Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Reports that Dallas Braden was singing, "I believe I can fly" while this picture was taken have not been confirmed.
This week, Major League pitchers were dealing, the Canadiens and Flyers continued their upsetting ways, NBA teams got bounced from the playoffs left and right, and the "Where Will LeBron Go?" era officially kicked off. And all these happenings had us doing a statistical double take.
2 – consecutive times a perfect game was thrown against Tampa Bay. Oakland pitcher Dallas Braden tossed one against the Rays Sunday in only his 53rd career start. Braden became the first pitcher ever to throw a perfect game against a team that entered the day with the best record in the majors. Braden’s gem was the first perfect game since White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle threw one back on July 23, 2009, also against the Rays.
2 – times in NBA history that three conference semifinal series have ended with a sweep. The Lakers swept the Jazz with a 111-96 win in Game 4 Monday, Orlando swept the Hawks with a 98-84 win in Game 4 Monday, and Phoenix swept the Spurs with a 107-101 win in Game 4 Sunday. The only other year three teams swept in the conference semis was 1999, the lockout season.
2 – number of teams in NHL history to win three road games in one series, all by at least three goals. The Blackhawks became the second with their 5-1 win over the Canucks in the conference semifinals Tuesday (they also beat the Canucks 7-4 and 5-2 in Vancouver earlier in the series). The first team to do it? The Detroit Red Wings, in these same playoffs. Detroit won three games at Phoenix in the first round, 7-4, 4-1, and 6-1.
2 – number of eighth-seeded teams in the NHL to reach the conference finals under the current playoff format. The Canadiens pulled it off Wednesday with a 5-2 victory over the Penguins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Montreal became the first Eastern Conference No. 8 seed to reach the conference finals under the current playoff format and won its fourth consecutive Game 7.
2 – consecutive starts by Padres pitcher Mat Latos in which he did not walk a batter. Latos pitched a 1-0 complete game with no walks Thursday after pitching a two-hitter with no walks in his previous start, a 7-0 win at Houston. With those two games, Latos became the third man in baseball’s modern era to pitch at least eight innings while allowing no more than two hits and giving up no runs and no walks. The other two were Cy Young (1905) and Billy Pierce (1958).
2 – times in the last three years that the Celtics knocked Cleveland out of the postseason after Boston beat the Cavs, 94-85, in Game 6 Thursday night. This allowed the Celtics to advance to the conference finals for the second time in three years and gave Boston a 33-1 all-time record when up 3-2 in a best-of-seven series.
2 – teams in NBA history that have won at least 60 games in two consecutive regular seasons but NOT reached the NBA Finals in either of those seasons. The Bucks were the first, in 1971-72 and 1972-73. The Cavs, who won 66 games in 2008-09 (when they were knocked out in the conference finals) and 61 games this season (when they were knocked out in the conference semifinals), became the second after losing to Boston Thursday.