Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Mark Calcavecchia shot a first-round 75 at the PODS Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla., on Thursday, and stood tied for 112th place after that opening round. But after shooting a 67 on Friday and a 62 on Saturday, Calcavecchia found himself tied with Heath Slocum for the lead going into Sunday's final round.
Calcavecchia is the first player in the past 50 years on the PGA Tour to go into an event's final round as a leader or co-leader after having stood as low as 112th following the opening round. Two other players had entered the final round as a leader or co-leader after having stood between 100th and 111th after the first round: Lanny Wadkins stood 110th following the first round at the 1987 Doral-Ryder Open and Mark McCumber ranked 106th at the 1994 Bell Canadian Open. (Wadkins went on to win the tournament in 1987, while McCumber finished tied for fourth.)
• Calcavecchia's 62 in the third round of PODS Championship matched the second-lowest round of his PGA Tour career. He shot a 62 in the fourth round of the Phoenix Open in 1996, then carded a 60 in the second round of the Phoenix Open in 2001.
Calcavecchia, 46, is only the second 40-or-older player to shoot a 62 or better in a round on the PGA Tour this season. Fifty-year-old Fred Funk shot a 62 in the first round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic, where he went on to win.
• Steve Francis bounced back from a key fourth-quarter technical foul and from missing a potential game-tying free-throw attempt with 7.1 seconds to play to hit one of the rarest of NBA shots: a deficit-overcoming, game-winning, walk-off 3-point field goal as the Knicks won 90-89 over the Wizards. (Oh, yes ... did we mention that Francis did all this in front of his grandmother, sitting courtside, at his old University of Maryland stompin' grounds?)
Francis was the first NBA player this season to hit a game-winning, walk-off 3-pointer that turned a deficit into a victory. Three players hit such shots last season (Milwaukee's Mo Williams, Sacramento's Bonzi Wells and Cleveland's Damon Jones).
• The Spurs extended their winning streak to 12 games with a 93-77 win over the Nets. Combined with the Mavericks' current 16-game streak, this marks only the second time in NBA history that two teams in the same division had concurrent winning streaks of 12 or more games.
On Nov. 13, 1973, the Bucks and the Bulls -- members of the Midwest Division -- each woke up with 12-game winning streaks. Milwaukee extended its streak with a home win over Portland, but Chicago's streak ended at 12 with a loss at Phoenix.
• LeBron James may force us to create yet another statistical category: the fourth-quarter takeover. James scored 16 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers overcame Milwaukee's 81-69 lead to take a 94-92 decision.
It was the third time in James's four seasons as a pro that he has scored 16 or more points in the fourth quarter of a game in which his team overcame a fourth-quarter double-digit deficit to win. Dwyane Wade, who also has done that three times, is the only other NBA player who has had at least three such games over the last four seasons.
• The 76ers' 100-96 win at Indianapolis extended a couple of streaks: Philadelphia, which had a record of 18-38 through Feb. 24, has now won seven in a row (its longest streak since 2003), while the Pacers have dropped eight straight (for the first time since 1989).
In the NBA's 61-year history, Philadelphia's is only the second winning streak of seven or more games fashioned by a team that stood at least 20 games below .500 at the start of the streak. The other came late in the 2004-05 season, when the Warriors, 23-45 at the time, won their next eight games.
• The Grizzlies beat the Bobcats 115-107, their seventh straight win against the NBA's youngest franchise. That's one win shy of the Grizzlies' longest winning streak against any franchise; they took eight straight games from the Raptors until Toronto ended the streak on Wednesday.
Pau Gasol had a marvelous game, with 31 points and 15 rebounds while shooting 13-of-20 from the floor. Gasol became just the second player in the Grizzlies' 12-year history to have a 30-and-15 game while shooting 65 percent from the floor; Bryant Reeves -- Big Country himself -- went for 33 points and 18 rebounds while shooting 14-of-21 in a 102-92 Vancouver victory at Boston on Feb. 2, 1997.
• The Timberwolves held a 64-51 third-quarter lead at Atlanta, but the Hawks roared back to take a 99-93 decision. It was the fifth time this season that the Hawks had won a game after overcoming a second-half deficit of 12 or more points; only one other NBA team has won as many games of that type (Utah has won six).
• The March of the Penguins continued with their 3-2 overtime win over the Rangers on Saturday. Pittsburgh is now 4-1-1 in six games this month, with all four wins coming either in overtime or in a shootout.
That's good, but not historic. Now this is historic: in three of those four wins, including Saturday's, Pittsburgh started the third period trailing by at least two goals. The Penguins are the first team in NHL history to win, in the first 10 days of a month, three games in which they faced start-of-the-third-period deficits of at least two goals. And if they do it again in the last three weeks of March, they would become the first NHL team to win four such games in a month.
• Sidney Crosby scored 102 points as a rookie last season and he reached the 100-point plateau this season when he scored the tying goal in the third period for the Penguins against the Rangers on Saturday afternoon. Crosby is the fifth player to score at least 100 points in each of his first two (or more) NHL seasons (and, yes, he was the youngest of the five to get a second 100-pointer).
Just think: only 11 more 100-point seasons and Crosby will tie Wayne Gretzky's NHL record of producing 13 straight 100-point seasons from the start of his career. Peter Stastny and Mario Lemieux each began the NHL careers with six straight 100-point seasons, and Mike Rogers had a three-year streak.
• Do you think that the Bruins have seen enough of Martin Biron? Biron, now with the Flyers, made 26 saves in a 4-1 win over Boston on Saturday, and has now won his last seven games against the Bruins dating to March 2006, including five this season.
The first five victories in Biron's winning streak against the Bruins came while he was with the Sabres and the last two since the Feb. 27 trade that sent him to the Flyers. Biron's five wins versus Boston this season are the most that any NHL goaltender has posted in one season against the B's since 1996-97, when Buffalo's Dominik Hasek was 5-0-0 against them.
• Rick DiPietro won 30 games for the Islanders last season and his 5-2 triumph over the Capitals on Saturday night was his 30th win this season. The only other goaltenders to win 30 (or more) games in one season for the Islanders were Billy Smith (32 in 1981-82) and Chris Osgood (32 in 2001-02). (Of course, with the elimination of tie games, DiPietro has been aided by eight shootout wins last season and five so far this season.)
• Jeff Hamilton scored three goals in the Blackhawks' 7-5 win at Phoenix; it was Hamilton's second hat trick of the season; he scored three goals at Nashville on Dec. 2. Hamilton is the first Chicago player with two hat tricks in one season since Eric Daze had a pair in 2002-03, and he's the first Blackhawks player with multiple road hat tricks in one season since Bernie Nicholls had three in the lockout-shortened 1994-95 campaign.
Meanwhile, Blackhawks rookie defenseman David Koci had his own flavor of hat trick: three fighting majors. (For good measure, Koci also had a roughing minor, a charging major and a pair of game misconducts.) Koci was the first NHL player this season to rack up three fighting majors in a game; the only player to do it last season was Nashville's Jeremy Stevenson (Oct. 25, 2005 vs. Chicago).