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Elias Says ...

2/1/2007 - NBA NHL

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

NBA
Ray Allen scored 36 points in the Sonics' loss at Houston and finished January with a league-high 30.4 points per game scoring average for the month, besting Dwyane Wade (30.3). Allen Iverson topped the charts with his 31.7 ppg average during November and Gilbert Arenas (34.1) was the NBA's scoring leader for December.

It's not unusual for a different player to lead the NBA in scoring average in each of the first three months of a season. In fact, it happened in both 2003-04 (Iverson, Peja Stojakovic and Tracy McGrady) and 2004-05 (Kobe Bryant, Iverson and Jermaine O'Neal).

But since 1975-76, there's been only one other season like this one in which the NBA had a different scoring leader in November, December and January, each with an average of at least 30 points per game. That was in 1983-84, when it happened in each of the first four full months of the season: Adrian Dantley in November (30.2 ppg for the Jazz), Mark Aguirre in December (32.3 for the Mavericks), George Gervin in January (30.6 for the Spurs) and Bernard King in February (32.9 for the Knicks).

Dirk Nowitzki made all 10 of his free throws, including eight in the fourth quarter, in the Mavericks' 95-94 win at Memphis. It marked only the second time in the past four seasons (since 2003-04) that a player went 8-for-8 (or better) from the free-throw line during the fourth quarter of a regulation one-point victory. Carmelo Anthony sank all 10 of his final-period free throws in Denver's 94-93 win against the Hornets on Feb. 27, 2005.

Chris Bosh made 15 straight field-goal attempts (after misfiring on his first four shots of the game) as the Raptors knocked off the Wizards 119-109. Over the past 10 seasons, the only other player to convert 15 straight field-goal attempts in a game was Jamal Crawford, five days earlier (16 in a row last Friday).

• The Wizards were without injured Antawn Jamison for the first time this season. Jamison, Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler have combined for the most minutes and the most points this season for any trio of NBA teammates.

• The Hawks defeated the Warriors to finish January with an 8-7 record. It was the first month in which the Hawks posted a winning record since they went 4-3 in April 2004. Atlanta's win snapped their streak of 14 months without a record above the .500 mark.

With a victory over the Nuggets on Wednesday, the Trail Blazers posted a 7-9 mark for January. Coupled with the Hawks' win, Portland's current streak of 14 months without a winning record (since December 2004) is now the longest for any NBA team.

Mehmet Okur led the Jazz with 31 points and 11 rebounds in a 97-93 triumph over the Spurs. Okur became only the second center to post at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in a game starting opposite Tim Duncan. Okur joined Shaquille O'Neal, who's done that five times.

• The Magic have won 18 games this season in which they scored fewer than 100 points, including Wednesday's 98-73 decision over Milwaukee. That's the most such wins for any NBA team, two more than the runners-up, the Rockets and Mavericks (16 each).

Gerald Wallace set a Bobcats record with 42 points in Charlotte's 104-87 win over the Knicks. Wallace has the three highest single-game point totals in franchise history; he had games of 41 and 40 points during the 2006 calendar year. The next-highest mark for the Bobcats is 35 points by Kareem Rush in November 2005. All three of Wallace's 40-point games, as well as the game by Rush, were at home. No player has ever scored more than 31 points for the Bobcats in a road game.

• The Celtics' losing streak was extended to a franchise-record-tying 13 games with a 111-98 defeat at the hands of the Lakers. Considering their long history, it's surprising that the Celtics have never lost as many 14 straight games. But what's truly amazing is that the Lakers, whose history dates to the 1948-49 season in Minneapolis, have never had a losing streak of longer than 10 games.

• The Hornets lost to the Sixers despite Chris Paul's return from a 17-game absence. It took Paul a while to shake off the rust; he wasn't credited with his first assist of the game until the final minute of the second quarter. Paul has played only one game during his NBA career in which he failed to register as assist during the first half (Dec. 23, 2006 against the Spurs).

• The Pistons made 33 of 38 free-throw attempts, including each of their first 27, in a 113-89 win at New Jersey. Detroit's 27 consecutive free throws was the longest streak to begin a game for any NBA team this season.

NHL
Mats Sundin and Jaromir Jagr both debuted in the NHL in 1990-91, both players scored at least 20 goals in each of their previous 15 NHL seasons, and both players entered Wednesday's Maple Leafs-Rangers game in New York with 19 goals this season.

Sundin scored his 20th goal of the 2006-07 season, breaking a 1-1 deadlock in the third period to earn Toronto a 2-1 win over the Rangers. (Jagr did not score a goal, though he assisted on the Rangers' lone tally.) Sundin becomes only the second player to score at least 20 goals in each of his first 16 (or more) seasons in the NHL, joining Marcel Dionne, who did it in each of his first 17 seasons (1971-72 through 1987-88). Besides Jagr, only Mike Gartner started his NHL career with a 15-year streak (1979-80 through 1993-94).