Elias Says ...

1/23/2007 - NFL NBA NHL + more

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:


" Bill Parcells announced his retirement on Monday, 10 years after last appearing in a Super Bowl. That apparently ended his opportunity to accomplish what no other NFL head coach has done: win a Super Bowl with each of two different teams.

Twelve times a team has hired a head coach who had previously won a Super Bowl with another team; on three different occasions -- with the Patriots, the Jets and the Cowboys, Parcells himself was that coach. But none of those coaches has won a Super Bowl with a second team in a combined 41 years of trying.

Vince Lombardi Wash. 1969 Bill Parcells N.E. 1993-96 George Seifert Car. 1999-2001
Don McCafferty Detroit 1973 Jimmy Johnson Mia. 1996-99 Mike Holmgren Sea. 1999-2006
Hank Stram N.O. 1976-77 Bill Parcells Jets 1997-99 Dick Vermeil K.C. 2001-05
Tom Flores Seattle 1992-94 Mike Ditka N.O. 1997-99 Bill Parcells Dall. 2003-06

" Mike Tomlin, 34, became the youngest head coach in the NFL when the Steelers announced his hiring on Monday; in fact, he became the youngest NFL head-coaching hire since the Raiders named Jon Gruden as their head coach at age 34 in 1998. Tomlin, in turn, is about two months younger than Eric Mangini was when he was named the Jets' head coach last January.

But Tomlin's status as the league's youngest head coach will apparently not last long; the Raiders are going to name 31-year-old Lane Kiffin as their head coach on Tuesday.


" One day after their pro football teams qualified for the Super Bowl, the pro basketball teams from Chicago and Indianapolis had their own skirmish. And for the 16th time in their last 17 regular-season visits to the Indiana state capital, the Bulls came up short. This time by a 98-91 score.

So is it an omen? Could the Pacers' seven-point victory foretell a similar one by the Colts a week from Sunday in South Florida? Well, only once previously has there been an NBA game wedged within the time that the Super Bowl teams were determined and the actual playing of that game, in which both Super Bowl teams' cities were represented.

On Dec. 31, 1968, the Knicks defeated the Baltimore Bullets 121-110 at Madison Square Garden. Twelve days later, the Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts in South Florida 16-7 in Super Bowl III.

" The long wait was finally over, and in their first minute on the court together as teammates, Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson both scored field goals. The Nuggets led by 20 points after the first quarter and coasted to a 115-98 win over the Grizzlies.

Carmelo had not played in 37 days since Dec. 16, and finished with 28 points and six assists while Iverson had 23 points and seven assists. It was the first time in Denver's last 580 regular-season games -- a span that goes back a little over seven years -- that it had two players who each had both 23 points and six assists in the same game. The last Denver pair to do it: Nick Van Exel and Ron Mercer.

Anthony just missed becoming only the second player in NBA history to score 30-plus points in his first game back after a layoff of 30-plus days. (In 2005, Larry Hughes, then with the Wizards, scored 31 points against the Rockets in his first game back after a 46-day layoff.)

" Tim Duncan had 21 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks in the Spurs' 93-89 victory at Boston. It was the Spurs' 18th consecutive win against the Celtics, including 17 in a row since Duncan entered the NBA in 1997. That tied the NBA record for most consecutive games against the Celtics from the start of the career, winning them all; Duncan's ex-teammate Malik Rose also came out with 17 W's in his first 17 games against the C's.

Over those 17 games against Boston, Duncan has averaged 22.3 points and 11.2 rebounds, while hitting 56 percent of his field-goal attempts.

" The Nets held a 73-53 lead at Sacramento with 2˝ minutes left in the third quarter and seemed on the verge of becoming the first Atlantic Division team to get its won-lost record above the .500 mark in more than two months. But Mike Bibby scored the Kings' last 15 points, including the game-winning jump shot with 10.3 seconds remaining, to pin an 88-87 loss on New Jersey.

No other NBA player, in any game this season, has scored his team's last 14 points of the game.

It was the first time that the Kings had overcome a 20-point deficit to win a regular-season game since they came from 20 points down to beat the Celtics on Dec. 5, 2004. And it had been since March 7, 2001, when Sacramento overcame a 24-point third-quarter deficit to win at Phoenix, that it had overcome a 20-point second-half deficit to win.

You have to go back to John Calipari's days as the Nets' coach to find the last time that they lost a game after leading by 20 or more points in the second half. On Feb. 28, 1998, the Heat overcame a 20-point deficit to take a 95-93 decision at the Meadowlands.

" The scoring in the Knicks-Heat game in Miami began like this: Gary Payton made a field goal for Miami, Quentin Richardson hit a three-pointer for New York -- and then, over the next eight minutes, the Heat scored the next 27 points to assume a 29-3 lead en route to a 101-83 victory.

The 27 consecutive points were the most by any NBA team in nearly 10 years, since the Rockets, led by Charles Barkley, enjoyed a 27-point run against the Warriors in Oakland on Nov. 29, 1997, a run that extended from late in the second quarter well into the third. The streak finally ended on a free throw by Latrell Sprewell -- playing his last game with the Warriors, just two days before being suspended for his attack on Golden State coach P.J. Carlesimo.

" Kobe Bryant, on the first anniversary of his 81-point game against Toronto, was limited to 42 points but was still the high scorer in the Lakers' 108-103 win over the Warriors. It was the 74th time that he has reached the 40-point plateau in a regular-season NBA game.

But it was Luke Walton who tied the game and then put the Lakers ahead to stay with a pair of baskets 33 seconds apart with less than two minutes left in the game. It was the first time this season that Walton had given the Lakers a lead in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or an overtime period.

" Deron Williams had 21 points and 15 assists in the Jazz's 106-91 victory over the Timberwolves in Salt Lake City. Earlier this season, he had a 27-and-15 game at Milwaukee.

Prior to this season, no Utah player had turned in a 20-and-15 (points-and-assists) game since John Stockton had the 75th and last one of his career back on March 23, 1997. And no Jazz player other than Stockton had enjoyed such a game since Rickey Green back in 1985.


" Sidney Crosby (19 years, 170 days old as of Wednesday) will be the youngest player to play in an NHL All-Star Game since Wendel Clark (19 years, 102 days old) in 1986.

" There are 20 players slated to appear in their first NHL All-Star Game this year. That's the most first-time All-Stars since there were also 20 in 1982.