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Elias Says: Nov. 2, 2016

Bryant’s big night helps Cubs force Game 7

The Cubs scored early and often against the Indians to win Game 6 of the World Series and force Game 7 on Wednesday night. Kris Bryant led the Cubs by stroking four hits, including a solo home run in the first inning. Only one other player in major-league history collected at least four hits, including a home run, in a World Series game with his team facing elimination. In the 1979 Series, Willie Stargell had four hits including a go-ahead two-run homer for the Pirates in their Game 7 victory at Baltimore.

Russell’s slam is a grand sight for Cubs fans

Addison Russell greeted Indians reliever Dan Otero in the third inning with a grand-slam home run, the first ever by a Cubs player in a World Series game. Russell became the second shortstop in major-league history to hit a grand slam in a postseason game, joining Brandon Crawford, who did so for the Giants in the Wild Card game in 2014 at Pittsburgh. At age 22, Russell is the second-youngest player to hit a grand slam in a postseason game; Mickey Mantle was 21 when he cleared the bases with a Game 5 clout in the 1953 World Series at Ebbets Field.

Russell’s third-inning clout was the 19th grand-slam home run hit in the World Series, and the first hit by a shortstop, which completes the circuit of defensive positions for players who have hit jackpot homers in the Series. Five World Series grand slams have been hit by first basemen, four by second basemen, one by a third baseman (Ken Boyer in 1964), one by a left fielder (Dan Gladden in 1987), two by center fielders, two by right fielders, one by a catcher (Yogi Berra in 1956) and one by a pitcher (Dave McNally in 1970). There was also one hit by a designated hitter (Lonnie Smith in 1992).

Arrieta goes 2-for-2 in Cleveland

Jake Arrieta earned his second victory of the Series, with both victories coming in Cleveland. Twenty previous pitchers have won two starts in the enemy ballpark in one World Series, and no fewer than 11 of those 20 pitchers are enshrined in the Hall of Fame – Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Ed Walsh, Herb Pennock, Grover Alexander, Lefty Grove, Dizzy Dean, Lefty Gomez, Hal Newhouser, Bob Lemon and Bob Gibson. But the last starter who earned a pair of road wins in one World Series finished his career with just 37 major-league victories (plus those two World Series wins); that was Chad Ogea, who won twice on the road for the Indians against the Marlins in the 1997 World Series.

Cavaliers finish with a flourish

The Cavaliers stifled a late Rockets rally with lights-out shooting, connecting on 13 of 15 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter to come away with the victory. Cleveland’s field-goal percentage in the fourth quarter was 87 percent, the team’s highest in a quarter since shooting 88 percent in the fourth quarter on Dec. 15, 1999 at New Jersey. The only team all of last season that compiled a higher field-goal percentage in a quarter than did the Cavs on Tuesday night was the Heat; Miami shot 88 percent in the fourth quarter on March 1, 2016 against the Bulls.

Harden does it all in losing effort

James Harden kept the Rockets in contention against the Cavaliers until the final buzzer with a team-high 41 points and 15 of the team’s 30 assists. Tuesday’s game marked the fifth time that Harden scored at least 40 points in a game for the Rockets while also accounting for at least half of Houston’s assists; Harden did that once in 2014–15 and three times last season. The only other player in Rockets history with even a single game of that kind was Tracy McGrady, who did so once for Houston.

George gorges on Lakers

Paul George led all scorers with 30 points in the Pacers’ 115–108 victory over the Lakers. That’s George’s second-highest point total against the Lakers in his NBA career – he poured in 39 points in Indiana’s win over the Lakers at the Staples Center last November. Only one other Pacers player in the last 30 regular seasons compiled multiple 30-point games against the Lakers. Reggie Miller topped 30 points twice against the Lakers in that span, once in 2001 and again in 2005. Miller also generated two 30-point games versus the Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals, as did Jalen Rose.

Same old story for Davis and Pelicans

The Pelicans remained winless on the season despite another big night from Anthony Davis. The All-Star center scored 35 points and secured 15 rebounds in the Pelicans’ loss to the Bucks on Tuesday night, bringing his totals for the season to 148 points and 52 rebounds. The last player to compile that many points and rebounds over a four-game span in which his team went 0–4 was Patrick Ewing, who totaled 148 points and 56 rebounds over four straight losses for the Knicks in March 1990.

Curry’s dirty third-y helps Warriors extinguish Blazers

Stephen Curry scored 23 of his 28 points in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 127–104 victory in Portland. Curry produced at least 20 points in a quarter 11 times in the 2015–16 season. No other NBA player had more than three quarters of that kind last season.

Magic comeback versus 76ers

Serge Ibaka sank two free throws with 1.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to provide the Magic with its margin of victory in a 103–101 triumph over the 76ers. The Magic had trailed by 10 points early in the fourth quarter before mounting a comeback to take the lead in the final seconds. Prior to Tuesday, Orlando had lost 49 of the last 50 games in which it trailed by a double-digit margin at some point in the fourth quarter.

Kings fall despite big numbers from Cousins and Gay

The Kings lost in Miami on Tuesday night despite two of their players – DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay – scoring 30 points apiece. Cousins and Gay are two of 39 active NBA players that have scored 30 or more points in a game at least 30 times in their careers, and they are the only two players of that group whose teams have a losing record in those contests. The Kings are 25–36 (.410) when Cousins scores 30 or more points, and Gay’s teams (Memphis, Toronto, and Sacramento) are a combined 22–25 (.468) in his 30-point games.

Jazz wins big in San Antonio

The Jazz made 15 of its 31 three-point attempts on Tuesday night, helping Utah defeat the Spurs at AT&T Center and snapping the team’s 10-game losing streak in San Antonio. Six Jazz players – George Hill, Rodney Hood, Joe Johnson, Trey Lyles, Shelvin Mack, and Joe Ingles – connected on multiple three-point field goals. Tuesday’s game marked the first time that as many as six Jazz players have converted multiple three-pointers in a single game.

The Jazz’s three-point flourish helped Utah defeat the Spurs by 15 points, the franchise’s largest margin of victory in any regular-season game at San Antonio. That being said, it’s also accurate that, in its time in the ABA, the Spurs franchise lost twice at home by 15 or more points to Utah in the 1970’s. What gives? Well, neither of those contests took place in San Antonio, as the then-Chaparrals lost both of those home games in Dallas. And the Utah team that won those games refers not to the Jazz but to the Utah Stars, who won an ABA championship in their tenure in Salt Lake City before the franchise folded in 1975.

Timberwolves maul Grizzlies

The Timberwolves outscored the Grizzlies by double-digits in each of the first three quarters of their blowout victory at Target Center on Tuesday. Minnesota had a 13-point lead after the first quarter, doubled its lead to 26 points by halftime, then built it to 38 points by the end of the third quarter. The Timberwolves have had only one other game in franchise history in which they outscored their opponent by at least 10 points in each of the first three quarters of a game. Minnesota accomplished that feat in a 53-point win over the Bulls in November 2001.

Two NBA teams had wins of that kind last season – the Warriors over the Cavaliers in January, and the Rockets against the Grizzlies in March.

Sixty shutouts for Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist earned his first shutout this season and the 60th shutout of his NHL career with a 5–0 win versus the Blues. Lundqvist, a native of Sweden, moves past Evgeni Nabokov (59 shutouts) and now stands alone in second place on the list of most career shutouts in the NHL by goaltenders born outside North America, behind Dominik Hasek with 81. Lundqvist, who has spent his entire career with the Rangers, is only the fourth goaltender in the NHL’s modern era (i.e., 1943–44 to date) to produce at least 60 shutouts for one team. The others: Martin Brodeur (Devils, 124), Terry Sawchuk (Red Wings, 85) and Tony Esposito (Blackhawks, 74).

Vesey rolling for Rangers

Rookie Jimmy Vesey produced his first three-point game in the NHL when he scored a goal and assisted on two in the Rangers’ 5–0 win over the Blues. Vesey, who signed with the Rangers as a free agent out of Harvard University last summer, has scored a team-leading six goals in the ten games he’s played in the NHL. He’s the first player to score at least six goals in his first ten games with the Rangers since October 2009, when Marian Gaborik put in seven goals in his first ten games for the Blueshirts after they signed him as a veteran free agent. Vesey is the first player to score six goals in the first ten games of his NHL career while playing for the Rangers since Sergei Nemchinov in October 1991.

Blue Jackets steal win from Stars

Seth Jones scored a goal 46 seconds into overtime to lift the Blue Jackets to a 3–2 win over the Stars, after Sam Gagner’s goal with 15.1 seconds remaining in the third period had tied the score for Columbus. Excluding games decided by a shootout, this was the first time that the Blue Jackets won a game in which they trailed in the last minute of the third period since Jan. 19, 2011, when they won 4–3 in overtime at Florida. Antoine Vermette scored the tying goal in that game for Columbus at the 19:07 mark of the third period and then R.J. Umberger nailed the OT winner.

Another four-point performance for Kucherov

Nikita Kucherov tied his career high for points in one game when he provided two goals and two assists in the Lightning’s 6–1 win over the Islanders in Brooklyn. Kucherov had set his personal high of four points in one game only seven days earlier, when he scored one goal and assisted on three in Tampa Bay’s 7–3 win at Toronto. He’s the first player in Lightning franchise history to generate two games of four points or more in so short a span. The previous mark was held by Steven Stamkos, who had a pair of four-point games two weeks apart in 2013 (Oct. 10 and 24).

Marchand stands alone among Bruins

Brad Marchand scored on a penalty shot to give the Bruins a 1–0 lead in the first period of their game against the Panthers. It was Marchand’s fourth penalty-shot goal for Boston, which gives him sole possession of the Bruins team record, having previously shared the mark at three with Hall of Famer Woody Dumart. Marchand is also the active NHL leader in penalty-shot goals, one ahead of Marian Hossa, Patrick Marleau, Eric Staal and Chris Stewart.

Kane stays hot versus Flames

Patrick Kane racked up a goal and two assists to lead the Blackhawks to a 5–1 win over the Flames. Kane did not score a goal in any of the four games he played versus the Flames during his rookie season, 2007–08, but he’s scored 19 goals in 29 games against them since then. That ties him with Daniel Sedin for the most goals by an NHL player versus Calgary over the last nine seasons.

Turris nets OT winner for Senators

Kyle Turris’ second overtime goal of the season gave the Senators a 2–1 victory over the Hurricanes. Turris, who also scored the OT winner for the Senators in their season opener against the Maple Leafs, has scored five regular-season overtime goals in his NHL career, all since he was traded to Ottawa by the Coyotes in December 2011. Despite being in only his sixth season with the Senators, Turris stands second in franchise history in regular-season OT goals, behind Mike Fisher with seven.

Three wins in four days for Sabres

The Sabres, who beat the Panthers at home on Saturday (3–0) and the Jets in Winnipeg on Sunday (3–1), extended their winning streak to three games with a 2–1 victory at Minnesota on Tuesday. This is the first time that Buffalo has won three games over a four-day span since Feb. 25–28, 2014, and it’s the first time they’ve done so with three regulation-time wins since March 21–24, 2012, when they secured victories over the Canadiens, Rangers and Wild.

Quick score in OT by Kadri

Nazem Kadri scored his second goal of the game at the 12-second mark in overtime to give the Maple Leafs a 3–2 win against the Oilers. This was the quickest overtime goal by a Maple Leafs player since Dec. 30, 1995, when Mats Sundin set the NHL record by scoring six seconds into extra time of a game at St. Louis. It was the earliest OT goal by a player on any NHL team since March 8 this year, when the Bruins’ Brad Marchand scored 10 seconds into overtime against Tampa Bay.

Smith scores twice for Predators

Craig Smith scored the first and last goals in the Predators’ 5–1 win over the Avalanche in Denver. It was Smith’s first multiple-goal game this season and the 11th multi-goal game in a six-year NHL career spent entirely with Nashville. Smith has produced nine of his 11 multiple-goal games when the Predators have been playing on the road, which ties David Legwand’s franchise record for the most multi-goal road games.

Beagle snaps late tie

Jay Beagle’s goal with 30 seconds left to play in regulation time snapped a 2–2 tie and let the Capitals leave Winnipeg with a 3–2 win over the Jets. It was the first tiebreaking goal in the final minute of the third period in an NHL game this season, and the first such goal by a Washington player since New Year’s Day 2015, when Troy Brouwer’s power play goal at the 19:47 mark gave the Capitals a 3–2 victory over the Blackhawks in the NHL Winter Classic played at Nationals Park.