Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Something's up with Kobe Bryant, whose New Year's resolution seems to have been to shoot less and pass more -- but only in the first half. The Lakers have played 10 games this month, and during that time Kobe has taken 71 percent more shots in the second half (111) than in the first half (65); but he has recorded 87 percent more assists in the first half (43) than in the second (23).
On Saturday night, Bryant took only three shots from the field in the first half as the Hornets built a 59-51 halftime lead against the Lakers. The Hornets held on for a 113-103 win.
• For the third straight game, the Knicks saw their opponents launch a shot in the game's closing seconds that could have turned a New York lead into a New York loss in a New York second. But unlike this week's one-point losses to the Wizards and the Nets, Danny Granger's 3-point attempt missed, and the Knicks defeated the Pacers 108-106.
• Four Knicks players scored 20 or more points in their victory -- the first time that New York has produced four 20-point scorers in a regulation-length game since Feb. 27, 2001, when Jeff Van Gundy's team defeated the Sonics 101-92, with 20-plus contributions from Allan Houston, Latrell Sprewell, Marcus Camby and Glen Rice.
• Here's one you don't see too often: Eddy Curry scored 26 points in the Knicks' win, but he grabbed only one rebound. Over the last 30 years, only four other starting centers scored at least 25 points but had fewer than two rebounds: Predrag Drobnjak (2003), Shaquille O'Neal (1999), Bryant Reeves (1997), and Artis Gilmore (1981).
• Marcus Camby grabbed 22 rebounds in the Nuggets' 121-113 overtime win at Houston. It was the highest total ever recorded at the Toyota Center, home of the Rockets for the past four seasons.
• Brian Gionta tied the score with 20 seconds remaining before scoring the only shootout goal in the Devils' 4-3 win over the Flyers. It was Gionta's third game-tying goal in the final minute of the third period this season, equaling the all-time NHL record. The mark was set in 1977-1978 by Paul Gardner of the Colorado Rockies, a predecessor of the Devils. Co-holders of the record are Willi Plett (1979-1980 Atlanta Flames), Mikko Makela (1986-1987 Islanders), and Alexander Selivanov (1995-1995 Lightning).
• Evgeni Malkin recorded five assists in the Penguins' 8-3 win over the Maple Leafs. That was the most assists by a rookie in one game since Feb. 25, 1990, when Sergei Makarov had five assists. The rookie record is six, set by Gary Suter in 1986. Makarov and Suter both played for the Flames and recorded their big assist games against the Oilers.
• Martin St. Louis scored one goal and two assists in the Lightning's 6-5 shootout win at Carolina, extending his road-game point-scoring streak to 17 games (12 goals, 14 assists during the streak). St. Louis's road point streak is the longest in the NHL since Doug Weight recorded at least one point in each of 17 consecutive road games for the Oilers in 1997.
• Ed Belfour posted his 200th regular-season road victory in the Panthers' 4-1 win over the Capitals. The only other goaltenders to win at least 200 games on the road are Martin Brodeur (216) and Patrick Roy (203).
• The Panthers outshot the Capitals 42-18 in Saturday's 4-1 win. When the same teams met a week ago, Florida outshot Washington 54-17. It's the first time in six years that a team has taken at least 24 more shots on goal in consecutive games against the same opponent. The Kings did so against the Panthers in 2000-2001.
But the Panthers' domination against the Caps extends much further than those two games. Florida has taken at least 35 shots on goal in each of their last nine games against Washington, equaling the longest streaks in the NHL over the last 10 years.
• The Thrashers defeated the Rangers 3-1 on Saturday in a game that featured the top three goal-scorers in the NHL over the last four seasons: Ilya Kovalchuk (155), Marian Hossa (150), Jaromir Jagr (139). All three players scored in the game. Although Hossa missed a penalty shot in the second period, he tallied an empty-net goal with 24 seconds to play.
• Dany Heatley scored two goals for the Senators in their 3-0 win at Boston. It was Heatley's eighth multiple-goal game this season (including three hat tricks), tying him with Marian Hossa and Teemu Selanne for the league high. Heatley had eight multiple-goal games all last season, when he set a franchise record with 50 goals in his first season with Ottawa.
• David Legwand scored three goals for the Predators in their 6-3 win over the Blackhawks at Nashville. It was the first hat trick of Legwand's NHL career and the 12th in Predators history. The first hat trick in Predators history was recorded by Rob Valicevic at Chicago in Nov. 1999, but all 11 since then have come in Nashville. Every other team has produced at least three hat tricks in road games since Jan. 1, 2000.
• Sean Burke made his debut for the Kings on Saturday night, starting in goal against the Coyotes. Burke has now played goal for eight different NHL franchises: New Jersey, Hartford/Carolina, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Florida, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles. That ties the league record held by Ron Tugnutt (Quebec, Edmonton, Anaheim, Montreal, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Dallas).
• Jonathan Bornstein and Kenny Cooper, both making their first appearance for the U.S. Men's National Team, scored the winning and insurance goals in a 3-1 victory over Denmark. They were the first pair of U.S. players to score in their international debut in the same game since Jeff Hooker and Jacques Ladouceur did so in 1984 against El Salvador.
• Denmark took a 1-0 lead over the U.S. on a goal by Dennis Sorensen in the 37th minute. The U.S. victory snapped a 19-game winless streak against European opponents when allowing the game's first goal. Their last such win was a 2-1 victory over Ireland in 1996.
• The victory over Denmark was the first appearance for the USMNT since losing to Ghana 2-1 in the World Cup Finals on June 22. The gap of 230 days between matches is the longest by the U.S. men's team in 18 years -- since they went 246 days between World Cup qualifying matches against Jamaica (a 5-1 win on Aug. 13, 1988) and Costa Rica (a 1-0 loss on April 16, 1989).
Both of those gaps coincided with coaching changes: from Lothar Osiander to Bob Gansler in 1988-1989 and from Bruce Arena to Bob Bradley in the current instance.
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