Special to ESPN.com
JAMES SCORES 17 IN FOURTH QUARTER OF HEAT WIN
From Elias: LeBron James scored 17 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter as the Heat pulled away to defeat the Knicks, 87-70, taking a three-games-to-none lead in their playoff series. James matched the most points that he has ever scored in the fourth quarter of a playoff game; he knocked down 17 in the fourth quarter for the Cavaliers in a victory over the Magic in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009.
With the loss, the Knicks set an NBA record by losing their 13th straight playoff game, breaking a record they had previously shared with the Grizzlies. And by failing to score 100 points, the Knicks tied the NBA record for the "shot-clock era" of 38 consecutive playoff games without reaching the century mark; the Heat had set that record from 1997 to 2004. The last time that New York scored in triple figures in a playoff game was on June 9, 1999 in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals, a 101-94 win over the Pacers in Indianapolis. Latrell Sprewell scored a team-high 29 points, while Marcus Camby chipped in with 21.
THUNDER ROLLS OVER DEFENDING NBA CHAMPION IN OWN HOME
From Elias: The Thunder rolled into Dallas and whipped the Mavericks, 95-79, to take a three-games-to-none lead in their first-round series. That is the largest margin of defeat in history by a team playing in its first home playoff game in defense of an NBA championship.
BLANTON BLANKS THE BRAVES
From Elias: Joe Blanton threw only 88 pitches while recording the third shutout of his major-league career, a 4-0 win at Atlanta in which he allowed only three hits and did not walk or hit a batter. Over the last six seasons only three other major-leaguers have hurled a nine-inning shutout in which they threw fewer than 90 pitches and allowed no more than three baserunners: Colorado's Jason Marquis (June 30, 2009 at L.A. Dodgers), Detroit's Armando Galarraga (June 2, 2010 vs. Cleveland) and St. Louis' Jaime Garcia (Aug. 22, 2010 vs. San Francisco).
DEREK JETER: 44 HITS IN YANKEES' FIRST 25 GAMES
From Elias: Derek Jeter was 4 for 5 on Thursday, giving him a total of 44 hits in the Yankees' 25 games this year. He's only the fifth American League player in the last 70 seasons to record at least 44 hits in his team's first 25 games of a season. The others are Tony Oliva (1964 Twins, 47 hits), Rod Carew (1983 Angels, 48 hits), Darin Erstad (2000 Angels, 46 hits) and Alfonso Soriano (2003 Yankees, 45 hits).
JETER REACHES ANOTHER MILESTONE
From Elias: Derek Jeter's third-inning double in the Yankees' game at Kansas City was the 500th two-base hit of his major-league career. Jeter is the 55th player in big-league history to reach the 500-double plateau and the 21st to do so for one team. Two of the other players with 500-plus doubles for one club are also active: Todd Helton (560 doubles for the Rockies) and Chipper Jones (527 two-base hits for the Braves).
TWO MORE HITS FOR ROYALS' THIRD BASEMAN
From Elias: Mike Moustakas had two hits, including a solo home run, in the Royals' win over the Yankees. It was Moustakas' eighth multiple-hit game as a third baseman this season, second-most in the American League, behind Miguel Cabrera with nine.
HARPER BATS THIRD IN FIFTH BIG-LEAGUE GAME
From Elias: Nineteen-year-old Bryce Harper, in only his fifth game in the major leagues, started in the third slot in the batting order when the Nationals hosted the Diamondbacks on Thursday night. Harper was the first teenager to start a major-league game in the #3 slot since B.J. Upton did so for Tampa Bay on Aug. 14, 2004. Before Harper, no teenager had started in the three-hole in one of his first five big-league games since Ken Griffey, Jr. did that in his fifth game in the majors (April 9, 1989). Griffey was the first teenager to pull of that feat since Cesar Cedeno with the Astros in 1970.
RAYS ARE 12-1 AT HOME
From Elias: The Rays improved their record at Tropicana Field to 12-1 this season with a 4-3 victory against the Mariners on Thursday. Tampa Bay is the fifth team in the last 40 seasons (1973-2012) to win at least 12 of its first 13 home games. The other clubs to do that were the 1987 Yankees (12-1), 1997 Braves (12-1), 2002 Twins (12-1) and 2009 Dodgers (13-0).
BEDARD FANS 11 IN FIVE INNINGS
From Elias: Erik Bedard pitched only five innings but struck out 11 batters in his win at St. Louis on Thursday, after fanning nine in five innings in a victory at Atlanta in his last game. Bedard is the first Pirates pitcher to record at least 20 strikeouts over two consecutive starts since Oliver Perez in September 2004 (21 Ks), and he's the first Pittsburgh hurler to win two straight starts while fanning at least 20 batters since Francisco Cordova in August 1999.
MORROW SETS A FIRST FOR THE BLUE JAYS
From Elias: With his 5-0 win at Anaheim on Thursday night Brandon Morrow became the first pitcher in Blue Jays history to throw a road shutout in which he allowed no more than three hits, walked no one and fanned at least eight batters. Four Toronto pitchers have done that in home games: Jim Gott, Jimmy Key, Roger Clemens (twice) and Roy Halladay (twice).
LATE COMEBACK WIN FOR THE REDS
From Elias: The Reds scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and one in the tenth inning to beat the Cubs, 4-3, on Thursday afternoon. It was only the second time in the last six seasons that the Reds won a game in which they trailed by three runs or more in the ninth inning or later. Cincinnati's only other win of that kind since 2007 was in the team's season opener last year. In that game the Reds staged a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to edge the Brewers by a 7-6 score.
SANCHEZ MIGHT WANT TO SWITCH TO AT&T
From Elias: Anibal Sanchez allowed one run in seven innings and struck out five batters in his win at San Francisco. Sanchez has racked up 38 strikeouts in his five starts this year, matching the Marlins record for most strikeouts by a pitcher in his first five starts of a season set by Josh Beckett in 2004. When the Giants scored in the sixth inning it ended Sanchez's streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings at AT&T Park. That's the second-longest such streak by a visiting pitcher in the ballpark's 13-year history, behind the 24 2/3-inning streak posted by Clayton Kershaw from August 2010 to July 2011.
KIPNIS TRIPLES AND HOMERS WITH MEN ON BASE
From Elias: Jason Kipnis drove in four runs to lead the Indians to a 7-5 win over the White Sox in Chicago. Kipnis tripled in a run in the third inning and hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning, both off White Sox starter John Danks. Since 2000, the only other Cleveland player to hit a triple and a home run with runners on base in the same game was Grady Sizemore on Aug. 21, 2008 versus Kansas City. Sizemore hit a bases-loaded triple and a three-run homer in that game.
PONIKAROVSKY'S FIRST PLAYOFF GOAL FOR DEVILS IS OT WINNER
From Elias: Alexei Ponikarovsky's first playoff goal for the Devils earned New Jersey a 4-3 overtime victory and a two-games-to-one lead in their series against the Flyers. He's the first player in Devils franchise history whose first postseason goal for the club was scored in overtime. Ponikarovsky has scored one other game-winning goal in the playoffs in his NHL career and it also came against the Flyers - for the Maple Leafs in 2004.
DÉJÀ VU FOR THE KINGS
From Elias: The Kings took a commanding three-games-to-none lead in their second-round series against the Blues with a 4-2 win on Thursday. Los Angeles also jumped out to a three-zip lead in its first-round series against the Canucks. Before this year the Kings had played 27 best-of-seven playoff series and never won the first three games in any of them.