Elias Says: January 20, 2018

Clarkson sparks on Lakers to victory…

The Lakers finally notched their first win without Lonzo Ball in the lineup thanks to a huge night from one of their reserves. Jordan Clarkson stuffed the scoresheet for Los Angeles, coming off the bench to lead the team with 33 points and seven assists while also contributing seven rebounds. Only two other NBA players in the last 25 seasons compiled at least 30 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists off the bench in a game, and both did so for L.A.-based teams. On Feb. 16, 1996, Magic Johnson totaled 30 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists off the bench for the Lakers in a win over the Mavericks. Jamal Crawford also met all of those plateaus in an overtime win for the Clippers at Sacramento on Nov. 29, 2013, producing 31 points, seven rebounds, and 11 assists off the bench.

…despite a foul night from the free-throw line

The Lakers prevailed over the Pacers despite a historically bad performance from the free-throw line. And that’s saying something for a franchise that employed bricklayers such as Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard, and Wilt Chamberlain, among others. Los Angeles finished 2-for-14 from the charity stripe for a percentage of 14.3 percent, the lowest in NBA history by any team with at least 10 free-throw attempts in a game. The previous record low in that category was set just under a year ago by the Pistons, who converted just three of 17 foul shots (17.6 percent) on March 1, 2017 at New Orleans.

Raptors’ dynamic duo takes care of half the battle

Kyle Lowry scored a game-high 24 points and DeMar DeRozan chipped in 21 to help the Raptors defeat the Spurs, 86–83. Including Friday’s victory, Lowry and DeRozan have combined for at least half of Toronto’s points in 48 games, including 20 such contests since the start of last season. No other Raptors duo has achieved that feat in as many as 30 games; next on the list after Lowry and DeRozan are Vince Carter and Antonio Davis, who totaled 50 percent or more of Toronto’s points in 28 games.

Aldridge ice cold in Canada

LaMarcus Aldridge capped a rough shooting night in Toronto with a goose egg (0-for-7 from the field) in the fourth quarter. The only other time in his 12 NBA seasons that Aldridge attempted at least seven shots from the floor in a quarter without making one was on Feb. 6, 2017; he also went 0-for-7 in the fourth quarter on that night in a road loss to the Grizzlies.

Aldridge made just six of 25 field-goal attempts for the game to finish with a season-low in field-goal percentage (24 percent). Aldridge became the second Spurs player in the last 25 seasons to attempt at least 25 shots from the floor in a game and finish with a field-goal percentage under 25 percent. And the other game of that kind for San Antonio also occurred north of the border. On Feb. 7, 2002, Tim Duncan finished 6-for-29 from the field – good for 21 percent – in an overtime loss at Toronto.

Suns finally finding success on Booker’s big nights

Devin Booker notched his 15th 30-point game of the season, helping the Suns hold off the Nuggets and snap their three-game losing skid. Phoenix has an 8–7 record in Booker’s 30-point games this season, a seemingly modest mark that is actually a considerable improvement over the previous two seasons. Booker had scored 30 or more points in a NBA game 20 times entering 2017–18, but the Suns won just five of those contests.

So that leaves Booker with a 13–22 career record (.371) in his 30-point games including Friday’s win. Only one player in NBA history that had at least 30 games with 30 or more points had a lower won-lost percentage in his 30-point games than Booker. Otis Thorpe finished his NBA career with a record of 11–21 (.344) in his 30-point games. On the other end of that spectrum is Byron Scott, with the Lakers posting an impressive 30–1 record (.968) in his 31 career 30-point games.

Wall extends double-double streak versus Pistons

John Wall distributed 11 assists to go along with his 15 points to lead the Wizards to victory over the Pistons. Wall has reached double-digits in both points and assists in each of his last five games against Detroit dating back to March 2016. The only other active player to produce at least 10 points and 10 assists in five or more consecutive matchups with the Pistons is Chris Paul, who compiled a five-game streak of that kind from March 2008 to January 2010. Oscar Robertson owns the longest such streak against Detroit, having recorded 10 or more points and 10 or more assists in nine consecutive games versus the Pistons spanning 1966 and 1967.

Big night for Brooks in Memphis

Dillon Brooks notched the first 20-point game of his NBA career on Friday, helping the Grizzlies defeat the Kings. Brooks, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Monday, finished with a game-high 22 points, making him the youngest player to score 20 or more points in a game for Memphis over the last eight seasons. O.J. Mayo was the last Grizzlies player with such a game at age 21 or younger, doing so on Nov. 2, 2009. And talk about a mirror image: like Brooks on Friday, Mayo was three days shy of his 22nd birthday on that date, he finished the game with 22 points, and he achieved that feat against – you guessed it – the Kings!

Carroll leads the way for a Nets win

DeMarre Carroll tied a career-high by producing 26 points in the Nets’ comeback victory over the Heat. Friday’s game marked the third time this season that Carroll finished a game as the outright leader in points for either team; he also did so in road wins on November 26 at Memphis (24 points) and November 29 at Dallas (22 points). Carroll had achieved that feat only three times total in eight NBA seasons prior to the 2017–18 campaign.

Pacioretty on point for Canadiens

Max Pacioretty had a hand in all of the Canadiens’ goals in their 3–2 win at Washington, scoring two and assisting on one. It was Pacioretty’s first multiple-goal game this season and the 40th multi-goal game of his NHL career. Pacioretty notched his first multiple-goal game in January 2011. He’s tied with Sidney Crosby for the fourth-most multi-goal games over the last eight seasons by an NHL player, behind Alex Ovechkin (58), Steven Stamkos (49) and Corey Perry (42).

Panthers finish seesaw battle with OT-winner

Aaron Ekblad’s second career overtime goal earned the Florida Panthers a 4–3 win against the Golden Knights. Three times before in Friday’s game, the Panthers took a one-goal lead, on goals by Jamie McGinn, Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov, only to have Vegas tie the score each time. This was the sixth time in franchise history that the Panthers scored four go-ahead goals in one game, with the most recent previous instance coming in their 6–5 overtime win at San Jose on February 15 last season.