Elias Says: Dec. 20

Newton matches Marino

Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes for the Panthers on Monday Night. Newton has played five times on Monday Night Football and has thrown multiple touchdowns passes in each of those games. The only other player to throw at least two touchdowns passes in each of his first five or more appearances on MNF was Dan Marino, who did that in each of his first five games.

Panthers warm up when the weather gets cold

With their win on Monday night, the Panthers are 21-6 in regular-season games played in December and January since 2011, Cam Newton’s first year with the team. That matches Seattle (21-6) and New England (21-6) for the best such records in the NFL over that span.

Three-pointers were a layup this week

NFL kickers went a combined 69-for-73 on field goal attempts this week (94.5%), just missing the record for the highest field goal percentage in one week in NFL history. That record (42-for-44, 95.5%) was set in week 5 of the 2011 season. Of the four misses this week, three were from 50 or more yards (two by Dan Bailey and one by Chandler Catanzaro) and one was a 38-yarder on Monday night by Graham Gano.

Timberwolves’ youth shines

Karl-Anthony Towns (28 points), Andrew Wiggins (26 points) and Zach LaVine (23 points) all scored at least 20 points in the Timberwolves’ win over the Suns on Monday night. It’s the seventh time that these three players, all under 22 years old, have scored at least 20 points in the same game. The only other time in NBA history that three teammates, all under the age of 22, scored 20 or more points in the same game was when James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant did it for the Thunder on November 20, 2009.

Schroder and Millsap top Westbrook

What does it take to beat Russell Westbrook? How about Dennis Schroder (31 points, 10 –for-16 from the field) and Paul Millsap (30 points, 12-for-18 from the field). The Hawks had only one other game over the last 24 seasons in which they had two players score at least 30 points and make at least 60 percent of their shots from the field. On December 16, 2005, Joe Johnson (36 points, 14-for-18) and Al Harrington (35 points, 13-for-19) turned the trick for the Hawks in a win over the Knicks.

Westbrook shines in loss

Russell Westbrook had another big game in Oklahoma City’s loss to the Hawks: 46 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Westbrook accumulated 72 points, 22 rebounds and 29 assists over his last two games. The only other players in NBA history with that many points, rebounds and assists over a two-game span were Oscar Robertson (1961), Wilt Chamberlain (1968) and Pete Maravich (1975).

George puts spell on Wizards

Paul George scored 27 points in the Pacers’ two-point win over the Wizards on Monday night. George has scored 126 points in four games against Washington since the start of last season, an average of 31.5 points per game. That’s the highest scoring average for any player against Washington among those who have played at least four games against them over that span. George scored 40, 21, 38 and 27 points in those four games.

Bulls win big after losing big

The Bulls, who lost to the Bucks by 26 points in their previous game, beat the Pistons by 31 points on Monday night. It’s the fourth time in Bulls history that they followed a loss by 25 or more points with a win by 25 or more points. They had a pair of back-to-back games like that in March 1971, February 1998 and December 2005.

Nuggets spread the ball around

All five starters for the Nuggets scored at least 14 points and handed out at least four assists in their win over the Mavericks. It’s the first game in the Nuggets’ NBA history that they had a game in which all five starters recorded numbers like that. The last time any NBA team had a game in which all five starters scored at least 14 points and handed out at least four assists was the Hawks on December 3, 2008. The five starters for the Hawks in that game were Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford, Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby.

Rinne wins in Philly

Pekka Rinne allowed only one goal on the Flyers’ 32 shots on target against him in 65 minutes of regular hockey action and none on the three shots against him during the shootout which earned him and the Predators a 2–1 win at Philadelphia. This was the 93rd road victory for Rinne in an NHL career spent entirely with Nashville, but it was his first road win against the Flyers. That leaves the Rangers (0–2–0), Penguins (0-2-0) and Bruins (0–0–1) as the only NHL teams that Rinne has never beaten on the road (with the exception of the Predators, of course).

Fowler provides power

Cam Fowler’s tiebreaking power play goal with just under seven minutes remaining in the third period was the game-winning goal for the Ducks in their 3–2 victory at Toronto. It was Fowler’s fifth power play goal this season, which ties him with the Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk for second-most among NHL defensemen, behind the Canadiens’ Shea Weber with seven. Fowler has scored more power play goals in the 33 games he’s played this season than he did over the two previous seasons combined (four in 149 games).

Cam Talbot plays as well as Cam Newton

Edmonton’s Cam Talbot made 25 saves in his 3–2 overtime win at St. Louis on Monday. Talbot is 4–0–3 in his last seven road games, dating back to November 19. That matches the longest single-season point streaks by an Oilers goaltender over the last 15 years. The other Edmonton netminders who gained at least one point in each of seven consecutive road decisions since 2001–02 were Mike Morrison (2005–06), Mathieu Garon (2007–08) and Devan Dubnyk (2011–12).