- Roberto Abramowitz
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A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Allen Iverson scored 30 points in his first game against his former team, but the 76ers defeated the Nuggets 108-97 at Denver. Of the 16 other players who eventually faced a team for which they had won an NBA scoring title, only three scored 30 or more points in their first meeting: Dominique Wilkins, 36 vs. Hawks (Mar. 25, 1994); George Yardley, 33 vs. Pistons (Feb. 22, 1959); and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 30 vs. Bucks (Oct. 28, 1975).
But Iverson is the first former NBA scoring champion in 28 years to lose his first game against the team with which he won the scoring title. The last to do so was Rick Barry with the Rockets against the Warriors in 1978.
• Amare Stoudemire scored 24 points with 18 rebounds in the Suns' 97-96 win at Chicago. Only one other player has started at center opposite Ben Wallace and reached those totals in the same game: David Robinson in 2001 (29 points, 22 rebounds).
• The Suns have won all seven road games against Eastern Conference opponents this season. The last team to start a season 7-0 or better in interconference road games was the Heat in 1996-97 (9-0).
• Ben Gordon scored 41 points in the Bulls' loss, six days after scoring 40 points against the Heat. What's the big deal, you wonder? Gordon didn't start either game. Over the last 30 seasons, only one other player, Brian Winters, recorded at least two 40-point games off the bench over his entire career. Gordon has done it twice in a week.
• The Mavericks extended their current winning streak to 11 games with a 112-88 victory over the Sonics. Dallas, which posted a 12-game winning streak earlier this season (Nov. 9-Dec. 1), is the
20th team in NBA history with two winning streaks longer than 10 games in the same season.
But of the 19 teams to do so previously, only one accomplished it this early in the season, whether measured by date or by games played. Dallas has played 32 games to date. The Lakers recorded two streaks of 11 wins over their first 31 games through Dec. 14, 1971. (Of course, the Lakers' two 11-game streaks were both part of their all-time NBA record of 33 straight wins.)
• Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points in the Mavs' win. It was Nowitzki's first 30-point game since Nov. 24, snapping an 18-game streak without a 30-point performance that was his longest since his first 18 games of the 2000-01 season.
• Tuesday night's Spurs-Cavs game might as well have been held at a velodrome. The teams cautiously pedaled through a third quarter in which a total of 21 points were scored before a furious fourth quarter in which the Cavs outscored the Spurs, 38-28, to earn an 82-78 victory. It was the first game since the 24-second clock was introduced in 1954 in which fewer than 25 points were scored in the third quarter and 60 or more points were scored in the fourth.
• Manny Fernandez made 14 saves in the Wild's 5-1 win over the Thrashers, but in a familiar scenario it was that 15th and final shot on goal -- by Atlanta's Jon Sim with 23 seconds to play -- that cost Fernandez a shutout. This was the fifth time that Fernandez lost a shutout by allowing a goal in the final 30 seconds of the third period, tying John Vanbiesbrouck for the highest such total in NHL history.
• Who would've thought that the NHL's winningest goaltender of the past 15 seasons and the league's best shootout goaltender would combine to allow a record-tying total of seven goals in a shootout? But that's what happened in the Rangers' 3-2 win over the Devils. Henrik Lundqvist allowed three goals during the shootout, but Martin Brodeur allowed four.
Zach Parise's shootout goal snapped Lundqvist's streak of 25 consecutive shootout saves, dating back to March 27 last season. That is by far the longest streak in the two-year history of the NHL shootout, 10 more than the second-longest streak (by Antero Niittymaki).
• Marcel Hossa, who scored the winning goal for the Rangers, is 2-for-2 in shootout attempts this season. But Hossa has scored only one "real" goal in 39 games. The only other player with more successful shootout goals than actual goals this season is Petteri Nummelin of the Wild (4-2).
• Michael Nylander's second-period goal snapped the Rangers' scoreless streak in road games at 186 minutes, 39 seconds. It was New York's longest such streak since Dean Prentice scored against Terry Sawchuk of the Bruins on New Year's Day in 1956, ending a scoreless road-game streak of more than three-and-a-half hours.
• The Flyers defeated the Islanders 3-2 for their third consecutive win -- all on the road and immediately following a 10-game winless streak. Only five other teams in NHL history snapped a double-digit winless streak with at least three consecutive wins, all as the visiting team. The last team to do so was the Canadiens in 1998.
• Robert Esche has made 42, 40, and 40 saves in the Flyers' three straight wins. During the expansion era, only two other goaltenders won three consecutive games making at least 40 saves in each: Marc Denis (2005) and Grant Fuhr (1984).
• Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves in the Penguins' 3-0 victory over the Hurricanes. Fleury is only the third goaltender in Penguins history to record a shutout against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The others were Tom Barrasso over the Red Wings in 1999 and Jim Rutherford over the Bruins in 1973.
• It took the Blackhawks 46 minutes to find the back of the net, but they scored four times in the third period to defeat the Blues 4-1. Small consolation, but it was the 11th consecutive game in which St. Louis didn't allow a goal in the first period, the longest streak in franchise history and the longest by any team since the Kings recorded a 12-game streak in 1974.
• The Red Wings retired Steve Yzerman's uniform No. 19 before Tuesday night's 2-1 win over the Ducks. Yzerman scored 1,755 points over 22 NHL seasons from 1983 to 2006, playing only for Detroit. That's not only the second-highest point total in Red Wings history, it's the second-highest total by any player for any team. Gordie Howe's total of 1,809 points for Detroit is the most scored by one player for any NHL team.
1hEthan Sherwood Strauss