biedrins scored 20 points and had 14 rebounds, shooting 7-for-7 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the foul line. No player in NBA history had ever had a game in which he had as many points and as many rebounds, with perfect shooting from both the floor and the line (minimums: five field-goal attempts and five free-throw attempts).
• NBA telecasts are full of talk about "runs" -- streaks of unanswered points or, at the least, of one team's domination over some short but oh-so-precisely-defined stretch of a game that is too often untied to any outside context (such as a star player being hurt, or a starter sitting out in foul trouble). Just the sort of coincidental hot streaks that occur a handful of times each game. News of such runs is often presented graphically (sometimes breathlessly), but often leaves us a bit bewildered. It's basketball; that's what happens in basketball. One team gets hot, then the other. Right?
So let's shorten the story of Tuesday night's Lakers-Rockets game to these runs: Rockets, 19-9; Lakers, 84-47; Rockets, 26-1; Lakers, 8-2. Final score: Los Angeles 102, Houston 94.
At one point in the fourth quarter, the Rockets scored 19 consecutive points -- and still found themselves trailing, 94-92. It was just the second time this year that a team had scored 19 unanswered points and still found itself on the short side; in fact, it happened to Memphis at Phoenix on Nov. 11 after scoring 20 straight points.
• The Hawks missed 18 straight field-goal attempts in one stretch of their 100-87 loss to the Nuggets, the longest streak of shooting blanks in the NBA this season. But don't blame it on the microfiber ball: Four teams had streaks at least that long playing with leather last season.
• The Bucks defeated the Sonics, 94-93, but there was something missing from the last three minutes of the game: field goals. Each team shot 0-for-3 over that time.
Each team scored one point during the last three minutes. It has been nearly six years since the last time that the NBA saw a regulation-length game in which neither team made a field goal and each team scored fewer than two points over the last three minutes. Back on March 5, 2001, Dallas and Orlando staggered to the finish line in that manner -- but in a game that the Magic won by a substantial margin, 95-81.
• Seattle's Johan Petro scored 12 points and had nine rebounds in only 12 minutes Tuesday. Only two players in the last 30 years have had that many points and that many rebounds in no more than 12 minutes of game time. Anthony Cook had 13 points and 9 rebounds for the Nuggets in 1990 and Brad Wright had 13 and 9 for the Knicks in 1987.
• Barry Trotz coached the Predators for the 604th time when they hosted the Oilers Tuesday. Trotz has been the only coach in Nashville's eight seasons, and tonight he tied Lester Patrick's all-time NHL record for consecutive games as a head coach from the start of a franchise's history.
Patrick was the coach of the Rangers from their first game in 1926 until the end of the 1938-39 season. Only two other coaches besides Trotz and Patrick reached the 300-game mark: Jacques Lemaire, who coached his 440th game for the Wild on Tuesday; and Terry Crisp, 391 games for the Lightning (1992-1997).
• The Devils trailed the Sabres, 3-0, with less than a minute to go in the third period, but then Erik Rasmussen spoiled Ryan Miller's shutout with a goal at 19:20 and Brian Gionta added another goal at 19:41. New Jersey's last-gasp rally fell short and Buffalo held on for a 3-2 win.
Still, it was just the fifth time in NHL history that a team scored twice in the last minute of the third period after being held scoreless for the first 59 minutes of the game. Detroit was the last team to do it, on Dec. 23 last year in Chicago, when goals by Kris Draper and Nicklas Lidstrom in the final minute of regulation overcame a 2-0 Blackhawks lead and forced overtime; the Red Wings went on to win that game with a goal at 4:59 of overtime by Pavel Datsyuk.
• Jaromir Jagr had 11 shots on goal -- but no points -- in the Rangers' 3-1 win in Philadelphia. It was the 14th time that Jagr reached double figures in shots on goal in a regular-season game, the most of any active player.
Jagr is in his 16th NHL season. But believe it or not, the player who stands fourth on the list of active leaders in 10-shot games is in his second season in the league: Alex Ovechkin, with nine. Between Jagr and Ovechkin are Peter Bondra (who made his 2006-07 debut with Chicago on Tuesday night) with 13 and Paul Kariya with 12.
• The Maple Leafs trailed Tampa Bay, 3-1, in the second period but rallied for a 5-4 win over the Lightning. It was the first time this season that Toronto earned a point from a game in which it trailed by two or more goals; the Leafs had been 0-13-0 in such games. The only NHL teams still pointless after falling behind by at least two goals are the Bruins (0-11-0), Sharks (0-7-0) and Predators (0-5-0).
Tampa Bay had been 12-0-0 in games in which they led by two or more goals this season prior to Tuesday's loss to the Maple Leafs.
• New Blues coach Andy Murray figured that he'd try something different right out of the box, so he gave Marek Schwarz his first NHL start in goal. A fairy-tale ending? Nope, just a 3-2 loss to the Blackhawks.
Actually, over the past 50 years, 10 other NHL head coaches, in their respective first games with a particular team, started goaltenders who had never before started an NHL game. (The last to do it: Ed Olczyk started Marc-Andre Fleury in Olczyk's Penguins debut, a 3-0 loss to the Kings in 2003.) Only two of those teams came up winners: Winnipeg's Dan Maloney started Eldon Reddick in net and won, 3-2, over Buffalo in 1986; and the Kings' Red Kelly decided on Wayne Rutledge in the debut game for the Kings in 1967, a 4-2 win over the Flyers.
• Detroit outshot Ottawa, 45-22, but lost to the Senators, 3-2. It was the league-high eighth time that the Red Wings had at least twice as many shots on goal as their opponent in a game this season. Vancouver (six) and Anaheim (four) are the only other teams that have done that more than twice.
Tuesday's contest marked the first of those eight double-your-opponent-in-shots games in which Detroit failed to earn a point (they're 5-1-2 in such games).
• Montreal's Sergei Samsonov scored twice to end a career-high 19-game goal drought and lead the Canadiens to a 4-3 win over the Bruins. Samsonov's longest drought before this had been 11 games, which he did three times, last in 2003-04 when he played for Boston.
• Columbus extended its winning streak to five games with a 3-1 victory in Dallas on Tuesday night. The Blue Jackets have not trailed in any of the five games during their current streak, becoming the first NHL team to win five consecutive games in such fashion this season. There were five five-game winning streaks of that type last season (two by Ottawa; one each by Colorado, Dallas and Vancouver).
• Jarome Iginla had two goals and two assists in the Flames' 5-2 win over the Wild in Calgary. Iginla had no points in the Flames' first home game this season (Oct. 7 vs. Edmonton) but he's registered points in all 14 of the Flames' games at the Saddledome since then. It's the longest home point streak in the NHL this season -- Ottawa's Dany Heatley had a 14-game streak last season -- and it's the longest by a Flames player since Theo Fleury scored points in 14 consecutive home games in 1990-91.
• The Rockies traded Jason Jennings to the Astros on Monday, just when he was getting the hang of pitching in Denver. Jennings had a 3.56 ERA at Coors Field this season, the second-lowest in Rockies history among pitchers with at least 60 innings in a season in Denver, behind Denny Stark, who had a 3.21 ERA in Denver in 2002.
12hTristan H. Cockcroft