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Elias Says: April 21, 2017

“Elias Says” for April 21, 2017

Information researched by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.

Topsy-turvy halves unprecedented in NBA postseason

The Cavaliers faced a 74–49 halftime deficit, but outscored the Pacers in the second half, 70–40, to earn a 119–114 victory and a three-games-to-none lead in their series. The 25-point half-time deficit was the largest ever overcome by the winning team in an NBA playoff game.

It was also the first game in NBA postseason history in which a team was outscored by at least 25 points in one half and scored at least 25 more points than its opponent in the other half.

James ties Baylor, Jordan and Robertson

LeBron James scored 41 points, marking an NBA-record-tying eighth time that he scored 40 points in a road playoff win. Elgin Baylor and Michael Jordan also did that eight times in their careers.

James added 13 rebounds and 12 assists, the second time that he has produced a 40-point triple-double in a playoff game, tying an NBA record. (LeBron’s other game of that type came in a loss to the Warriors in Game Five of the 2015 Finals.) The only other player who had multiple 40-point triple-doubles in the NBA playoffs was Oscar Robertson, who did it twice in the same year, against the Syracuse Nationals and the Celtics in 1963.

DeRozan 0-for-8 from field

DeMar DeRozan missed all eight of his field-goal attempts in the Raptors’ loss at Milwaukee. That is the worst ever “0-for” from the field in an NBA playoff game by a player who averaged at least 25 points per game during that regular season.

Grizzlies threesome too much for Spurs

Mike Conley (24 points), Marc Gasol (21) and Zach Randolph (21) led the Grizzlies to a victory over the Spurs. No trio of teammates each scored 20 points in a win against San Antonio during the 2016-17 regular season and the last threesome to do that in the playoffs had been Miami’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in Game Four of the 2013 NBA Finals.

Rust scores twice in series clincher

Bryan Rust scored two goals for the Penguins as they posted a series-clinching 5–2 win against the Blue Jackets. It was Rust’s first two-goal game of the 2017 playoffs and the third two-goal game of his two-year postseason career. Rust produced a pair of two-goal games in the playoffs as a rookie during Pittsburgh’s run to the Stanley Cup last year and each of those multi-goal performances was also in a series-clinching win by the Penguins: versus the Rangers in the first round and the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final. Rust made his Stanley Cup debut only 12 months ago yet his total of three multiple-goal games in series clinching wins by his team ties him for the lead among active players with Marian Hossa, who has a 17-year postseason career in the NHL!

Rinne allows three goals in four-game sweep

The Predators completed the first sweep of a playoff series in franchise history with a 4–1 victory over the Blackhawks in Nashville on Thursday. Pekka Rinne was in goal for the Predators for all four games of the series, with Chicago scoring only three goals on their 126 shots on goal against him. (Rinne had a 0.70 goals-against average and .976 save percentage for the series.) He’s the fifth NHL goaltender in the last 40 years to win all four games of a playoff series sweep while allowing no more than three goals. The other goaltenders to do that since 1977 were the Rangers’ Mike Richter in 1994 (vs. Islanders, 3 GA), the Maple Leafs’ Curtis Joseph in 2001 (vs. Ottawa, 3 GA), the Ducks’ Jean-Sebastien Giguere in 2003 (vs. Minnesota, 1 GA) and the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask in 2013 (vs. Pittsburgh, 2 GA).

Josi leads Predators to series-ending win

Roman Josi scored his first two goals of the 2017 playoffs in the Predators’ series-clinching 4–1 win against the Blackhawks. Josi is only the fourth NHL defenseman to score two goals in a series-clinching playoff win by his team over the last 21 years. The other defensemen since 1996 with two-goal games for the winning side in a series-clincher were Carolina’s Sean Hill in 2002 (at Montreal), Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom in 2010 (at Phoenix) and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman in 2016 (vs. the Islanders).

Zibanejad is overtime hero

Mika Zibanejad’s goal at the 14:22 mark of overtime earned the Rangers a 3–2 win at Montreal and a three-games-to-two lead in their series against the Canadiens. It was the third career Stanley Cup playoff goal for Zibanejad and his first for the Rangers, who acquired him from Ottawa in a trade last summer. He’s the sixth player in Rangers history whose first playoff goal for the club was scored in overtime. The others are Butch Keeling (1929), Babe Pratt (1937), Pete Stemkowski (1971), Don Murdoch (1978) and Kevin Hayes (2015).

Sale and Betts provide the highlights in win at Toronto

Chris Sale struck out 13 batters and Mookie Betts cracked a 10th-inning three-run double down the left-field line to highlight the Red Sox’ 4–1 victory over the Blue Jays.

Sale’s 42 strikeouts this season are the third-most for any pitcher since 1893 over his first four games with a team. In 1998, Pedro Martinez began his Red Sox career with 44 Ks over his first four games and Randy Johnson racked up 44 strikeouts through four games with the Diamondbacks one year later.

Betts had only three RBIs in 35 career plate appearances in extra innings prior to his game-winning hit on Thursday.

Beltran’s first homer for Houston since 2004

Carlos Beltran hit his first home run for the Astros since 2004 in Houston’s 2–1 triumph over the Angels. Beltran is the 12th player in major-league history to go at least 12 years between homers for one franchise. Among the players in that dozen are Sammy Sosa, who went an MLB-record 17 years and 290 days between round-trippers for one team (going deep for the Rangers in 1989 and not again until 2007) and Greg Maddux, who homered 13 years apart for the Cubs (1992 and 2005).

Three low-scoring wins for Orioles on road trip

The Orioles punctuated a 6–3 road trip with 2–1 victory over the Reds, the third of those six wins in which they scored two or fewer runs. It’s the first time since the spring of 1978 that Baltimore recorded three wins when scoring no more than two runs on one road swing. Jim Palmer threw shutouts in two of those victories 39 years ago (1–0 against the Yankees and Athletics), while Scott McGregor earned the other win, 2–1, against the Mariners.

Same home, different results for Souza

Steven Souza was 3-for-5 with a double, triple and home run in the Rays’ 8–1 triumph over the Tigers in St. Petersburg. From 2015 to 2016, Souza batted .215 in home games, the lowest in the majors over that span among players who had at least 200 home at-bats in each of those seasons. But in 10 games at Tropicana Field this year, Souza is 16-for-37 (.432) with seven extra-base hits.

Syndergaard keeping Gooden company

Noah Syndergaard struck out 10 Phillies batters without a walk on Thursday night, for his sixth 10-K/no-BB game. That ties the most such games in modern major-league history for a pitcher before age 25. Dwight Gooden, coincidentally for the Mets, also had six before turning 25.

Shaw: 5-for-10 with five extra-base hits in first inning

Travis Shaw hit a three-run homer in the first inning of the Brewers’ win over the Cardinals. It was Shaw’s major league-high fifth extra-base hit in the first inning this season. Shaw is 5-for-10 with seven RBIs and no singles in the first inning this season.

Mauer’s double is extra-special

Joe Mauer doubled to lead off the fourth inning and came around to score on a balk to give the Twins a 1–0 lead against the Indians. It was Mauer’s first extra-base hit this season. His 52 at-bats without a double, triple or homer––before that fourth-inning two-bagger––were by far the most into a season he has ever gone without an extra-base hit. His previous longest extra-base hit drought to begin a campaign was 37 at-bats in 2015.

Zimmerman batting .389

Ryan Zimmerman was 2-for-4 with a double and home run in the Nationals’ win at Atlanta, lifting his season batting average to .389 (21 for 54) and helping Washington improve to 10–5. It’s Zimmerman’s highest average through his first 15 games of a season since the first 15 games of his big-league career. He debuted in the majors in September 2005, and through his first 15 games that year he batted .421 (16 for 38).

Rangers win in 13 innings

Delino Deshields’ run-scoring single in the bottom of the 13th inning gave the Rangers a 1–0 win over the Royals. It was the sixth shutout win in franchise history that lasted at least 13 innings, but the first since August 1990, when Texas outlasted the White Sox 1–0 in 13 innings, thanks to a walkoff single by Ruben Sierra.