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Elias Says ...

7/9/2008 - NHL

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

NCAA Tournament

Clif Brown, in his first career NCAA Tournament game, scored 32 points to lead Niagara to a win over Florida A&M on Tuesday night. Here's an Elias quiz to get the tournament rolling: Who are the only two current NBA players who scored 32 or more points in their first NCAA Tournament game? Hint: One did it for Alabama and the other for Bradley. Answer below.


The only other Niagara player to score at least 30 points in an NCAA Tournament game was Calvin Murphy, who scored 35 in consecutive games in 1970, the first year that the Purple Eagles ever qualified for the Big Dance.


NBA

Ben Wallace was 9-for-21 from the field and scored 19 points in the Bulls' victory over the Celtics. It was the first time in his NBA career that Wallace had at least 20 field-goal attempts in a game. He has started 646 NBA games. That leaves four active players who have started at least 500 games and never put up at least 20 shots from the field in an NBA game: P.J. Brown (974 starts),
Dale Davis (862), Erick Dampier (543) and Bruce Bowen (535).

Allen Iverson had 31 points, 10 assists and five steals in Denver's win over Portland. It was the third 30/10/5 (points/assists/steals) game in the NBA this season; Dwyane Wade did it on Jan. 13, and Iverson did it for the 76ers on Dec. 2. Iverson is the first player in NBA history to have a game of that type for two different teams in one season.


• With LeBron James sidelined by back spasms, Cleveland beat Sacramento 124-100, matching the Cavaliers' highest point total in any game this season. They beat Golden State 124-100 on Jan. 30, and LeBron missed that game, too! The last time Cleveland scored more than 124 points in a non-overtime game was on Dec. 11, 1999 -- a 127-116 win over Atlanta.


Larry Hughes and Sasha Pavlovic each scored 25 points. In the last 20 years, there was only one other non-overtime game in which the Cavs had two starting guards each score 25 or more points. That was on Feb. 13, 2002 at Milwaukee, when Wesley Person scored 33 points and Andre Miller had 27.

Josh Smith had 26 points, 17 rebounds and five assists in Atlanta's win over Philadelphia. Only two other players reached all three of those statistical levels in one game this season:
Josh Howard (28, 17 and 5 against Denver on Dec. 31) and
Kevin Garnett (27, 17 and 7 in an overtime game against San Antonio on Jan. 3).


• Utah led Miami by 14 points at the end of the third quarter, but the Heat rallied to win 88-86. It's the second time this season that the Jazz lost a game after owning a lead of 14 or more points in the fourth quarter. (The other loss was to Sacramento on Dec. 15.) In the seven seasons before this one, Utah lost only one game in which it led by at least 14 points in the fourth quarter (Jan. 17, 2004 vs. Cleveland).


Jason Williams led the Heat with 15 points. It was only the second time in the last nine seasons that Miami won a game in which none of its players scored more than 15 points.

Jamaal Tinsley scored 37 points in the Pacers' 86-81 loss to Minnesota. The last NBA player to score at least 37 points in a game in which his team scored no more than 81 was Kobe Bryant on Nov. 3, 2004, when he had 38 of the Lakers' 78 points against Utah.


Michael Jordan announced on Tuesday that Bernie Bickerstaff, the Bobcats' only head coach in their three seasons in the NBA, will not return in that role next season. That's not such a quick hook relative to other recent expansion teams. Among the seven other franchises that have entered the NBA since 1980, only two kept their original head coach for more than three seasons: Dallas (Dick Motta, seven seasons) and Orlando (Matt Goukas, four).


• Quiz answer: The only two active NBA players who scored at least 32 points in their first career game in the NCAA Tournament are Anthony Parker (34 for Bradley in 1996) and Mo Williams (33 for Alabama in 2002).


NHL

Mike Modano scored his 500th regular-season NHL goal in the Stars' win over the Flyers on Tuesday night. Modano is the 39th player in league history to reach that plateau and the fifth to do so this season; the others were Mats Sundin, Teemu Selanne, Peter Bondra and Mark Recchi. It's the first time that as many as five players scored their 500th career goal in the same season. The previous high was four in 1995-96, and it was a very distinguished quartet:
Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman and Dale Hawerchuk.

Bill Guerin scored on a penalty shot with 12 seconds remaining in the third period, giving himself a hat trick in San Jose's 7-1 win over Chicago. The last NHL player to secure a hat trick on a penalty shot goal was Paul Kariya, for Anaheim, on Jan. 21, 1998 (against Florida).


Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists in the Penguins' shootout win over the Sabres. Crosby had not had more than one point in any of his previous nine games, after recording two or more points in 31 of his first 56 games this season. It was Crosby's second-longest multiple-point-game drought in his two seasons in the NHL. He went 11 games without one last season.


• The Rangers took a 2-0 first-period lead against Ottawa but the Senators rallied for a 3-2 win at Madison Square Garden. It was the ninth time that the Rangers failed to win a game in which they scored the first two goals this season -- a league high in 2006-07 -- and the sixth time they lost such a game in regulation time (also the NHL high). No other NHL team has failed to win more than five times in games in which they had a 2-0 lead this season and no other club has more than three regulation losses in such games.


• The Islanders had a 3-2 lead in the third period in Montreal but the Canadiens got goals from Guillaume Latendresse, Chris Higgins and Tomas Plekanec to earn a 5-3 victory. It was the first time this season that the Islanders failed to earn a point from a game in which they led in the third period; the Isles were 31-0-5 in such games before Tuesday's loss. That leaves only three teams without a regulation loss in a game in which they held a third-period lead this season: Edmonton (29-0-2), Philadelphia (17-0-7) and Washington (19-0-5).


• Rookie Andrei Kostitsyn assisted on all three Montreal goals in the third period in the Canadiens' win over the Islanders. (Kostitsyn had only three assists in his 10 previous NHL games this season.) It was the third time that a rookie had three assists in the third period of a game this season. The other rookies to do that were Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin (Jan. 20 vs. Toronto) and Philadelphia's Alexandre Picard (Feb. 1 vs. New Jersey). Kostitsyn was the first Canadiens rookie to perform that feat since
Mathieu Schneider in March 1990, also against the Islanders.

Scott Walker scored the game-winning goal for the Hurricanes in their 3-1 victory over the Panthers on Tuesday night. The goal was Walker's 20th of the season and it gave Carolina a league-high six different players with 20 or more goals. The other 20-goal men for the Hurricanes are Rod Brind'Amour, Erik Cole, Eric Staal,
Ray Whitney and Justin Williams.


Chris Osgood made 29 saves for the Red Wings in their 5-2 win in Nashville. Osgood is 14-5-3 in 22 career games against the Predators. His 14 wins versus Nashville are the most that any goaltender has posted against the Predators.