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AVERY JOHNSON'S LONG SEASON CONTINUES
From Elias: The Nets lost to the Knicks by a score of 116-93 in New Jersey on Friday night. It was the Nets' 55th loss in their 79th game of the season under new head coach Avery Johnson. Johnson did not register his 55th loss in his stint with the Mavericks until his 232nd game.
SIXERS SUPER-SUB STRIKES AGAIN
From Elias: Thaddeus Young scored 20 points off the bench to help lead the 76ers to a victory over the Raptors on Friday night, running his point total as a substitute to 1,009 this season. Young joined teammate Lou Williams (1,027) in the 1,000 point club off the bench for the 76ers this season. Prior to the 2010-11 season, the 76ers had only two players score 1,000+ points off the bench in a season in the last 20 years combined: Kyle Korver in 2006-07 (1,054) and Lou Williams in 2008-09 (1,039) .
RONDO EXCELS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL
From Elias: Rajon Rondo registered 20 points, 14 assists and six steals to lead the Celtics to a victory over the Wizards on Friday night. No other Celtics player has reached those levels in those three categories in the same game since steals became an official statistic in 1973-74.
BIG NIGHT FOR MIAMI'S BIG THREE
From Elias: Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade scored 27 points each and LeBron James chipped in with 23 as the Heat topped the Bobcats in Miami on Friday night. It is the 21st time this season that Miami's big three each scored 20-or-more points in the same game. Not only is that the highest total for any three teammates this season, it is more than double the next highest total (eight by Golden State's David Lee, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry).
IT'S THE YEAR OF THE SUB
From Elias: Willie Green scored 31 points off the bench to lead the Hornets to a win over the Suns on Friday night. Green became the 17th different player to score 30-or-more points as a sub this season. Over the last 20 seasons, there has been only one other season in which as many as 17 different players had a 30-point game off the bench: 2006-07 (18 players).
BULLS CLINCH TOP SEED IN EAST
From Elias: The Bulls beat the Cavaliers in Chicago to clinch the number one seed in the Eastern Conference on Friday night. This marks the sixth time that Chicago has been the East's top seed in the playoffs since the NBA went to the current playoff format in 1983-84. Only three other teams have been the number one seed in its conference as many times as Chicago over that span: the Lakers (11), Boston (six) and San Antonio (six) .
FIRST WIN OF SEASON FOR RED SOX
From Elias: The Red Sox ended their season-opening six-game losing streak with a 9-6 victory over the Yankees in their home opener at Fenway Park on Friday afternoon. The Red Sox have now won each of their last seven openers. That's the longest current winning streak in home openers for any major-league team and is also the longest such streak in Red Sox history.
FAST START FOR TIGERS IN HOME OPENER
From Elias: Victor Martinez hit a three-run double in the first inning to spark a four-run rally in the Tigers' 5-2 win over the Royals in the team's home opener on Friday afternoon. That ties the most runs the Tigers have ever scored in the first-inning of a home opener. The Tigers also did that in their home opener in 1993 (against Oakland), 1984 (against Texas) and 1980 (against Kansas City).
PAVANO HURLS A GEM IN TWINS HOME OPENER
From Elias: Carl Pavano allowed one run and four hits in eight innings of work in the Twins' 2-1 victory over the A's in the team's home opener at Target Field on Friday afternoon. Since the Twins moved to Minnesota in 1961, only two other pitchers have pitched at least eight innings while allowing four-or-fewer hits and one-or-fewer runs in the team's home opener: Tom Hall in 1969 (9 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs against the Angels) and Kevin Tapani in 1990 (8 IP, 4 hits, 0 runs against the Angels).
ROWAND DELIVERS WALK-OFF HIT IN SECOND STRAIGHT HOME OPENER
From Elias: Aaron Rowand singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift the Giants to a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals in San Francisco's home opener on Friday afternoon. This marked the second consecutive season that Rowand has had a walk-off hit in the Giants home opener. The last player to do that in consecutive seasons for a team was the Rangers' Toby Harrah in 1976 and 1977.
It is also the second consecutive season that the Giants played at least 12 innings in their home opener, beating Atlanta in 13 innings in the opener at AT&T Park last season. Only one other team has played at least 12 innings in its home opener in consecutive seasons. The then New York Giants lost to the Phillies in 12 innings at the Polo Grounds in their home opener in 1916 and then lost to the Braves at the same location in 14 innings in their first home game in 1917.
ZIMMERMANN BEATS METS WITH THE BAT
From Elias: Jordan Zimmermann drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the second inning and earned the victory in Washington's 6-2 win over the Mets at Citi Field. Zimmermann is the second pitcher to get a hit with the bases loaded this season, and both have come against the Mets. Joe Blanton had a bases loaded single against New York on April 6th.
BRAVES ROUGH UP CLIFF LEE
From Elias: Cliff Lee allowed six runs and 10 hits in just three-and-a-third innings pitched in Philadelphia's loss to the Braves on Friday night. It marked only the second time in Lee's 220 career regular-season starts that he allowed at least 10 hits and pitched fewer than four innings.
CHIPPER JOINES ELITE GROUP
From Elias: Chipper Jones recorded the 2,500th hit of his career in Atlanta's win over Philadelphia on Friday night. Jones is now one of eight players in National League history to record 2,500 hits and 400 home runs. The others are Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Barry Bonds, Andre Dawson, Willie Mays, Stan Musial and Mel Ott.
BAKER LIFTS CUBS
From Elias: Leadoff hitter Jeff Baker went 4-for-5 with four RBI to lead the Cubs to a victory over the Brewers in Milwaukee on Friday night. Over the last 20 years, only three other Cubs leadoff hitters have registered four hits and four RBIs in a game: Alfonso Soriano on September 6, 2008 (four hits; five RBI), Brant Brown on June 18, 1998 (four hits; five RBI) and Brian McRae on April 19, 1996 (four hits; four RBI).
RAYS SNAP LOSING STREAK WITH COMEBACK VICTORY
From Elias: The Rays scored five runs in the ninth inning to overcome a 7-4 deficit and post a 9-7 win over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday night. It marked only the third time that Tampa Bay has won a game on the road after trailing by three-or-more runs entering the ninth inning. On July 23, 2002, the Rays scored five runs in the 9th inning to erase a 4-0 deficit and defeat the Red Sox at Fenway Park and on September 27, 2009, Tampa Bay scored four times in the ninth inning to post a 7-6 victory over the Rangers in Texas.
TABATA WINS IT FOR THE PIRATES
From Elias: Jose Tabata drove in the winning run with a double in the bottom of the 14th inning in Pittsburgh's 4-3 victory over the Rockies on Friday night. Tabata, 22 years and 239 days old on Friday, became the youngest Pittsburgh player to deliver a walk-off hit since Jose Guillen hit a game-ending home run against the Marlins on April 11, 1998 at the age of 21 years, 329 days old.
ISLES ROOKIE HEROICS GO FOR NAUGHT
From Elias: The Islanders lost 4-3 to the Penguins in a shootout, after rookie defenseman Travis Hamonic tied the score for the Isles at 3-3 on a goal with 35 seconds remaining in the third period. The Islanders have had one other last-minute score-tying goal this season and it was also by a rookie: Matt Martin on February 24 at Philadelphia. Before this season, the only tying goal in the final minute of the third period by an Islanders rookie was scored by defenseman Scott Lachance against Winnipeg on December 12, 1992.
RARE MULTIPLE-POINT GAME FOR RUPP
From Elias: Mike Rupp recorded a goal and an assist for the Penguins in their shootout win against the Islanders on Friday night. It was only the eighth multiple-point game of Rupp's eight-year NHL career and just his second multi-point performance in two seasons and 161 games with Pittsburgh. Rupp's other game with more than one point for the Penguins came on November 30, 2009 against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, when he recorded the only hat trick of his NHL career.
ROOKIE CRAWFORD IS PERFECT AGAINST THE RED WINGS
From Elias: The Blackhawks opened up a 4-0 lead less than 27 minutes into their game at Detroit and then coasted to a 4-2 victory, with rookie Corey Crawford stopping 26 shots to pick up his fourth win in four games against the Red Wings this season. Crawford's four wins equal the highest single-season total versus the Red Wings by a rookie goaltender in the expansion era (i.e., 1967-68 to date). The other rookies to do that all did so more than 30 years ago: Chicago's Tony Esposito in 1969-70, the Penguins' Gary Inness in 1974-75 and the Kings' Mario Lessard in 1978-79.
VANEK TIES SABRES MARK IN PLAYOFF CLINCHER
From Elias: The Sabres clinched a playoff berth with the point they earned when the third period of their game against the Flyers ended with the score tied at 3-3, and Thomas Vanek then made the night even more festive for the fans in Buffalo when he won the game with a goal 1:16 into overtime. It was Vanek's second overtime goal of the season and his fifth OT goal in six seasons with the Sabres. Vanek's five career overtime goals tie him with Danny Briere and Derek Roy for the Buffalo team record.
ANOTHER THREE-POINT NIGHT FOR HURRICANES ROOKIE
From Elias: Rookie Jeff Skinner tallied one goal and two assists in the Hurricanes' 6-1 victory in Atlanta on Friday night. It was Skinner's fifth three-point game of the season, the highest total by any rookie in 2010-11. The only other rookie with more than two such games this season is Edmonton's Taylor Hall with three. Skinner is the third rookie in Hartford/Carolina history to score three or more points in a game at least five times in one season, joining Ron Francis (seven times in 1981-82) and Sylvain Turgeon (five times in 1983-84), who did that for the Whalers.
RINNE CARRIES PREDATORS TO THE POSTSEASON
From Elias: Pekka Rinne made 44 saves to lead the Predators to a 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets that clinched a playoff spot for Nashville. Rinne has excelled in the homestretch for the Predators, posting a 10-2-1 record and 2.14 goals-against average in 13 games since March 10. His 10 wins are the most over the last 30 days by any NHL goaltender.
BACK TO BACK GAME WINNERS FOR MORROW
From Elias: Brenden Morrow scored the game-winning goal in the Stars' 3-2 victory over the Avalanche in Denver on Friday, after scoring the winner when the same two teams met in Dallas on Thursday. Morrow is the first Stars player to score the game-winning goal in each of two games played on consecutive days since February 13-14, 2001, when Mike Modano did that against the Predators and Kings.
FORTY-YEAR OLD SELANNE REACHES 30-GOAL MARK
Forty-year-old Teemu Selanne reached the 30-goal mark this season when he scored the first of his two goals in the Ducks' game against the Kings on Friday. The only other players in NHL history to score 30-or-more goals in one season after their 40th birthday were Gordie Howe (twice) and Johnny Bucyk. Howe was about six weeks shy of his 41st birthday when he scored his 30th goal in 1968-69 and he just turned 42 when he scored goal #30 in 1969-70. Bucyk scored his 30th goal in 1975-76 nearly ten months after his 40th birthday. Selanne was a "younger" 40 than either Howe or Bucyk.
MINNESOTA TEAMMATES ASSIST TEAM TO VICTORY
From Elias: Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikko Koivu each assisted on all three Minnesota goals in the Wild's win at Edmonton. It was the second time in the last two weeks that two Minnesota players recorded three assists in the same game. Koivu and Andrew Brunette did that in the Wild's 6-3 loss to St. Louis on March 26. Before that, there were only three instances of two Wild players assisting on three goals in one game in the team's 10-year history, and just one in the last nine seasons (Marc Chouinard and Todd White vs. Anaheim in October 2005).