The Big O rallies the Broncos
Brock Osweiler came off the bench to score one touchdown and pass for two others as the Broncos overcame a 10–0 deficit for a 25–13 win at Indianapolis. Jacoby Brissett gave the Colts an early 7–0 lead with a 7-yard TD run, but Osweiler matched Brissett with an 18-yard TD run to put Denver on the board late in the first half. There was only one other game in the last five NFL seasons in which opposing quarterbacks scored the first two TDs. Tyrod Taylor and Russell Wilson did it last season.
Osweiler, who entered the game after Trevor Siemian suffered a left shoulder injury, was the first substitute QB in Broncos history with two touchdown passes and a TD run in a game. The last QB to do that for any team was Ryan Fitzpatrick for Tennessee in 2013.
Colts’ second-half blues continue
The Colts, who held a 10–7 lead at halftime, suffered their seventh loss this season after leading at the intermission. That’s the third-highest single-season total in NFL history. The record is eight, set by San Francisco in Bill Walsh’s first season as head coach (1979) and matched by Denver in 1990.
Love supports LeBron’s triple-double
LeBron James recorded the 59th triple-double of his career, tying Larry Bird for sixth in NBA history, in the Cavaliers’ 121–112 win over the Lakers. It was the 12th of James’ TDs in which he reached 12 in all three categories—a “triple-dozen,” so to speak.
But James, who scored 25 points, had serious help on Thursday night, as Kevin Love was the game’s high-scorer (28) and also grabbed 11 rebounds. That type of game has been more typical of Boogie and the Brow in New Orleans. Since DeMarcus Cousins joined the Pelicans last winter, he and Anthony Davis have each had at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in the same game nine times. The only other teammates to do so during that time were James and Love, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook, and Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid (once each).
A new look for Drummond
Andre Drummond provided the usual in the Pistons’ 105–91 win at Atlanta, scoring 12 points and increasing his league-leading rebound average to 15.3 per game. But Drummond was also credited with eight assists, which is not only his career high but provided something Detroit has perennially lacked. It had been nearly five years since a Pistons center had at least eight assists in a game, and over the last 10 seasons that happened only twice. Greg Monroe had games of 11 and 8 assists during the 2012–13 season. Some other data points: Although Bob Lanier had 27 games of eight or more assists for Detroit, Bill Laimbeer had only five and Ben Wallace just one.
A new paradigm for the NBA’s star players?
We’re all growing a little tired of notes on players with this many somethings, and that many something-elses, and none of those but five of these, etc. But we spotted something in Karl-Anthony Towns’ performance on Thursday night that uses that style to make a different kind of point.
Towns scored 30 points, blocked five shots, and was credited with five assists in the Timberwolves’ 119–96 win over the Kings. For one thing, those are three very different skills. For another, we are seeing a sudden increase of such games, which had been rare in recent seasons. Towns was the fourth player with at least five assists and five blocks while scoring 30 or more points in a game this season. The others were Joel Embiid, who did it twice, Kevin Durant, and Marc Gasol. Only Giannis Antetokounmpo had such a game last season; and over the three seasons prior to that, the only player with a 30/5/5 performance—that is, points, blocks, and assists—in a 48-minute game was Durant.
Lee takes charge for Knicks
Courtney Lee led all players with 27 points in the Knicks’ 111–104 victory at Brooklyn. It was the second time in nine days that Lee outscored all other players in a game, having also done so with 24 points against Memphis last week. Prior to those games, Lee was the outright leading scorer only once in a span of 423 games dating back to 2012.
Flyers reverse their form
The Flyers extended their winning streak to five games with a 2–1 victory against the Sabres. The Flyers’ current winning streak comes right after they went winless in 10 consecutive games. Philadelphia is the first NHL team to win five straight games immediately after 10 games without a win since the 2005–06 Sharks won six games in a row (Dec. 2–16) right after a 10-game stretch without a win.
A record-breaking shutout by Nashville rookie
Rookie Juuse Saros set a record for saves by a Predators goaltender in a shutout by turning aside 46 shots on goal in his 4–0 win at Edmonton. Saros broke the old Nashville mark of 43 saves by Dan Ellis in a 2–0 victory at Columbus on March 28, 2008. Saros’ save total was the highest by an NHL rookie in a shutout since the Flyers’ Darren Jensen made 48 saves in a 1–0 win at St. Louis on Jan. 25, 1986.
Bailey’s first hat trick
Josh Bailey recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career when he scored three goals for the Islanders in their loss to the Blue Jackets. Bailey, who has spent all 10 of his seasons in the NHL with the Islanders, entered Thursday’s game in Columbus with 111 goals, the second most in team history among players who never produced a hat trick for the Isles, behind Duane Sutter (121 goals).
Werenski reaches a milestone
Zach Werenski became the first NHL defenseman to reach double-figures in goals this season when he scored the first goal in the Blue Jackets’ win over the Islanders. Werenski scored 11 goals for Columbus last season, his first in the NHL. Only four other active defenseman scored at least 10 goals in each of their first two seasons in the NHL: Dion Phaneuf, Tyler Myers, Aaron Ekblad, and John Klingberg. The 20-year-old Werenski is only the third defenseman in the last 30 years to score 10 goals or more in each of two different seasons before his 21st birthday. The others are Scott Niedermayer (1992–93 and 1993–94) and Ekblad (2014–15 and 2015–16).
Local boy does well for Wild
Alex Stalock recorded the fifth shutout of his NHL career and his first for the Wild with a 2–0 win against the Maple Leafs at Xcel Energy Center. Stalock, a St. Paul native whose four previous NHL shutouts were all for San Jose, is the first Minnesota-born goaltender to record a shutout for the Wild. Two Minnesota-born netminders produced shutouts for the state’s previous NHL team, the North Stars: Pete LoPresti (5) and Jon Casey (12).
Mac nets both goals in Avs’ 2–1 win
Nathan MacKinnon scored both goals for the Avalanche in its 2–1 win against the Panthers. This was the second time in the last six seasons that a Colorado player recorded a multiple-goal game in an Avs victory in which he scored every one of the team’s goals. The other instance was on Dec. 17, 2015, when defenseman Francois Beauchemin tallied twice in a 2–1 win against the Islanders.
Plekanec finally … and in OT, no less!
Tomas Plekanec ended his 17-game goal drought when he scored in overtime to earn the Canadiens a 2–1 win over the Devils. It was Plekanec’s third regular-season overtime goal and his first since Feb. 10, 2010, when he scored in OT against the Capitals. Plekanec is the first player to go more than seven years between overtime goals for the Canadiens since Andrei Markov set a franchise record with OT goals 10 years and 2 months apart, in November 2002 at Pittsburgh and January 2013 versus New Jersey.
Kane whacks the Jets
Patrick Kane scored one goal and assisted on another in the Blackhawks’ 5–1 victory at Winnipeg. Kane has tallied 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in the 20 games he has played versus the Jets since the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnpeg in 2011. The only players who have racked up more points against the Jets over the last seven seasons than Kane are Tyler Seguin (31), Alex Ovechkin (25), and James Neal (25).
Chiasson scores two late goals
Alex Chiasson scored two goals, both in the third period, to help lead the Capitals to a 5–3 win at Boston. This was the fourth two-goal game of Chiasson’s NHL career and his first since October 2013, when he was a rookie playing for Dallas. Chiasson is the third player to produce a multiple-goal third period for the Capitals this season. Alex Ovechkin notched a third-period hat trick in Washington’s season opener at Ottawa on October 5, and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice in the third period at Edmonton on October 28.
Roy the rookie scores two for Ducks
Kevin Roy scored a pair of goals in the Ducks 3–1 win at St. Louis. Roy is the first rookie to record a multiple-goal game for the Ducks since Jan. 11, 2015, when Rickard Rakell tallied twice in a shootout victory over the Jets. Roy is the first Ducks freshman to register a two-goal game on the road since William Karlsson scored two goals at Buffalo on Oct. 13, 2014.