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Elias Says: May 16, 2017

Olynyk delivers off the bench in Celtics’ Game 7 win

Kelly Olynyk came off the bench to score 26 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, in the Celtics’ 115-105 Game 7 win over the Wizards to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The last reserve player to score at least 25 points in Game 7 of a playoff series was Leandro Barbosa of the Suns. Barbosa scored 26 points, shooting 10-for-12 from the floor, in a first-round victory over the Lakers in 2006. Phoenix trailed in that series, three-games-to-one, but went on to win Games 5, 6, and 7.

The last Celtics bench player to score 25-or-more points in a Game 7 was John Havlicek in 1965, scoring 26 points in a Boston win over the 76ers to advance to the NBA Finals. That was the famous “Havlicek stole the ball!” game in which Havlicek made a series-clinching steal to ensure a Boston win with seconds remaining. Wilt Chamberlain scored 30 points and grabbed 32 rebounds in a losing effort in that game.

Thomas joins Celtics’ elite with Game 7 performance

Isaiah Thomas had 29 points and 12 assists in the Celtics’ Game 7 win on Monday, becoming just the third player in franchise history with at least 25 points and 10 assists in a Game 7. Bob Cousy had 25 points and 10 assists in a win over the Syracuse Nationals to advance to the 1959 NBA Finals, and Larry Bird put up 39 points and dished out 10 assists in a win over the Knicks to head to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1984. Bird also had 12 rebounds in that game, becoming the second player with a triple-double in a Game 7 in NBA history (Jerry West was the first, doing so in the 1969 NBA Finals against the Celtics). Since Bird’s game, there have been eight instances of a triple-double in a Game 7 in the NBA playoffs.

Beal scores 38 in Game 7 loss

Bradley Beal scored 38 points, but it was not enough as the Wizards fell to the Celtics in their Game 7 matchup on Monday. That is the 11th time that a player scored that many points and came up on the losing side of a Game 7, and seven of those 11 instances were losses to the Celtics. Prior to Beal, the most recent player to do so was LeBron James in the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Cavaliers and Celtics. James scored 45 points in a 97-92 loss at TD Garden.

Fleury stops them all as Penguins tie series

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recorded the 10th playoff shutout of his NHL career with a 1–0 win over the Senators in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. This was only the second 1–0 playoff win for the Penguins in their 50-year history. The first was Tom Barrasso’s victory against the Blackhawks at Chicago Stadium in Game 3 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Final. Fleury’s clean sheet was the fourth 1–0 shutout by an NHL goaltender in a Conference Final series over the last 10 playoff years (2008 to date). The others were all series-clinching victories: by Tim Thomas versus Tampa Bay in 2011 (Game 7), Tuukka Rask against Pittsburgh in 2013 (Game 4) and Henrik Lundqvist versus Montreal in 2014 (Game 6).

Trout hits game-winning home run

Mike Trout’s fifth inning home run put the Angels ahead to stay in their 5-3 win over the White Sox on Monday night. Trout is batting .352 with 12 home runs in 35 games this season. Only four other Angels players had at least 12 homers through their first 35 games of a season, but none had as high of a batting average at that point in the season: Wally Joyner in 1986 (13 HR, .315 BA), Jim Edmonds in 1996 (12, .312), Mo Vaughn in 1999 (12, .308), and Troy Glaus in 2004 (12, .292).

Cain reaches 2000 innings pitched with the Giants

Matt Cain allowed just one run over 6 2/3 innings to earn the win over the Dodgers, 8-4. Cain surpassed 2000 innings with the Giants in Monday night’s outing, becoming the 12th pitcher to do so in that franchise’s history. Over the last 70 years, only two other pitchers reached 2000 innings pitched with the Giants and they are both Hall-of-Famers: Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry.

Archer continues to struggle against Indians

Chris Archer allowed seven runs (six earned) over five innings in the Rays’ 8-7 loss to the Indians on Monday night. Archer is 0-6 with a 6.00 ERA in six starts versus Cleveland. Over the last 10 seasons (since 2008), three other pitchers went 0-6 with an ERA of 6.00 or higher in their first six starts versus a particular team: Ross Ohlendorf vs. Astros (6.68 ERA), Felix Doubront vs. Rangers (11.88), and Clayton Richard vs. Braves (7.04).

Only two other pitchers lost each of their first six starts versus the Indians, but neither had an ERA as high as Archer’s over those six starts: Eddie Smith of the Athletics spanning the 1937 and 1938 seasons (5.59 ERA) and Frank Sullivan of the Red Sox from 1954 to 1955 (4.07).

Astros hit a grand slam in second straight game

Yuli Gurriel hit a grand slam in the Astros’ 7-2 victory over the Marlins, a day after teammate Alex Bregman connected on a bases loaded homer in the second of two games at Yankee Stadium. That marks the first time the Astros have had back-to-back games with a grand slam in franchise history. Only one other team has had back-to-back games of this type in the 2017 campaign: the Dodgers on May 6 at San Diego (Cody Bellinger) and May 8 versus the Pirates (Chris Taylor).

Mets’ woes continue

After leading 1-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, the Mets gave up one run in the sixth and six more in the eighth inning (powered by a three-run homer by Yasmany Tomas, a two-run home run by Jeff Mathis, and a solo shot from Daniel Descalso) on their way to a loss to the Diamondbacks. New York has lost each of its last three games in which the team led in the sixth inning or later (May 10 vs. Giants and May 14 at Milwaukee were the previous two). Since the 2012 season, the only other time the Mets lost at least three straight games of this type was in June 2014 (also a streak of three).

The Mets have allowed at least four runs in an inning in each of their last five games, tying the longest such streak in franchise history (previously done in August 1984).

Cruz piles up the RBIs

Nelson Cruz hit a two-run home run in the Mariners’ 6-3 win over the A’s. Cruz has 25 RBIs in his last 20 games, dating back to April 22. The last Mariners player with at least 25 runs batted in over 20 games was also Cruz, in April/May 2015 (25 RBIs). Before Cruz, the only other Mariners player to do so since the start of the 2009 season was Raul Ibanez in May/June 2013, with 25 RBIs.

Kemp brings the offense

Matt Kemp went 4-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored in the Braves’ 10-6 victory over the Blue Jays. That is the fourth game in which Kemp went 4-for-4 or better in his major-league career, regular season or postseason. He had previously done so in May 2008 against the Reds (4-for-4), August 2010 versus the Padres (5-for-5), and September 2013 at Arizona (4-for-4), all as a member of the Dodgers.