Another amazing night for Westbrook
Russell Westbrook scored 57 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out 11 assists in the Thunder’s overtime win over the Magic. The 57 points were the most ever scored by a player in a triple-double surpassing the previous record of 53, which was set Wilt Chamberlain on March 18, 1968 and matched by James Harden, only 88 days ago. There have been four 50-point triple- doubles in 1119 games this season, two by Westbrook and two by Harden. Prior to this season, there were only six 50-point triple-doubles in over 56,000 regular-season NBA games (1946-47 through 2015-16).
Westbrook scored half of the Thunder’s points (57 of 114) and had more than half of their assists (11 of 18) on Wednesday night. It’s only the third time in the shot clock era that an NBA player scored at least half of his team’s points and had at least half of his team’s assists in the same game. Oscar Robertson did it for the Royals on December 18, 1964 and Stephen Curry did it for the Warriors on February 27, 2013.
Largest comeback win for Thunder
The Thunder overcame a 21-point deficit in their win over the Magic on Wednesday night. That was the largest comeback victory for this team since it moved to Oklahoma City from Seattle in 2008-09. The previous largest comeback win was 20 points at Phoenix, which occurred exactly four years prior to this one. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 33 points in that comeback.
Impressive back-to-back wins for the Warriors
Stephen Curry scored 29 points in the Warriors’ win over the Spurs on Wednesday night. It was the second impressive road win for the Warriors, who beat the Rockets in Houston on Tuesday night. Golden State is only the second team in NBA history to win road games on consecutive days in which both of its opponents had a winning percentage of .675 or better at least 50 games into a season: The Spurs did it on March 8-9, 2001, in road games against the Trail Blazers (42-19, .689) and Lakers (41-19, .683).
‘Melo and Knicks eliminated
Potential Basketball Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks were officially eliminated from the NBA playoffs after their loss to the Heat on Wednesday night, the fourth consecutive season in which they failed to qualify for the postseason. The last player who is currently in the Basketball Hall of Fame to go four straight seasons without playing for a team that reached the postseason was Mitch Richmond. Richmond’s teams failed to qualify for the postseason in five straight seasons from 1996–97 to 2000–01. Richmond played for the Kings for the first two of those seasons, and the Wizards for the last three.
Pelicans have a two-headed monster
Anthony Davis scored 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the Pelicans’ win over the Mavericks. Davis has scored at least 30 points and grabbed at least 13 rebounds in each of his last four games, the longest such streak for any NBA player since Shaquille O’Neal had a four-game streak in April 2000.
DeMarcus Cousins added 29 points and 16 rebounds for New Orleans. Davis and Cousins became only the second pair of teammates over the last 30 years to each record at least 29 points and 13 rebounds in the same non-overtime game. Hakeem Olajuwon (34 points, 13 rebounds) and Robert Horry (30, 14) did it for the Rockets against the Kings on April 14, 1994.
Howard seeing 20/20
Dwight Howard scored 22 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in the Hawks’ win over the 76ers in Philadelphia, his third 20/20 game of the season. He also had one at Indiana on November 23 (23 points, 21 rebounds) and at Houston on February 2 (24 points, 23 rebounds). Howard is the first Hawks player with three 20/20 games in one season since Kevin Willis in 1993-94 (three). The Hawks only had three games in which a player had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game over the previous 15 seasons combined, all by Al Horford.
Brogdon ties Bucks rookie record
Milwaukee rookie Malcolm Brogdon scored 16 points and handed out nine assists in the Bucks’ win over the Celtics. This comes one day after he scored 14 points and handed out ten assists in a win over the Hornets. Brogdon is the fourth Bucks rookie to score at least 14 points and dish out at least nine assists in back-to-back games. The others to do it, all with two-game streaks, were Bob Dandridge (1970), Quinn Buckner (1977) and Ramon Sessions (2008).
Thomas joins Hondo and Bird
Isaiah Thomas scored 32 points in the Celtics’ loss to the Bucks. Thomas has scored at least 25 points in each of his last six games and in 50 games this season. Only two players in Celtics history scored 25 or points in a game 50 times in one season. John Havlicek did it twice (65 games in 1970-71, 57 in 1971-72) and Larry Bird did it thrice (57 in 1987-88 and 50 in both 1984-85 and 1986-87).
Hornets’ fourth quarter magic
Marvin Williams, Kemba Walker and Marco Belinelli each scored 11 points in the fourth quarter aiding the Hornets’ comeback win over the Raptors. It’s the first time in almost exactly nine years (March 28, 2008) that three Hornets players scored 10 or more points in any quarter of a game. Jason Richardson (13 first-quarter points), Emeka Okafor (11) and Raymond Felton (10) did it in the first quarter in a win in Seattle that night. Only one other trio of teammates each scored 10 or more points in a fourth quarter this season. New York’s Carmelo Anthony (11), Derrick Rose (11) and Kristaps Porzingis (10) did it against the Pacers on December 20.
Another 50-point season for Kane
Patrick Kane reached the 50-assist mark for the second consecutive season and the fourth time in his 10 seasons in the NHL when he notched the second of his two assists in the Blackhawks’ 5-1 win over the Penguins. Kane, a Buffalo native, has produced twice as many 50-assist seasons as all other active U.S.-born NHL players combined, with Ryan Kesler (2009–10 for Vancouver) and Blake Wheeler (2015–16 for Winnipeg) have each done so once. Kane is the first U.S.-born player to rack up at least 50 assists in each of two consecutive NHL seasons since Scott Gomez did that for the Devils in 2003–04 and 2005–06 (with the 2004–05 season cancelled after a lockout).
Iginla is back in the saddle again
Jarome Iginla, who played his first 16 seasons in the NHL with the Flames, scored a go-ahead goal for the Kings in the final minute of the second period in their game at Calgary. It was Iginla’s 269th regular-season goal at the Saddledome but first since the Flames traded him to Pittsburgh in March 2013. Iginla’s goal total at the Saddledome is the third-highest at one arena by an active NHL player, behind Alex Ovechkin at Washington’s Verizon Center (282 goals) and Patrick Marleau at San Jose’s SAP Center (270).
Besides scoring a goal, Iginla picked up a fighting major for a first-period scrap with the Flames’ Deryk Engelland. He completed his “Gordie Howe hat trick” by assisting on a third-period goal by Jeff Carter. At age 39 years, 271 days, Iginla is the oldest NHL player to produce a “Gordie Howe hat trick” since a 40-year-old Steve Thomas did so for the Red Wings at St. Louis on Dec. 4, 2003.
A mismatch on paper
The Capitals, who entered play with a league-high total of 108 points this season, posted a 5-3 win over the Avalanche, the team with the worst record in the NHL, by far (43 points). The 65-point difference between the teams going into the game was the largest point discrepancy for any NHL game since April 2, 1996, when the Red Wings played the Sharks in San Jose, with Detroit 78 points ahead of San Jose (121–43). But in that game the heavy underdog prevailed, with the Sharks beating the Red Wings by a 6–3 score.