Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Kobe Bryant scored 50 points in the Lakers' 109-102 victory over the Timberwolves on Sunday night. Combined with his 65 points on Friday night, Bryant's two-game total of 115 matches the third highest in the last 40 NBA seasons -- topped only by Kobe's own 118 points over two games last season and Michael Jordan's 118 in 1990. Wilt Chamberlain did it many times, the last of which was 115 points over two games in December 1967 -- just within that 40-year window.
• The Rockets became only the third team in NBA history to win a road game by as many as 50 points with a 124-74 win at Philadelphia on Sunday. The largest margin of victory by a visiting team was 56 points by the Sonics in a 136-80 victory against the Rockets in 1986. The other 50-point road win was the Pistons' 118-66 rout at Boston in 2003.
• Dwight Howard shot 6-for-6 from the field in the Magic's 97-83 win at Miami. It was the first time in Shaquille O'Neal's 959 regular-season starts that the opposing starting center made more than three field goals without missing any.
• Richard Hamilton missed five of six free throws during an eight-minute span of the fourth quarter in the Pistons' 92-88 loss to the Mavericks. It was the first time in his eight seasons in the NBA that Hamilton missed five FTAs in one quarter (and only the third time that he missed as many as five in one game). Detroit led by four points when Hamilton's shooting eye betrayed him.
• Renaldo Balkman shot 7-for-7 from the field, scoring 15 points with 12 rebounds in the Knicks' 92-74 win over the Raptors. Balkman was the first rookie to record a double-double without missing a field-goal attempt since Nenad Krstic did it for the Nets two years ago. The last rookie to do so shooting 7-for-7 or better was Jarron Collins for the Jazz in 2002 (9-for-9, 22 points, 10 rebounds).
• Alexander Semin scored a natural hat trick -- three consecutive goals in the same game -- in the Capitals' 7-1 victory over the Lightning, three days after his teammate Chris Clark recorded one in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Bruins. It was only the fifth time in NHL history that teammates recorded natural hat tricks within three days of each other. Others to do so included Russ Courtnall and Trevor Linden of the Canucks (1996), Peter McNab and Barry Pederson of the Bruins (1982), and Wayne Gretzky and Glenn Anderson of the Oilers (1981). But no one can top Frank Nighbor and Cy Denneny of the Ottawa Senators, who scored natural hat tricks in the same game on March 6, 1918.
• Alexander Ovechkin failed to record a point in either Sunday's big win or in Friday's 5-1 victory over the Maple Leafs. Over the last two seasons, Ovechkin played only two other games in which he didn't score a goal or an assist but the Caps scored at least five goals.
• Keith Tkachuk scored in overtime to give the Thrashers a 4-3 win over the Sabres on Sunday. Tkachuk failed to score in his first three games after joining Atlanta in February, but his total of six goals since March 6 ties Mike Modano and Vincent Lecavalier for the NHL lead during that time.
• Joe Sakic recorded four assists on Sunday night, and every one was needed in the Avalanche's 4-3 overtime victory against the Sharks. Over the last three seasons, the only other player with four assists in a 4-3 win was Alexei Yashin for the Islanders against the Hurricanes (Oct. 21, 2006).
• The Penguins defeated the Senators 4-3 in a shootout on Sunday night. It was Marc-Andre Fleury's eighth victory in his last nine shootouts, during which time he has allowed only three goals on 25 shootout attempts.
• Bring back George Mason! The overriding story of the first two rounds of the 2007 NCAA Tournament has been its dearth of upsets, with seventh-seeded UNLV being the lowest-seeded team to advance to the Sweet 16. There was only one other tournament since the seeding system began in 1979 in which no team seeded eighth or lower reached the Round of 16. That was in 1995 when the lowest-seeded teams to advance to that stage were a trio of No. 6s: Georgetown, Memphis, and Tulsa, none of which moved on to the Elite Eight.
• Kevin Durant scored 30 points in Texas' 86-67 loss to Southern California. Durant's two-game total of 57 points is the highest by any freshman in his first two games in NCAA Tournament history. Jarvis Hayes of Georgia, a sophomore at the time, was the last player to score at least 57 points in his first two tournament games (2002).
• Kansas shot 57 percent from the field in its 88-76 win over Kentucky. That was the highest shooting percentage against the Wildcats in an NCAA Tournament game since Duke shot 65 percent in the celebrated 1992 quarterfinal, including Christian Laettner's legendary game-winner. Laettner shot 10-for-10 from the field for the Blue Devils in that game (and 10-for-10 from the foul line).
• Southern Illinois allowed only three 3-point field goals in its wins over Holy Cross (1-for-11) and Virginia Tech (2-for-13). The Salukis are the first team to allow only three treys in its first two tournament games since Wisconsin-Green Bay did so in 1994.
Only three other teams advanced to the Sweet 16 by allowing three 3-pointers over the first two rounds -- one in each of the first three years after the 3-point field goal was instituted in NCAA competition: UNLV in 1989, Arizona in 1988, and Notre Dame in 1987.
• Following a 121-86 open-round win over Long Beach State, Tennessee defeated Virginia 77-74 to reach the Sweet 16 with a two-game total of 198 points. That's the highest two-game total by any team since 1997, when UCLA advanced with a total of 205 points in wins over Charleston Southern (109-75) and Xavier (96-83).
• Virginia made 31 free throws in its loss to Tennessee. Over the last 50 NCAA Tournaments, dating back to 1958, the only other team to lose a game in which it scored more than 30 points from the foul line was Iowa State in a 106-98 loss to Kentucky in 1992 (34 FTs).
• Tiger Woods shot an eight-over 43 on the back nine to fade to a 22nd-place finish in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. That tied the worst front or back nine that Woods has compiled on the PGA Tour, a mark set in 1996 in Tiger's eighth Tour event as a pro.