Monday, May 22, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Spurs-Mavericks game was the sixth Game 7 to go to overtime and the Mavs are the second team to win a Game 7 on the road in overtime, joining the Lakers, who did it in Sacramento in 2002. The home teams to win: SuperSonics over Rockets in 1993, Trail Blazers over Spurs in 1990, Celtics over Lakers in the 1962 Finals, and Celtics over St. Louis Hawks in the 1957 Finals.
• In Game 7, Tim Duncan had 41 points and 15 rebounds in San Antonio's 119-111 loss to Dallas. Two other players have had a 40/15 (points/boards) Game 7: Elgin Baylor for the Lakers in a losing effort against the Celtics in overtime in the 1962 Finals (41/22) and Charles Barkley for the Suns in their Western Conference finals win over the SuperSonics in 1993 (44/24).
Dirk Nowitzki scored 37 points Monday, the second-most in a Game 7 road victory, behind Calvin Murphy's 42 points for the Rockets against the Spurs in the 1981 conference semifinals.
• Duncan and Nowitzki are the fourth set of opponents to have a 30/15 (points/boards) performance in a Game 7. The others were Tom Heinsohn and Bob Pettit in the 1957 Finals; Elgin Baylor and Bill Russell in the 1962 Finals; and Billy Cunningham and Jack Marin in 1971.
• The Suns defeated the Clippers in their Game 7, 127-107. That's the most points by a team in a Game 7 since the Baltimore Bullets defeated the 76ers in 1971, 128-120.
The Suns defeated the Lakers in their Game 7 earlier in the playoffs, 121-90. The Suns are the first team to win two Game 7s by at least 15 points in one postseason.
• Duncan averaged 32.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in the playoff series vs. Dallas; Elton Brand averaged 30.9 points and 10.4 rebounds in the series vs. Phoenix.
Previously, only one player over the past 20 years had averaged 30 points and 10 rebounds over the course of a seven-game NBA playoff series. Shaquille O'Neal averaged 30.3 points and 13.6 rebounds in the Lakers' seven-game victory over Sacramento in the 2002 conference finals (before Shaq, the last 30/10 series was turned in by Larry Bird: 30.4 and 10.6 in a 1984 series against the Knicks).
Thomas played 1,959 games for the White Sox before hitting two home runs in his first game against them. No other player has played anywhere near that many games for a team, and then hit more than one home run in his first game against that team. The next-most games is 1,102 by B.J. Surhoff, who had two homers in his first game against the Brewers after leaving Milwaukee for Baltimore as a free agent after the 1995 season.
• Why did they let him go? Jamie Moyer won his 17th game against the Orioles since leaving Baltimore as a free agent after the 1995 season. That's the most wins by any active pitcher against a former team. Next-most: Moyer vs. the Rangers (14), David Wells vs. the Orioles (13).
• If Yankee Stadium is the "House That Ruth Built," then U.S. Cellular Field, a.k.a. "New Comiskey" must be a simple anagram for that -- the "House That Hurt Built." Frank Thomas hit two home runs in Chicago on Monday, giving him 263 at "New Comiskey. That's four more than the Bambino had at Yankee Stadium!
• Jake Peavy struck out 16 Braves batters in only seven innings Monday and was still saddled with a loss. Only one other player in major league history has struck out at least 16 batters in as few as seven innings, and that guy, Randy Johnson, did it three times, all in the 2001 season!
• The Royals lost their 10th consecutive game, and it's already their second 10-game losing streak of the season. The Royals are only the fourth team in the live-ball era to post two losing of streaks of 10 games by the 50-game mark of the season. The others were the 1988 Orioles (began the season with a 21-game losing streak), 1969 Expos (a first-year expansion team that qualified with a single streak of 20 losses), and 1949 St. Louis Browns.
• Another milestone for international baseball: The starting pitchers in Los Angeles on Monday were Jae Seo for the Dodgers and Byung-Hyun Kim for the Rockies. It was the first matchup of starting pitchers born in South Korea in major league history.
• Who says that A-Rod doesn't hit important home runs? His blast off Keith Foulke with two outs in the top of the ninth -- while trailing, 9-1 -- allowed the Yankees to avoid going six straight games without a home run for the first time since 1996, Joe Torre's first season as manager.
• The Reds starting outfielders -- Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. and Austin Kearns -- all hit home runs for the Reds. It's the second time this season that the Reds starting outfielders all connected in the same game; the same trio did it on April 11 at Wrigley. There have been only two other games like that by any other team this year. The Tigers starting outfield (Craig Monroe, Magglio Ordonez Marcus Thames) did it April 6; the Orioles' (Jay Gibbons, Nick Markakis and David Newhan) did it on April 14.
• Ricky Nolasco, a rookie pitcher on the Marlins, hit a home run Monday against the Cubs in his second career start. Two other active pitchers hit a home run in either their first or second career start: John Van Benschoten (currently on the DL) for the Pirates in 2004, in his second start, and Jason Jennings for the Rockies in 2001, in his first start.
• The Sabres scored an ultimately meaningless goal against Carolina with 3 seconds remaining in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday, making the final score 4-3. However, it marked the seventh consecutive game for the Sabres that was decided by one goal (five wins and two losses). That's tied for the third-longest streak in NHL playoff history. The Canadiens (1989) and Mighty Ducks (2003) each played eight consecutive one-goal games; Minnesota (2003) also had a seven-game streak.
• Eric Staal's assist Monday resulted in several statistical achievements. He took over the overall playoff points lead with 17; he extended his points streak to 12 games, the longest single playoff scoring streak since the Canucks' Pavel Bure had a 16-game streak in 1994; and he set the Hartford/Carolina record for most points in one postseason, passing Ron Francis's previous mark (16 in 2002).