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 53 points in the Lakers' overtime loss to the Rockets and finished the month of March with a scoring average of 40.4 points per game. Bryant is the only player in the last 40 years to average 40 points per game for an entire month (minimum: 5 games) -- and he has done it four times: 40.6 in February 2003, 43.4 in January 2006, and 41.6 in April 2006.
For those of you who need to know, the NBA record for highest scoring average in a calendar month (minimum: 5 games) belongs to, who else, Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt averaged 53.2 points per game in March 1962 (266 points in 5 games).
Kobe has scored 50 or more points 19 times in his career, third-most in NBA history, behind Wilt (118) and Michael (31).
• The Rockets beat the Clippers at Staples Center Wednesday night and beat the Lakers at the same venue Friday night. Since that building opened in 1999, only two other visiting teams played consecutive games there against the Clippers and Lakers and won them both: the Grizzlies (Dec. 19-20, 2004) and Spurs (March 28-30, 2006).
• Dallas (13-2 in March), San Antonio (13-2) and Houston (12-4) all ended the month of March with a win Friday night. It's only the third time in NBA history that three teams from the same division won 12-or-more games in a calendar month. The two other instances: the Pacific Division in March 1990 (Lakers, Suns and Blazers) and the Pacific Division in March 1992 (Clippers, Suns and Blazers).
• Dirk Nowitzki reached the 15,000 point plateau Friday night. Nowitzki is the eighth player born outside the 50 United States to score 15,000 points in the NBA, but he's the first such player that did not attend a U.S. college to reach that level. The seven other foreign-born players with 15,000 career points and the college they attended: Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston), Dominique Wilkins (Georgia), Patrick Ewing (Georgetown), Rolando Blackman (Kansas State), Tim Duncan (Wake Forest), Kiki Vandeweghe (UCLA) and Detlef Schrempf (Washington).
• The Pacers finished the month of March with a record of 2-14 (.125), the worst calendar month for the Pacers since March 1985 (1-16, .059).
• The 76ers (28-43 entering Friday's game) played the Celtics (22-49) Friday night. It was the first time in 10 years that these two rivals played each other while both teams were 15-or-more games under .500. On April 18, 1997, the 22-58 Sixers lost to the 14-66 Celtics.
• Morris Peterson's 3-pointer at the fourth-quarter buzzer to tie the game for Toronto at Washington was his only field-goal attempt of the game. The last NBA player whose only field goal attempt either won or tied the game with less than one second left in either the fourth quarter or overtime was Milt Palacio. Palacio hit a 3-pointer with less than one second left to win a game for Boston at New Jersey on Dec. 28, 2000.
• One streak continues while one comes to an end. San Antonio has now won 16 straight home games against the Jazz. Sacramento had won 17 straight home games against the Clippers until that streak ended with a Los Angeles win Friday night.
• The Sabres scored five first-period goals in their win over the Islanders. It matched the most goals the Islanders have ever allowed in the first period of a game. They allowed five first-period goals on only two prior occasions, but they came exactly 22 years apart: Oct. 26, 1980, at Buffalo (a 5-2 loss) and Oct. 26, 2002, vs. Philadelphia (a 6-2 loss).
• Buffalo's five first-period goals came in the first 14:57 of the period. It was the fourth time in Sabres history that they scored five goals in the first 15 minutes of a game. They also did it on Oct. 26, 1980, vs. the Islanders (five goals in 9:19), March 15, 1997, at Philadelphia (14:35) and Dec. 26, 2006 vs. Washington (9:50).
• Martin Brodeur ended a career-high-tying five-game home winless streak (0-4-1) with a 3-1 win over the Flyers in New Jersey. The only other time that Brodeur went winless in five consecutive decisions at the Meadowlands in one season was in January/February 1999 (also 0-4-1).
• Simon Gagne scored the only goal in the Flyers' loss in New Jersey. It was Gagne's 14th goal (in 34 career games) against Martin Brodeur, his most against any NHL goaltender.
• Ray Emery and the Ottawa Senators beat the Canadiens 5-2 on Friday night. Emery finished with a 5-2-0 record in seven games against Montreal this season. Over the last 40 years only one other goaltender posted as many as five wins against the Canadiens in one season: Boston's Pete Peeters, who was 5-2-0 against them in 1983-84.
• Dallas beat Detroit in a shootout despite trailing 3-0 with less than 10 minutes left in the third period. Some items of interest related to the Stars' comeback win:
1) Dallas has now won the last two road games in which it trailed by three goals with less than 10 minutes left in the third period. (The Stars also won in such a manner via a shootout at Phoenix last Saturday.) Prior to that win, they had lost their last 53 such games.
2) The Red Wings had won the last 19 games in which they led by three or more goals with less than 10 minutes to go in the third period. Their last such loss came March 25, 2006, against Columbus. That loss also came in a shootout.
3) The Stars have now scored three or more goals in the third period in each of their last three games. That's the longest such streak for Dallas since April 1995.
• Florida's Martin Gelinas scored two goals, including the overtime winner, in the Panthers' 3-2 victory in Washington on Friday night. Gelinas has three two-goal games this season -- all against the Capitals. Gelinas has six goals in his last four games versus Washington (all since Jan. 20), after scoring only five goals in 49 career games against the Capitals before that.
• Vincent Lecavalier became the first NHL player to reach the 50-goal plateau this season when he scored the last goal for the Lightning in their 4-2 win at Carolina. Lecavalier is the first Tampa Bay player ever to score 50 goals in one season. Now only four current NHL franchises have never had a player register 50 or more goals in a single season: Columbus, Minnesota, Nashville and New Jersey (including the franchise's years in Kansas City and Colorado)
• Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis each scored a goal in Tampa Bay's win over Carolina. Tampa Bay has won 14 straight games in which both Lecavalier and St. Louis scored a goal.
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