Antetokounmpo wins it at the horn
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s two-point jumper as time expired gave the Bucks a 105–104 victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. During Antetokounmpo’s NBA career he had missed his only two previous potential game-winning field-goal attempts that came in the final second of either the fourth quarter or overtime (one last season and one this season).
Batum and Walker provide a winning formula
Nicolas Batum scored 28 points and Kemba Walker added 20 for the Hornets, offsetting a 33-point/15-rebound performance from Russell Westbrook, in Charlotte’s 123–112 victory over the Thunder. It was the sixth game this season in which both Batum and Walker scored at least 20 points and the Hornets are undefeated in those games. Last season, Charlotte went 4–3 in games in which both of those players scored 20 or more points.
High-scoring game for Curry, Durant and McCollum
The Warriors defeated the Trail Blazers, 125–117, with Stephen Curry scoring 35 points and Kevin Durant adding 30 for Golden State while C.J. McCollum produced 35 points for Portland. It was the second NBA game this season in which two players each scored at least 35 points while another scored at least 30. The other such game was Cleveland’s 137–125 regulation win over Portland on November 23, when Kevin Love and Damian Lillard each scored 40 points and LeBron James scored 31.
McCollum scored 26 of his 35 points on Wednesday during the first half, after he scored 28 second-half points in his previous game, when he generated a career-high 43 points at Minnesota on New Year’s Day.
Bulls use three-pointers to beat the champs
The Bulls made a season-high 13 three-point field goals in their victory over the Cavaliers (their previous high was 11), with Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott each making three shots from beyond the arc. It was the first game in which four Chicago players each made three or more three-point field goals since Kyle Korver, Luol Deng, Derrick Rose and C.J. Watson did it in a victory at Milwaukee on February 4, 2012.
LeBron’s 31 points were not enough
LeBron James scored 31 points in the Cavaliers’ loss to the Bulls. Cleveland had won each of the nine previous games this season in which James scored at least 28 points. James increased his career scoring average against the Bulls to 28.34 points per game, surpassing Allen Iverson’s career average of 28.30 points per game versus Chicago for the highest in NBA history.
Rivers leads Clippers
Austin Rivers scored a game-high 28 points and distributed a team-high seven assists in the Clippers’ come-from-behind triumph over the Grizzlies. It was the first game of Rivers’s five-year NBA career in which he led his team, either outright or tied, in both points and assists.
Johnson comes to life versus the Kings
Tyler Johnson scored a game-high 23 points off the bench for Miami in its 107–102 triumph at Sacramento. Johnson, who has a career scoring average of 9.6 points-per-game in the NBA, has averaged 22.0 points per game in his four meetings with the Kings. He has not averaged as many as 16 points per game against any other team.
Kent Bazemore scored 17 points while going 3-for-3 from three-point range to help the Hawks register a victory at Orlando. Atlanta outscored the Magic by 24 points in the 27 minutes that Bazemore was on the court. That matched the highest plus-minus figure for Bazemore in any game during his five seasons in the NBA. Bazemore generated a plus-24 mark one other time (March 12, 2016 versus Memphis).
Two multiple-goal scorers for the Rangers
Kevin Hayes and Michael Grabner each scored two goals for the Rangers in their 5–2 win over the Flyers in Philadelphia. This was the third time in their five games since the NHL’s Christmas break that the Rangers had a pair of multiple-goal scorers in one game (Nick Holden and Derek Stepan on Dec. 27 vs. Ottawa, Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller on Dec. 31 at Colorado). That’s as many instances of multiple multi-goal scorers for the Rangers as they had over the last three seasons combined heading into the 2016 holiday break (two in 2014–15, and November 15 this season when Hayes and Miller each scored twice in a 7–2 win at Vancouver).
Another overtime goal for Pacioretty
Max Pacioretty scored in overtime to earn the Canadiens a win at Dallas on Wednesday, after doing the same to beat the Predators in Nashville on Tuesday. He is the first player to score an overtime goal for the Canadiens in each of two consecutive regular-season games since the NHL introduced the five-minute extra period in 1983. Pacioretty is the first player on any NHL club to score in OT in each of two straight regular-season games for his team since the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews did so on Oct. 24 and 26, 2015, and he is the first to do it on consecutive days since the Ducks’ Corey Perry on March 19–20, 2011.
Laine goes where no other rookie has gone for the Jets
Patrik Laine tallied a goal and an assist in the Jets’ 4–1 win against the Panthers in Florida on Wednesday, after producing one goal and two assists in Winnipeg’s 6–4 victory over the Lightning in Tampa on Tuesday. Laine is the first rookie in Thrashers/Jets history to record at least one goal and one assist in each of two consecutive team games on one road trip. The only other rookie in the NHL to do that in two straight games on a road trip this season, Toronto’s Auston Matthews, also pulled it off in back-to-back games against the Panthers and Lightning (Dec. 28 at Florida, Dec. 29 at Tampa Bay).