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Source:
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      • From: sports@xxxxxxxx (Sports Fan)
      • Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 17:07:42 −0600

Kobe Bryant scored 39 points to raise his league−leading scoring average to 35.0 points per game. Over the
past 40 seasons (since 1965−66), only two players reached the All−Star break with a scoring average as high
as Kobe's. Rick Barry was averaging 37.4 points per game for the San Francisco Warriors at the break in
1966−67 (he finished the season at 35.6 PPG). In 1986−87, Michael Jordan averaged 37.0 points per game
before the All−Star Game (37.1 for the season).


Bryant, Allen Iverson (33.5 PPG) and LeBron James (31.2) are the league's top scorers this season. It's been
40 years since three NBA players each averaged at least 30 points per game at the time of the All−Star break.
The last trio to do it was Wilt Chamberlain (34.2 PPG at the break), Jerry West (33.2) and Oscar Robertson
(31.3) in 1965−66.



The Spurs stumbled to the All−Star break with an overtime loss in Philadelphia, following Monday's defeat in
Cleveland that snapped San Antonio's nine−game winning streak. Just for the record, only two teams in the
last 25 years have won the championship after heading into the All−Star break with consecutive losses. The
Bulls lost their last two before the break in 1992, and the Pistons lost five straight prior to the All−Star Game
in 2004.




The Pistons defeated the Nets 85−71 on Tuesday night −− their final game before the All−Star break −− with
the same starting lineup that they used in their 50 previous games this season: Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince,
Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups, and Richard Hamilton. Only two other teams since the NBA−ABA
merger in 1976 used the same starting lineup in every game up to the All−Star break: * 1985−1986 Rockets
−− Hakeem Olajuwon, Rodney McCray, Ralph Sampson, Lewis Lloyd, and John Lucas.

* 2002−2003 Warriors −− Erick Dampier, Antawn Jamison, Troy Murphy, Gilbert Arenas, and Jason
Richardson.



The Pistons reached the All−Star break with a record of 42−9 (.824), giving them the highest "first−half"
winning percentage in the NBA since 1997, when the Bulls posted a 42−6 mark prior to the All−Star Game
(.875).



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Monday's Jazz−Lakers game was the 42nd meeting between Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan as head coaches.
The only coach whom Jackson has faced more often in the regular season is Lenny Wilkens (50 games). Sloan
has faced four coaches more than Jackson in the regular season: Don Nelson (71 games), Rick Adelman (59),
Rudy Tomjanovich (52) and Larry Brown (48). Sloan's Jazz are 16−26 in the regular season against Jackson's
teams.

Jackson and Sloan also faced each other 30 times as players, with Sloan holding a 16−14 advantage in those
games. Did You Know: Two other pairs of coaches met at least 30 times as players, 30 times as coaches, and
also as coaches in the NBA Finals: Larry Costello and Tom Heinsohn (1974 Finals) and Costello and Gene
Shue (1971 Finals).



The Pistons on Thursday became the seventh team in NBA history with four players named to the All−Star
Game in one season. Detroit's status as a superteam without a superstar is underlined by the fact that only one
other team, the 1967−68 Warriors, placed four players on an All−Star team but no starter ("s" indicates
All−Star Game starters):

1962 Celtics Bob Cousy (s), Tom Heinsohn (s), Sam Jones, Bill Russell
1962 Lakers Elgin Baylor (s), Jerry West (s), Rudy LaRusso, Frank Selvy
1968 Warriors Jim King, Rudy LaRusso, Clyde Lee, Nate Thurmond
1975 Celtics John Havlicek (s), Dave Cowens, Paul Silas, Jo Jo White
1983 76ers Maurice Cheeks (s), Julius Erving (s), Moses Malone (s), Andrew Toney
1998 Lakers Kobe Bryant (s), Shaquille O'Neal (s), Eddie Jones, Nick Van Exel
2006 Pistons Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace, and Rasheed Wallace



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