- Roberto Abramowitz
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A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Dirk Nowitzki's 19-footer with 1.3 seconds to play gave the Mavericks a 101-99 win over the Suns. Nowitzki has made his last three potential game-tying or go-ahead field-goal attempts in the last five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime after missing the first 13 such shots of his NBA career.
• Amare Stoudemire missed a 23-footer at the buzzer to seal Dallas's victory. Stoudemire has made only one of 10 two-point field-goal attempts longer than 20 feet in his NBA career, and he is 0-for-3 on potential game-tying or go-ahead field-goal attempts in the last five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime.
• The Mavericks' streak looked shaky when the Suns scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter, turning a two-point deficit into an eight-point lead. But by rallying to victory, Dallas has won 22 consecutive games in which they held a lead during the fourth quarter. The Mavs' record of 22-1 in such games, including their opening-night loss to the Spurs, is the best in the NBA.
• It's rare that two teams as hot as the Mavericks and Suns meet. Coming into Thursday's game, Dallas had won 21 of its last 24 games; Phoenix had won 18 of its last 20. It was only the 17th game in NBA history in which both teams had won at least 17 of their last 20 games.
• George Karl become the 12th NBA coach to reach the 800-victory mark when the Nuggets recorded a 112-98 victory over the Sonics -- a team for which Karl posted a 384-150 record from 1992 to 1998. He was the fourth of those 12 coaches to earn his 800th victory against a team he had previously coached. The others were Jack Ramsay against the Clippers (1987), Dick Motta against the Wizards (1987), and Larry Brown against the Clippers (2001).
Honorable mention: Red Auerbach earned his 900th win against the St. Louis Hawks (1965); Auerbach coached the Hawks' predecessors, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in the 1949-1950 season. And Lenny Wilkens earned his 1000th win against the Cavaliers (1996).
• Coach Karl reportedly encouraged Allen Iverson to be more selfish with his shot selection in the absence of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. Iverson, who has historically managed to balance his own shooting and distribution skills, didn't need to be told twice, scoring 44 points with 10 assists in the victory over the Sonics.
Iverson has scored at least 40 points and recorded at least 10 assists in the same game 11 times. Only three players in NBA history have done so more often: Oscar Robertson, 46; Nate Archibald, 23; and Jerry West, 14.
• The Spurs defeated the Jazz 106-83 for Utah's 15th consecutive loss at San Antonio. That not only equaled the second-longest such streak in franchise history -- that is, most consecutive road losses against one opponent -- it's also the longest since the New Orleans Jazz moved to Salt Lake City in 1979. The two other streaks of 15 or more including the team's Louisiana legacy: 19 at Boston (1976-1991) and 15 at Phoenix (1977-1983).
• The Spurs have held the Jazz to fewer than 100 points in each of their last 31 meetings, the longest such streak since the 24-second clock was introduced in 1954. The last time the Jazz scored in triple-figures against the Spurs was a 101-87 victory at the Alamodome on Feb. 28, 1999 in which Karl Malone scored 30 points for Utah.
• The Grizzlies fired head coach Mike Fratello on Thursday, after the team lost 24 of its first 30 games this season. Fratello guided Memphis to the postseason in 2005 and 2006, but the Grizzlies were swept in the first round both times, dropping the coach's career record to 11 losses in 14 postseason series.
Fratello is one of only six coaches in NBA history with a regular-season record at least 100 games above the .500 mark, but who has lost more postseason series than he has won (postseason series record in parentheses): Don Nelson, 1205-895 (14-17); Rick Adelman, 752-481 (13-14); George Karl, 800-555 (11-15); Lenny Wilkens, 1332-1155 (17-19); Flip Saunders, 493-353 (4-9); and Fratello, 667-548 (3-11). Fratello is the only coach in NBA history with at least 500 regular-season wins who has won fewer than five postseason series.
• The Sabres defeated the Hurricanes 4-1 for their fourth win in four games this season against the team that eliminated them in the 2006 Eastern Conference finals. Buffalo is only the second team in NHL history to win its first four games of a season, all by the end of December against an opponent who defeated them in the previous season's playoffs. The other was the Maple Leafs over the Red Wings after Detroit defeated Toronto in the 1961 semifinals.
• Thomas Vanek scored his 20th goal of the season in the Sabres' victory. Vanek, who scored 25 goals as a rookie last season, is the first Sabres player to reach the 20 mark in both his freshman and sophomore seasons since Ray Sheppard did it in 1987-88 (38 goals) and 1988-89 (22).
• Daniel Cleary scored the first hat trick of his career in the Red Wings' 7-4 victory at Columbus. Cleary has scored 17 goals this season -- all since Nov. 4, to rank second in the NHL during that time, trailing only Alex Ovechkin (19). Cleary's total of 17 goals by the end of December is rare for a player who didn't score any in October. The last player to do so was Dave Lumley of the Oilers, who played only three games without scoring during October 1981 but tallied 20 goals by New Year's Day.
It was Cleary's third multiple-goal game this season, compared to just one in 406 prior NHL games.
• The Flyers snapped a 10-game winless streak with a 4-2 victory over the Lightning, who hadn't lost in their last 10 games against the Flyers. Philadelphia became the first NHL team in 21 years to snap a double-digit winless streak against an opponent that it hadn't beaten in its last 10 or more meetings. The last team to do so was the Canucks, who snapped a 10-game winless streak in 1985 with a victory over the Flames, whom Vancouver hadn't beaten in its previous 10 meetings.
• Peter Forsberg recorded three assists in the Flyers' victory. It was the 46th three-assist game of Forsberg's career, but his first since November 2005 and only his third in two seasons with the Flyers. The only active player with more three-assist games than Forsberg is Jaromir Jagr (51).
• Dwayne Roloson was the Oilers' goaltender in Thursday's 7-4 loss to the Kings. It was the fourth time this season that Roloson allowed at least six goals in a game. (The Kings' seventh goal was scored into an empty net.) That equals the number of games in which Roloson allowed six or more goals over his previous six NHL seasons combined, spanning 218 games.
14hBy Ian O'Connor
17hFantasy Football Insiders