It’s the calm before the madness. We’re about to launch tourney week, but Monday’s news cycle had something to say. The first quarterback domino has fallen in the NFL offseason, and the NBA and NHL feature record-breaking scoring sprees.
The 40-Point Pace
NBA Players Shattering Scoring Records With More 40-Point Games in 2022-23 Season
Scoring has reached a new dimension. The 2022-23 NBA season has been a playground for high-scoring performances with players dropping 40-point games almost nightly. A dozen-or-so 50-point games and even two 71-point games have stolen the show. And with three more 40-pieces last night, the league now boasts 160 40-point games this season. That’s already 18 more than the all-time record that was broken in late February (142: 1961-62). The league is on pace for 200 40-pointers by the end of the regular season.
What Happened Last Night?
Three more 40-balls occurred in the Eastern Conference with Donovan Mitchell (40 points) leading the Cavs past the Celtics in overtime (118-114). The 76ers also beat the Pacers in a shootout (147-143) where Joel Embiid (42 points) and Tyrese Haliburton (40 points) both caught fire. Damian Lillard also had a 31-13-12 triple-double, but he leads the way with 14 40-point games in 2022-23.
Most 40-Point Games This Season
Damian Lillard (POR): 14
Luka Doncic (DAL): 12
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL): 11
Joel Embiid (PHI): 11
Jayson Tatum (BOS): 10
Donovan Mitchell (CLE): 8
Players With 5 40-Point Games: LeBron James (LAL), Nikola Jokic (DEN), Zach LaVine (CHI), Devin Booker (PHX), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)
Defense be gone. No one — not even Lillard — will come close to the individual record for the most 40-point games in a season (Wilt Chamberlain, 63). Michael Jordan (37), Kobe Bryant (27), and plenty of others had better individual scoring years, but the league-wide scoring binge is reaching new heights.
The Year of Connor
Oilers’ Connor McDavid Scores 2 Goals, Sets Career-High With 124 Points
When the NHL season comes to a close next month, the team records will belong to the Boston Bruins. The individual honors? Those will belong to Connor McDavid. The Year of Connor reached a new milestone on Monday when McDavid scored two goals to lift the Oilers over the Sabres (3-2) and snatch a new season-long career-high with 124 points, and he has 17 games to play. The 26-year-old superstar has risen to the top of the NHL in Year 8 with a historic clip of offensive firepower. McDavid has scored 12 goals in the last eight games. He leads the league in goals (54), assists (70), and total points (124), and it’s not even close.
2023 NHL Points Leaders
Connor McDavid (EDM): 124 points
Leon Draisaitl (EDM): 96 points
Nikita Kucherov (TBL): 88 points
David Pastrnak (BOS): 84 points
Tage Thompson (BUF): 83 points
McDavid’s 2023 In Perspective
For those unfamiliar with the hockey record books, only nine players have recorded 140 points or more in a single NHL season. Phil Esposito (2), Mario Lemieux (5), and Wayne Gretzky (11) did it multiple times, and Gretzky went over 200 points four different times. He holds the all-time record with 215 points in 1985-86. But no player has gone over 140 points in a season since the 90s. McDavid is on pace for 156 points by the season’s end.
Other NHL Highlights
QB Dominos: Carr Signs With Saints
QB Derek Carr Finalizes 4-Year, $150 Million Deal With Saints as First QB Domino Falls
The first domino falls… Former Raiders QB Derek Carr finalized a four-year, $150 million deal with the New Orleans Saints on Monday. The contract features $100 million in total guarantees. The four-time pro bowler has always showcased a talented arm and strong leadership skills, but he failed to win a playoff game in nine years with the Raiders. Now, a new franchise with offensive weapons and a stout defense could bring Carr redemption in the second half of his career. He ranks eighth in both yards and touchdowns among active NFL quarterbacks.
Derek Carr’s Career Stats
Passing Yards: 4,958
Completion Percentage: 64.6%
What Does It Mean for Other QBs?
While Carr’s arrival in New Orleans could signal a changing of the guard in the NFC South — with Tom Brady out in Tampa Bay after the Bucs made the playoffs with a losing record — the bigger news is the implications of Carr’s deal on the 2023 QB market. The remaining quarterbacks potentially on the move include Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers), Lamar Jackson (Ravens), and, of course, Aaron Rodgers (Packers). Quarterback-needy teams include the Texans, Colts, Jets, Falcons, Panthers, and Raiders.
The Carr domino has fallen. But we’re still waiting on Rodgers.
UCLA Makes Big Move in Men’s Final Pre-Bracket Poll; Virginia Tech Vaults Up Women’s Standings
Got your dancing shoes ready? The women’s conference tournaments may have solidified the AP Poll with only the Big 12 tournament yet to play after UConn beat Villanova in the Big East finale last night. But the men’s poll is still fluid. Losses and near-misses at the top saw UCLA and Alabama switch spots in this week’s top-five. The Bruins haven’t lost since January, and they look poised to make a deep Pac-12 tourney run and lock up a 1-seed alongside Houston. The other power conference leaders in men’s hoops — Kansas (Big 12), Alabama (SEC), Purdue (Big Ten) and Marquette (Big East) — are teetering between the 1- and 2-lines this week as conference tourneys begin tonight. Here’s where they stand in the final AP Polls before Selection Sunday.
Men’s AP Top-10
1. Houston (29-2) | —
2. UCLA (27-4) | ↑2
3. Kansas (25-6) | —
4. Alabama (26-5) | ↓2
5. Purdue (26-5) | —
6. Marquette (25-6) | —
7. Texas (23-8) | ↑2
8. Arizona (25-6) | —
9. Gonzaga (26-5) | ↑1
10. Baylor (22-9) | ↓3
Women’s AP Top-10
1. South Carolina (32-0) | —
2. Iowa (26-6) | ↑5
3. Indiana (27-3) | ↓1
4. Virginia Tech (27-4) | ↑4
5. Stanford (28-5) | ↑1
6. Maryland (25-6) | ↓1
7. UConn (28-5) | ↑2
8. Utah (25-4) | ↓5
9. LSU (28-2) | ↓5
10. Villanova (28-5) | ↑1
Big East Final: #7 UConn def. #10 Villanova (67-56)
The Huskies won their 19th Big East Championship behind 19 points and 15 boards from Aaliyah Edwards.
Partner: Fan of UCLA? Then Homefield is the premier place to go if you’re looking to represent your school. With vintage-inspired designs that properly tell the unique story of each university, you won’t be able to find college gear like this anywhere else. Find unique, premium shirts, hoodies, and more from not only (School A and B), but over 150 schools for you and your family today. Shop Homefield Now
The Bears are likely to trade the No. 1 pick, but why are they being so patient? GM Ryan Poles says he sees seven players in the draft worth taking first. He explains all the factors that would go into trading that pick and why it’s a slow process. (Sports Illustrated)
Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis ended three points shy of Pete Maravich’s NCAA scoring record in last week’s Horizon League quarterfinal. The Titans (14-19) could get an invite to the College Basketball Invitational, but breaking the record now would seem artificial. (USA Today)
The vibe around the World Baseball Classic feels different this time. There’s anticipation. There’s excitement. There’s intrigue. The unique baseball event is set to take over the next two weeks. Here’s what you need to know. (Sporting News)