Date: April 20, 2014

Elias Says...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to



Pierce buries the Raptors in the fourth quarter

From Elias: After a sluggish start, Paul Pierce made four of his five field-goal attempts and scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to help lead the Nets to a Game 1 victory over the Raptors in Toronto on Saturday afternoon. Pierce only shot .321 from the field in the fourth quarter on the road during the regular season, which was the fourth lowest field-goal percentage in the final quarter in the league (minimum: 50 attempts), ahead of John Lucas III (.263), Wilson Chandler (.291) and Lou Williams (.315).


Valanciunas has a career night in his first playoff appearance

From Elias: Jonas Valanciunas collected 17 points and 18 rebounds in the Raptors' loss to the Nets - superb production for anyone, much less for someone appearing in his first NBA playoff game and who had never produces those totals or better in any regular-season game of his two-season NBA career. Only one other player in NBA history recorded that many points and that many rebounds in his first playoff game after never having reached both of those levels in an NBA regular-season game; the Bulls' Andres Nocioni had 25 points and 18 rebounds in his first NBA playoff game, a victory over the Wizards in 2005. (He had never previously had a game of 17 points and 18 rebounds, or better, in the NBA.)

A rare home loss for the Clippers

From Elias: The Clippers rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit - and briefly took a one point lead when Darren Collison made two free throws to put them ahead, 103-102, with 2:10 remaining - but fell to the Warriors in Game 1 of their playoff series at the Staples Center on Saturday afternoon.

The Clippers were 33-0 at home in games in which they led at any point of the fourth quarter during the regular season. They were the first team to go undefeated with at least 33 wins in those games in a single season since Denver was 34-0 in 2009-10.

Warriors and Clippers meet for the first time in the playoffs

From Elias: The Warriors and Clippers - who have played 198 regular-season games against each other - squared off in a postseason game for the first time on Saturday. Only two other pairs of opposing teams played more regular season games against each other before meeting in the postseason for the first time than the Warriors and Clippers. The Knicks and Pistons played each other 245 times in the regular season before their first playoff encounter in 1984; and the 76ers and Hawks matched up 222 times in the regular season before opposing each other in the postseason in 1980.

Hawks win playoff opener after posting a losing record in the regular season

From Elias: The Hawks - who entered the playoffs with a 38-44 record -defeated the Pacers by a score of 101-93 in Game 1 of their first round playoff series on Saturday. Atlanta is the 41st team to appear in the playoffs after finishing with a losing record during the regular season since the NBA instituted the current playoff format in 1983-84, but only the fifth of those teams to win its first game of the playoff season. The others to do that were the Bullets in 1985-86 (39-43), Lakers in 1992-93 (39-43), Suns in 1996-97 (40-42) and 76ers in 2007-08 (40-42). The Hawks eight-point margin of victory was the largest among those teams, with none of the others winning their opening playoff game by more than five points.

Thunder ride their dynamic duo to a win in their playoff opener

From Elias: Kevin Durant had 33 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Russell Westbrook chipped in with 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists as the Thunder opened their playoff season with a 100-86 win over the Grizzlies. Only one other pair of teammates over the last 17 years each recorded at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in their team's first game of a playoff season: Antoine Walker (22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) and Paul Pierce (40 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists) did it in Boston's playoff opener in 2003.


Four K's in four plate appearances for Trout

From Elias: Max Scherzer allowed one run and three hits and struck out nine Angels - including Mike Trout three times - in Detroit's 5-2 win on Saturday afternoon. Scherzer is the second pitcher to strike out Trout three times in a game, joining Oakland's Tommy Milone (September 23, 2013).

Trout struck out in all four plate appearances on Saturday (Joe Nathan K'd him in his final plate appearance). That marked the first time that Trout struck out in each of his trips to the plate in any game in which he had more than one plate appearance in his career.


Red Sox first triple of the season is a game winner

From Elias: Brock Holt broke a 2-2 tie with a run-scoring triple in the bottom of the seventh inning, Boston's first three-bagger of the season, in the Red Sox 4-2 victory over the Orioles at Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon. The Red Sox streak of 17 consecutive games to start a season without hitting a triple is the third longest in the team's franchise history. Boston went 22 games without a triple to begin the 1968 season and went 19 straight games without a three-bagger at the start of the 1990 season.


Correia fails to beat the Royals again

From Elias: Kevin Correia allowed five runs in six innings of work and took the loss as the Twins dropped a 5-4 decision to the Royals on Saturday afternoon. Correia is now winless in eight career starts (0-4) against Kansas City in his career. Only one other active pitcher has made at least eight starts against the Royals and does not have a win against them: Jose Quintana (0-3).


Lynn's first extra-base hit contributes to a victory

From Elias: Lance Lynn earned his fourth victory of the season and helped his own cause with a run-scoring double in the second inning in the Cardinals' 4-3 win over the Nationals on Saturday afternoon. Lynn's double was the first extra-base hit of his major-league career in what was his 115th lifetime at bat. The only active players who had more at bats without any doubles, triples or homers entering Saturday's action were Ubaldo Jimenez (273) and Tom Gorzelanny (216).

A's rally for three in the ninth to beat Astros

From Elias: The A's scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and beat the Astros, 4-3, in Oakland on Saturday afternoon. Oakland has now won seven games in which they trailed by at least two runs when coming to bat in the ninth inning since the start of the 2011 season. That is tied with Tampa Bay for the most such wins for any team over the last four seasons.


Buehrle continues his incredible start to the season

From Elias: Mark Buehrle pitched seven shutout innings and won his fourth straight start to begin the season in Toronto's victory over the Indians on Saturday. Buehrle is the first pitcher in the Blue Jays' franchise history to win each of his first four starts of a season while allowing one or fewer run in each appearance. Over the last 15 seasons, only three other American League pitchers have started a season in that fashion: Cleveland's Cliff Lee in 2008, Kansas City's Zack Greinke in 2009 and Oakland's Brett Anderson in 2012.


A two-hit shutout and a run-scoring hit for Alvarez

From Elias: Henderson Alvarez tossed a two-hit shutout and drove in a run with a single in the sixth inning to lead the Marlins to a 7-0 win over the Mariners on Saturday. Only one other Marlins pitcher has allowed two or fewer hits in a shutout and produced a run-scoring hit in the same game: Ricky Nolasco, who blanked the Giants on two hits and drove in two runs with a double in a 6-0 win on August 19, 2008.


Braun hits two homers, including the game winner

From Elias: Ryan Braun hit two home runs - including one that gave the Brewers the lead in the ninth inning - to lift Milwaukee to an 8-7 win over the Pirates on Saturday night. It was the 20th time Braun hit two home runs in a game, but it was only the first of those instances in which the second of those homers gave the Brewers a lead in the ninth inning or later.

Rays pound Yankees for the second straight night

From Elias: After pounding out 16 hits in an 11-5 win over the Yankees on Friday, the Rays put up 16 more hits against Yankees pitching in a 16-1 win on Saturday. Tampa Bay is the first team in nearly 26 years to produce at least 10 runs and 16 hits in consecutive games against the Yankees, since the Angels did it against New York on August 27th and 28th in 1988.


Stults stifles Giants

From Elias: Eric Stults allowed only one run in six innings of work and earned the win in the Padres 3-1 victory over the Giants on Saturday night. Stults entered the contest with a 5.21 career ERA against the Giants, which was the highest among active pitchers who have made at least a dozen starts against San Francisco.


Kouzmanoff has at least one hit in each of his 10 games with the Rangers

From Elias: Kevin Kouzmanoff contributed to Texas' 6-3 win over the White Sox with a home run in the eighth inning giving him a 10-game hitting streak to start his career with the Rangers. Only two other players had at least one hit in each of their first 10 games with the Rangers: Fred Manrique (11 in 1989) and Alex Johnson (10 in 1973).


Defensemen provide the offense for the Blackhawks

From Elias: All three of the Blackhawks' goals in their overtime loss in Game 2 of their series against the Blues were scored by defensemen: one each by Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Michael Rozsival. It was only the fourth time in Blackhawks history that three different defensemen scored goals for them in one playoff game. Doug Wilson, Behn Wilson and Jack O'Callahan did that twice in 1985 (Game 1 vs. Detroit and Game 1 vs. Minnesota); and Doug Wilson, Dave Manson and Bob Murray all scored in Game 3 of Chicago's series against St. Louis in 1990.

Blues win first two games in thrilling fashion

From Elias: The Blues have followed a similar script in winning the first two games of their series against the Blackhawks. In Game 1, St. Louis tied the score at 3-3 on a goal by Jaden Schwartz with 1:45 left to play in the third period and won, 4-3, when Alexander Steen scored 26 seconds into the third overtime period. The Blues cut it closer with the tying goal in Game 2, as Vladimir Tarasenko got them even at 3-3 with 6.4 seconds remaining in regulation time, but the overtime winner came relatively quickly with defenseman Barret Jackman scoring after 5:50 of extra time had been played. The Blues are only the third team in NHL history to win consecutive games in one playoff series despite trailing in the last two minutes of the third period in each game. The other teams to do that were the Canadiens in the first two games of their series against the Bruins in 1969, and the Flyers in Games 3 and 4 of their series against the Maple Leafs in 1977.


Pens lose despite rookie heroics

From Elias: Penguins rookie Brian Gibbons scored the first two playoff goals of his NHL career in Pittsburgh's 4-3 double-overtime loss in Game 2 of its series against Columbus. Gibbons was the first rookie to score two goals in a playoff game for the Penguins since 1993, when Shawn McEachern, Jeff Daniels and Martin Straka each did so once.

Blue Jackets record first playoff victory, and it comes in double overtime

From Elias: The Blue Jackets, in their 13th season in the NHL, recorded the first playoff win in franchise history with a 4-3 double-overtime victory at Pittsburgh in Game 2 of their first-round series against the Penguins. The only other teams in NHL history to go through their first 12 or more seasons in the NHL without winning a playoff game are the Thrashers/Jets, who have yet to register a playoff win in their 14 seasons in the league, and the Scouts/Rockies/Devils, whose drought ended in the franchise's 14th season (1987-88).

Columbus is the fourth NHL team whose first playoff win was an overtime victory (also Chicago, Hartford/Carolina and Tampa Bay) but the first whose initial postseason win came in a multiple-overtime game.