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Memphis overcomes a lot to win Game Three
From Elias: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scored 30 points apiece, the Thunder generated a 17-0 run toward the end of the fourth quarter, and Westbrook produced a game-tying four-point play with less than 30 seconds to play in regulation time. But the Grizzlies withstood all of that, and more, and came away with a 98-95 victory in overtime in Game Three of a first-round playoff series.
Actually, given the number and types of shots that the Thunder's two superstars took, Memphis did well to hold the pair to a total of 60 points. Durant put up 27 field-goal attempts (he was 0-for-8 from beyond the arc) and 13 free-throw attempts; applying his regular-season shooting percentages, that combination of shots would, on average, be good for 41.6 points. Westbrook took 13 two-point shots, 13 three-point shots and 12 foul shots; during the recently-concluded season, on such a distribution of shots, he would be expected to score 34.8 points. But instead of generating 75 points or more, as might be expected, the Durant and Westbrook's actual total of 60 points reflected well on the defensive effort by the Grizzlies.
Westbrook's dramatic four-point play marked the first time in nearly 15 years that an NBA playoff game had featured a four-point play that either tied the score or put a team into the lead in the final minute of either the fourth quarter or any overtime period. The last such occasion is still celebrated in New York and still cursed in Indiana. In Game Three of the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals, the Knicks' Larry Johnson sank a three-pointer and hit a free throw after Antonio Davis was called for a foul to provide the final points in New York's 92-91 victory.
Griffin, 32 points; Jordan, 22 rebounds; Paul, 10 assists
From Elias: Blake Griffin scored 32 points, DeAndre Jordan pulled down 22 rebounds, and Chris Paul provided 10 assists in the Clippers' 98-96 win over the Warriors in Oakland. It marked the first regulation-length NBA playoff game in nearly 24 years in which one player scored 30-or-more points while a teammate collected 20-or-more rebounds and yet another teammate was credited with 10-or-more assists. The last trio to pull that 30-20-10 act? The Knicks' Patrick Ewing (45 points), Charles Oakley (20 rebounds) and Maurice Cheeks (12 assists) in a second-round victory over the Pistons on May 12, 1990. (Current Warriors head coach Mark Jackson had a close-up view of that Knicks' victory; he played six minutes for New York in that game.)
Hawks starting guards each reach 20 points in win over Pacers
From Elias: Jeff Teague (11 points) and Kyle Korver (7) combined for 18 of the Hawks' 31 points in the fourth quarter as Atlanta forged a two-games-to-one series lead over Indiana with a 98-85 victory. For the game, Teague finished with 22 points and Korver with 20. It marked just the second time in more than 40 years that the Hawks have seen each of their starting guards produce 20 points in a playoff game. In the second round of the 1997 playoffs, Steve Smith (27) and Mookie Blaylock (26) turned the trick in a victory at Chicago. Prior to that, you have to go back to 1973, in the Pete Maravich era, to find occasions on which Atlanta's starting backcourtmen both scored 20 points in a playoff game.
Ten straight games allowing no more than three runs by Mets starters
From Elias: Mets starter Bartolo Colon pitched seven innings and allowed only one run in his win against the Cardinals. On April 13, Colon was hit hard in a loss to the Angels in Anaheim, giving up nine runs (and four home runs) in five innings, but since then the Mets have gone two full turns (10 games) through their five-man rotation (Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia, Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese and Colon) with their starting pitcher allowing three or fewer runs in each game. It's the longest such streak by Mets starters within one season since a 12-game skein in 2011 (June 3-15). The Mets' starting pitchers during that streak were Niese, Gee, R.A. Dickey, Chris Capuano and Mike Pelfrey.
Lynn suffers his first career April loss
From Elias: The Mets' win on Thursday came at the expense of Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, who was charged with the loss after entering the game with a 12-0 career record in April games. Lynn's 12 consecutive April wins tied him with Babe Ruth for the second-longest start of career April winning streak in major-league history, behind Rick Rhoden, who won his first 13 April decisions from 1975 to 1981.
Scherzer: Five straight games with at least 7 Ks to begin the season
From Elias: Max Scherzer pitched six inning and struck out ten batters in his win against the White Sox in Detroit on Thursday. Scherzer has pitched in five games for the Tigers this year and posted strikeout totals of seven, eight, ten, nine and ten. He's the second pitcher in Tigers history to record at least seven strikeouts in each of his first five games of a season, joining Mickey Lolich, who did that in 1970.
Kluber's first complete game
From Elias: The Indians' Corey Kluber recorded the first complete game of his major-league career with a 5-1 win against the Royals in which he struck out 11 and did not issue a walk. Kluber is the first Cleveland pitcher to pitch a complete game with no walks and at least 11 strikeouts since Oct. 1, 1986, when Tom Candiotti fanned 12 in a win at Minnesota.
No homers in four-game series is no problem for the Reds
From Elias: The Reds won three of the four games in their series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh despite not hitting a home run in any of the four games. It was the first time that Cincinnati went homerless in a series of four or more games since a four-game set at San Francisco in June 2011, and it was the first time that the Reds won a series of at least four games in which they did not hit a home run since taking three of five games from the Mets at Riverfront Stadium in July 1990.
Cruz extends his RBI streak to seven games
From Elias: Nelson Cruz drove in two more runs for the Orioles in their 11-4 win at Toronto on Thursday. Cruz has recorded 16 runs batted in over his last seven games with at least one RBI in each game. That matches the longest previous RBI streak in the majors this season (seven games by Giancarlo Stanton, March 31-April 6). Cruz's RBI streak is the longest by a Baltimore player since Mark Reynolds had RBIs in seven consecutive games in September 2012.
Donaldson's first multi-homer game
From Elias: Josh Donaldson hit two home runs in one game for the first time in his big-league career to help lead the Athletics to a 10-1 win at Houston. Donaldson hit 24 home runs last season, which tied him with Joey Votto for second-most in the majors last year among player who didn't have a multiple-homer game in 2013, behind Mike Trout (27 home runs).
Suzuki is on an RBI-per-game pace
From Elias: Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki banged out three hits and drove in three runs in Minnesota's 9-7 win at Tampa Bay. Suzuki has recorded 17 RBIs in the 17 games he's played this season, an RBI total he didn't reach until June 30 last season, in his 60th game (playing for Washington). Suzuki had more than eight runs batted in through his first 17 games in only one of his seven previous seasons in the major league (11 in 2010).
Gardner and Roberts each score four at Fenway
From Elias: Brett Gardner and Brian Roberts each scored four runs for the Yankees in their 14-5 win against the Red Sox in Boston. Over the last six seasons, the only other game in which two Yankees players each scored four runs was an 18-7 win over the White Sox in Chicago on Aug. 3, 2011, when Gardner and Derek Jeter each crossed the plate four times.
Arizona rookie notches his first win
From Elias: Diamondbacks rookie Mike Bolsinger, in the second start of his major-league career, posted his first win with a 5-2 victory against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Thursday. Bolsinger is the first pitcher to record his first big-league win while making a start for Arizona since 2012, when Patrick Corbin (April 30), Trevor Bauer (July 8) and Tyler Skaggs (August 22) all did so.
Iginla scores his first playoff OT goal
From Elias: Jarome Iginla's first playoff overtime goal of his NHL career earned the Bruins a 3-2 victory in Game 4 of their series against the Red Wings. At age 36 years, 297 days, Iginla is the oldest player at the time he scored his first postseason overtime goal since Bill Guerin did so at age 38 for the Penguins in Game 2 of their first-round series against the Flyers in 2009.
Kuemper: two starts, two wins, one goal allowed
From Elias: Minnesota goaltender Darcy Kuemper faced only 12 shots on goal in his 2-1 win in Game 4 of the Wild's series against the Avalanche, after recording a 1-0 overtime shutout while making the first playoff start of his NHL career in Game 3. Kuemper is the fifth goaltender in the NHL's expansion era (i.e., 1967-68 to date) to win his first two career playoff starts while allowing only one goal in those two games combined. The others are Gilles Meloche (1980), Bob Mason (1987), Andrew Raycroft (2004) and Michal Neuvirth (2011).