Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Spurs extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 100-93 victory at Sacramento. But San Antonio has gained only one game on the Mavericks in the Southwest Division race during its winning streak because Dallas has gone 9-0 during that time, stretching its own streak to 16 wins in a row.
This is only the fourth time in NBA history that two teams in the same division -- or the same conference prior to the divisional era -- had concurrent winning streaks longer than 10 games each. The others were the Lakers (19) and Trail Blazers (11) in February 2000; the 76ers (14) and Nets (11) in January 1983; and the Bucks (13) and Bulls (12) in November 1973.
• One night after suffering a 103-70 loss at Miami, the Bulls defeated the Magic 100-76. It was the first time in franchise history that Chicago won a road game on the day after a defeat by 30 or more points (1-10). The leaguewide winning percentage in such games is as bad as the Bulls' record suggests. Over the last 10 seasons, visiting teams are 6-40 on the day after a loss by at least 30 points.
• Dwight Howard made six of 11 field-goal attempts in the Magic's loss. It was the 18th consecutive game in which Howard made at least half of his FGAs, the longest streak since Eddie Robinson of the Hornets did so in 18 straight games in 2001. The only active players to compile a streak that long are Shaquille O'Neal (three times), Alonzo Mourning (1997), and Bo Outlaw (1997).
• The Wild defeated the Bruins 2-1 on Thursday night, improving their all-time record at Boston to 4-0-0. Minnesota is only the second NHL team -- and the first in 81 years -- to win each of its first four games at Boston. The other was the original Ottawa Senators franchise, which won its first five games at Boston Arena (1924-26).
• Mike Fisher scored a pair of first-period power-play goals to lead the Senators to a 5-1 victory over the Maple Leafs. Prior to Thursday night, Fisher had never scored two goals in the first period of the same game or two power-play goals in the same period.
• The Rangers defeated the Islanders 2-1, posting their third consecutive victory despite allowing the first goal in all three games -- the last two vs. the Islanders. It's only the second time in the last 40 years that the Rangers swept a home-and-home series in which their opponent scored first in both games. The Blueshirts did so against the Devils in November 2005.
• Even when he's bad, he's good. Martin Brodeur surrendered two third-period leads but earned a victory in the Devils' 4-3 shootout win at Pittsburgh. It was the third time over the last two seasons that Brodeur allowed two game-tying goals in the third period, but the Devils won all three games (two in shootouts).
• Evgeni Malkin became the first rookie to reach the 30-goal mark this season when he opened the scoring in the Penguins' loss. Malkin's teammate Sidney Crosby scored 39 goals as a rookie last season. Pittsburgh is the first NHL team with a rookie 30-goal scorer in consecutive seasons since the Flyers and Bruins did it in 1992-93 and 1993-94. The respective rookies were Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg for the Flyers, and Joe Juneau and Bryan Smolinski for the Bruins.
• Ed Belfour made 26 saves to lead the Panthers to a 2-1 win at Philadelphia. Belfour has won all three games he's played against the Flyers this season, allowing a total of four goals, compared to a total of seven wins against Philadelphia in his previous 16 seasons in the NHL (7-10-8).
• The Thrashers took a 6-0 lead at the 8:43 mark of the second period and cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Canadiens. It was the third time in the past 14 months that the Canadiens fell behind 6-0 that early in a game, compared to only four times in 89 seasons prior to that (1917-2004).
• It must be tough for Wayne Gretzky to watch games like the Coyotes' 4-2 loss to the Canucks, in which visiting Vancouver took an early 3-0 lead (at 12:33 of the first period). Gretzky played only three home games in his entire NHL career in which his team trailed 3-0 before the 13-minute mark of the first period -- once each for the Oilers (1979), Kings (1991), and Rangers (1999).
• Billy Butler hit a three-run homer in his only at-bat in the Royals' 11-3 win over the Mariners. Butler, who raised his batting average to .667, has at least one hit in all seven games he has played this spring. Over the last seven years, only one other player without previous major-league experience started his exhibition season with a hitting streak of seven games or longer: Reggie Abercrombie of the Marlins in 2006 (9).
• Jason Smith of the Blue Jays became the first player to go 4-for-4 or better during the 2007 exhibition season. Among Smith's four hits was his second home run in as many days.
• Top-seeded Georgetown won its opening game of the Big East tournament, defeating Villanova 62-57. The Hoyas have been seeded first in the Big East tournament three times previously, and they won the tournament in all three of those years (1984, 1987 and 1989). Georgetown now has a 10-0 record as the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
• North Carolina State defeated Duke 85-80 in overtime, eliminating the Blue Devils in the first round of the ACC tournament. Duke is only the second defending ACC champion in the last 13 years to lose its opening game of the tournament. Maryland won the conference title in 2004 but lost its 2005 opener to Clemson.
The Wolfpack are 8-1 in overtime games in the ACC tournament.
• Clemson (No. 8 seed) lost to Florida State (No. 9) 67-66. Clemson has now lost five consecutive ACC tournament games in which it was the higher seed, the longest such streak in tournament history.
• NC State and Florida State weren't the only surprise winners in Thursday's ACC action. In fact, the lower-seeded team won all four ACC games. There was only one other day in the 54-year history of the ACC tournament on which even three lower-seeded team were victorious (March 12, 1993).
• Michigan defeated Minnesota 49-40 in the lowest-scoring game in the history of the Big 10 tournament, which dates to 1998. The previous low was Wisconsin's 51-41 victory over Northwestern in the opening round in 2000.
• Kentucky defeated Alabama 79-67, raising its record to 11-2 against the Crimson Tide in SEC tournament play. The only other team with a winning record against Alabama in the tournament is Vanderbilt (4-3).