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MICHAEL, MEET ROGER
Roger Mason scored 31 points off the bench in the Wizards' 117-110 win over the Pacers - the highest total for a Wizards player who didn't start since Michael Jordan scored 34 points off the bench against the Bucks on March 29, 2002. (Believe it or not, Jordan came off the bench in 33 games during his 15-year NBA career.)
CASSELL AT MSG: NEW UNIFORM, SAME OLD STORY
Sam Cassell scored 22 points in the Celtics' 99-93 win over the Knicks, closing out the Madison Square Garden phase of the NBA season with a flourish. Cassell has now enjoyed 20-point games with five different NBA teams at the Garden; he had previously had a pair of 20-point games playing for the Timberwolves, another pair with the Bucks, yet another pair with the Nets, and one such game for the Rockets.
Only one other player has had 20-point games at Madison Square Garden while playing for five different NBA teams. Cliff Robinson did it with the Nets, the Kings, the Cavaliers, the Bullets and the 76ers.
THE OLD 20-POINT, 24-ASSIST CLUB
Ramon Sessions scored 20 points and was credited with 24 assists in the Bucks' 151-135 loss to the Bulls - the most assists by an NBA player in a regulation game in which he scored at least 20 points since John Stockton had 20 points and 28 assists for the Jazz against the Spurs on Jan. 15, 1991.
OBERTO THE HERO
San Antonio won a tight game in Sacramento, 101-98, and which of their star-studded players do you think scored the points that put the Spurs ahead to stay with 1:46 left in the game? Not Ginobili, Parker or Duncan; it was Fabricio Oberto, whose layup on a feed from The Big Fundamental broke a 95-95 tie.
The Elias skinny: It's the first time in Oberto's three seasons in the NBA that he has scored the go-ahead point(s) in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or of an overtime period.
BULLS + BUCKS = 286
The Bulls and the Bucks combined for 286 points on Monday night at the Bradley Center, the highest total in a regulation-length NBA game in more than 17 years - since the Nuggets downed the Warriors, 150-145, on Feb. 23, 1991. The 286-point total was the highest in any regulation game that the Bucks have played in their 40 seasons in the NBA.
A PERFECT THIRTY
LeBron James scored 27 points in the Cavaliers' 91-90 win at Philadelphia as Cleveland clinched a home-court privilege for the first round of the upcoming playoffs. Following the game, coach Mike Brown said that he planned to rest James in the season finale vs. Detroit on Wednesday.
But how about this: By not playing against the Pistons, James would make history. Having scored 2,250 points in 75 games this season, James would go into the books as the first player in NBA history to average exactly 30 points per game over the course of a season!
SUNS WIN WITH BIG COMEBACK
The Suns outscored the Warriors 26-9 over the last seven minutes of the game to overcome an 11-point deficit and win, 122-116, eliminating Golden State from playoff contention. It was the first time all season that Phoenix had won a game after facing a double-digit deficit during the fourth quarter.
SUN RISES IN EAST; ICHIRO GETS 2 HITS vs. ROYALS
The Royals defeated the Mariners, 5-1, but Ichiro Suzuki had two hits to extend his hitting streak against Kansas City to 25 games. It's the longest current streak by any major league player against any opposing team, and it's the second-longest hitting streak ever recorded against the Royals. Jerry Remy holds the record: he hit safely in 29 straight games vs. Kansas City from 1977 to 1982.
McLOUTH BEATS THE DODGERS
Nate McLouth had at least one hit in each of the Pirates first 12 games this year, but was 0-for-4 as he came to bat against the Dodgers' Takashi Saito with two outs and two on in the ninth inning and Pittsburgh down by a run. Moments later, he had a three-run homer, which provided the winning runs in the Bucs 6-4 triumph.
And so McLouth became the first Pirates player to hit safely in each of his first 13 games in a season since 1986, when Johnny Ray posted a 13-game start-of-season streak.
NUMBER 1 FOR LONGORIA
Rare is the baseball player who is the subject of a Sports Illustrated feature article before playing in his first major league game, but Evan Longoria isn't just any rookie. And in just his third major league game, he hit his first big-league homer on Monday off the Yankees' Brian Bruney.
Some pretty good players have hit their first career home run against the Bronx Bombers - Manny Ramirez has hit 492 additional homers since his first one, against the Yanks in 1993; Jim Thome has hit 508 more after number one, against the Yanks in 1991. Then there's Jimmie Foxx, who finished with 534 after starting with one against the Yankees in 1927. But the player who finished his career with the most home runs after connecting for his first big-league homer against the Yankees is none other than the Bambino himself: Babe Ruth, pitching for the Red Sox, hit his first big-league homer off New York's Jack Warhop in 1915, then added 713 more.
RARE DECISIVE PINCH-HOMER FOR YANKS
Know this about the Yankees: Under normal circumstances, they don't use a lot of pinch-hitters. During Joe Torre's 12-year reign, he called on barely 90 pinch-hitters per year, the lowest average for any team in the majors.
But with injuries and slumps causing Joe Girardi to use a rather strange lineup on Monday night, he called on Robinson Cano in the eighth inning of a 7-7 game, and Cano's home run provided the winning margin. The last Yankees player to hit a go-ahead pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning or later was Jorge Posada on June 6, 2001. Trailing the Orioles, 4-3, in the eighth inning in Baltimore, Posada batted for Todd Greene with the bases full and homered, giving the Yankees a 7-4 lead and the eventual win.
MANNY'S 9TH-INNING MAGIC
Manny Ramirez's two-run homer off Joe Borowski in the top of the ninth gave the Red Sox what proved to be the winning runs in a 6-4 victory at Cleveland. It was the ninth time in Manny's career, and the third time since joining the Red Sox, that he has hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning or later. Manny hit one of those homers off a Hall-of-Famer - Dennis Eckersley - and he hit two off Troy Percival.
VLAD MESSES WITH TEXAS...AGAIN!
Vlad Guerrero went 2-for-5 in the Angels 7-4 win over the Rangers, which actually lowered his career batting average against Texas to .405, based on 118 hits in 291 at-bats. Just how over-the-top is that batting average? It's the highest by any major league player against any opposing team (minimum: 200 at-bats) since Lefty O'Doul (playing for the Giants, Phillies and Dodgers) compiled a .409 mark against the Cardinals from 1928 to 1934.
HOW ABOUT THAT? WINGS LOSE LATE LEAD
The Predators scored three goals in the last four minutes to overcome a 3-2 Detroit lead and take Game Three of their first-round series, 5-3, in Nashville. It marked only the third time in Red Wings history that they lost a playoff game in regulation time in which they held a lead with fewer than five minutes left in the third period. The two previous instances were against the New York Americans in 1940 (led 4-2, lost 5-4) and Edmonton in 2006 (led 3-2, lost 4-3).
On Monday night, Ryan Suter tied the score with a goal at 16:03 and Jason Arnott gave Nashville the lead with a goal nine seconds later. Get a load of this: It was the first time in NHL playoff history that a team went from trailing to leading in the third period in less than ten seconds!
The goals came at the expense of Dominik Hasek, and yes, that was the fastest pair of goals ever conceded by Hasek in a playoff game. His previous record for coughing up a couple was 10 seconds - on May 8, 1998 while he was playing for Buffalo and facing the Canadiens.
ALL OVERTIME, ALL THE TIME
Pierre-Marc Bouchard's overtime goal gave the Wild a 3-2 win in Denver and a two-games-to-one lead in a series in which all three games have been decided in overtime.
It's only the fourth time in NHL history that each of the first three games of a playoff series has gone to overtime. The other occasions: Boston vs. Toronto in 1933, Montreal vs. Toronto in the 1951 Finals, and Edmonton vs. Los Angeles in 1991.