- Roberto Abramowitz
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A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Three overtime periods proved to be too much for the Pistons as they lost to the Knicks in New York after Detroit defeated the Nets in New Jersey the previous night. Over the last 26 seasons (since 1981-82), only one team has swept a pair of road games against New Jersey and New York (in either order) on consecutive days. That team was the Pistons (Feb. 14-15, 2002).
• Richard Hamilton scored 51 points in the Pistons' loss. The only other player to score more than 50 points in a game against the Knicks at the "current" Madison Square Garden (which opened in Feb. 1968) is Michael Jordan (55 points on March 28, 1995).
• The Knicks became the first team in NBA history to play three triple (or more) overtime games in one calendar year, and they won all three (the others: Jan. 2 vs. Phoenix and Nov. 1 vs. Memphis in their season opener). The Knicks have won 12 of the last 13 games at Madison Square Garden that required at least two overtime periods (since Nov. 1983). New York's only double-OT loss in a home game over that span was against Utah on March 22, 1998.
• The Wizards defeated the Bobcats in Charlotte for their sixth win in their last seven road games after beginning the season with losses in their first eight games away from Washington. No other team in NBA history has won six of seven road games immediately following a streak of at least eight road losses to begin a season.
• With 39 points on Wednesday, Gilbert Arenas improved his December scoring average to a league-high 35.0 points per game (with two games remaining before the New Year). The only player in Wizards history to finish a calendar month with an average of at least 35 points per game was Walt Bellamy (35.7 PPG in Jan. 1962). Bellamy's mark was set in the franchise's inaugural season, when the team played in Chicago and was known as the Packers.
• Shane Battier made seven 3-pointers in Houston's 96-71 win over the Nets, but it was the first of Luther Head's pair of 3-point field goals that established a franchise mark for the Rockets. Head has made at least one 3-pointer in each of his last 28 games (each game this season with the exception of Houston's opener), breaking the club record he shared with Kenny Smith (27 straight games in 1994-95).
• Vince Carter scored only 12 points in the Nets' loss after posting 28 points against the Pistons the previous night. Carter has played 132 pairs of games on consecutive days during his career and his scoring average in the second of those games (21.9 PPG) is 2.8 points-per-game lower than his average in all other games (24.7), the largest such decrease for any current NBA player with at least 50 pairs of back-to-back games.
• The Raptors erased a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Timberwolves at Toronto 100-97. It was only the second time in franchise history that Toronto won a home game in which it was outscored in each of the first three quarters. The Raptors' only previous victory of that type was against the Nuggets on March 19, 1998 at Rogers Centre.
With less than 10 seconds remaining in the game, Minnesota's
Mike James went to the charity stripe for three shots and a chance to tie the game. James had made his previous 34 free throws (the third-longest streak in the NBA this season) before missing the second of those shots.
• The Cavaliers disposed of the Hawks on Wednesday as they did in their previous five games in Atlanta. Cleveland's six consecutive victories at Philips Arena is the second-longest road winning streak against one club in franchise history. The Cavaliers won a dozen straight games in Philadelphia from 1991 to 1997.
• Ben Gordon scored 40 points off the bench in the Bulls' 109-103 win over the Heat. Over the last four seasons, the only other players to score at least 40 points in a game they didn't start were Darius Miles (47 for the Trail Blazers, April 19, 2005) and
Mike Miller (41 for the Grizzlies, March 17, 2006).
• The Grizzlies dropped a 112-96 decision to the Bucks after losing in Washington the previous night. Memphis is 0-10 this season in the second of games played on consecutive days; every other team in the league has won at least one such game.
• Al Jefferson grabbed 14 rebounds in the Celtics' loss to the Clippers. It was Jefferson's ninth straight game with double-digit rebounds, the longest streak for a Boston player since Robert Parish did it in 14 straight games in 1988-89.
• Dominik Hasek stopped 31 of 32 shots on goal to lead the Red Wings to a 3-1 victory over the Wild in Detroit. In Hasek's last game (Dec. 22, also a 3-1 win over Minnesota at Joe Louis Arena), he saved all but one of 35 shots on goal. Hasek didn't face as many as 32 shots in any of his 26 previous games this season.
• Kirk Maltby's goal gave the Red Wings a lead 16 seconds into the first period. Maltby had never scored a goal fewer than 40 seconds into any period, no less at the beginning of a game. In a career that spans 13 NHL seasons, only one of Maltby's 108 previous goals was scored less than a minute into a game.
• The Thrashers trailed the Penguins 1-0 at the end of the first period, but Atlanta rallied to win in Pittsburgh 4-2. It was the 10th time this season that the Thrashers won a game in which their opponent scored the first goal, tying them with Buffalo for the league high.
• Sidney Crosby was held without a point for a second consecutive game in the Penguins' loss. It's only the second time this season that Crosby has had a two-game point drought (also Oct. 14-18). Pittsburgh has never won a game in which Crosby played and failed to register a point, going 0-21-1 last season and 0-8-0 this season.
• The Islanders suffered a 2-0 loss at Ottawa, after beating the rival Rangers by an identical score on Tuesday. Prior to Wednesday's defeat, New York was the only team in the NHL with a perfect record this season in the second of games played on consecutive days (6-0-0). The Isles' defeat left Boston (3-0-1) as the only team without a regulation loss this season in the second of back-to-back games.
• Dany Heatley didn't score in the Senators' victory, after scoring goals in each of his previous seven games against the Islanders. Heatley's goal-scoring streak against the Islanders was the longest for any player since Brett Hull scored in 13 straight games against New York from 1990 to 1994 (the longest goal-scoring streak for any opponent in Islanders history).
• Daniel and Henrik Sedin scored first-period goals for the Canucks in their 6-5 overtime win against the Flames. It was the 18th time in NHL history that a pair of twins each scored in the same game, and the seventh time that the Sedins have done it, all as teammates. Rich and Ron Sutter did it nine times (as teammates); Peter and Patrik Sundstrom did it twice (as opponents). Wednesday's game was only the fourth in NHL history in which a pair of twins both scored during the first period (twice by the Sutters and once each by the Patricks and Sedins).