Date: April 20, 2008

Elias Says...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN.com

NBA

YOU AGAIN?

The Jazz-Rockets series marks the sixth time that Jerry Sloan and Rick Adelman are opposing each other as head coaches in a playoff series, matching the highest total for any two head coaches in NBA history. They tie the record held by Red Auerbach and Joe Lapchick, who squared off against one another in six different playoff series between 1949 and 1955.

Adelman's teams have won four of his five previous playoff series against Sloan's Jazz.

Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz

CAVS DOMINATE WIZARDS

Through all the trash talk and all the talk about trash talk this much we know: The Cavaliers have now won their last seven playoff games against the Wizards. Only six teams in NBA history have had longer playoff winning streaks over a particular opponent; the all-time record is 12 straight wins by the Lakers over the Sonics from 1980 to 1989.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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Paul

PAUL'S PLAYOFF DEBUT

Chris Paul scored 35 points and handed out 10 assists in his first NBA playoff game as the Hornets overcame a 12-point Dallas lead to win their series opener, 104-92. Paul is the first player in league history to have at least 35 points and at least 10 assists in his first NBA playoff game.

Only three other players in NBA history scored 35 or more points in their playoff debut and won the game: Wilt Chamberlain with the Philadelphia Warriors in 1960 (35 points), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the Bucks in 1970 (36 points), and Gary Brokaw with the 1976 Bucks (36 points).

New Orleans Hornets

SUNS COLLAPSE

The Spurs overcame a 16-point Suns lead to win Saturday night - a case of same old, same old for the Suns. Since the start of the 2006 playoffs, there have been only five NBA playoff games in which the winning team overcame a deficit of 16-or-more points and amazingly, Phoenix has lost four of those five games.

The Suns were eliminated in Game Six of the 2006 Western Conference Finals in Dallas after having led by 18 points earlier in the game. Last year, they lost Game Three in the first round to the Lakers in Los Angeles after having led by 17 points, and then dropped Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals at home to the Spurs, after having led by 16 points.

Phoenix Suns

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Duncan

DUNCAN TO THE RESCUE

Tim Duncan's three-point field goal with three seconds remaining in the first overtime period sent the game into a second overtime, where Manu Ginobili scored eight points as the Spurs prevailed over the Suns, 117-115. The Big Fundamental went 0-for-4 on three-point attempts during the regular season.

Duncan finished with 40 points and 15 rebounds - the fourth time that he has produced at least 40 points and at least 15 rebounds in an NBA playoff game. Since Duncan's first such game, on May 21, 2001, he has as many 40-and-15 playoff games (four) as do all other NBA players combined (Shaquille O'Neal and Amare Stoudemire both have a pair of 40-and-15 playoff games over that span).

San Antonio Spurs

MLB

YANKEES' STARTERS STILL SCUFFLING

Yankees starter Ian Kennedy threw 85 pitches to get just eight outs in the Yankees' 6-0 loss in Baltimore. Over the last eight games, Yankees starters have averaged less than 4 innings per start while being cuffed around for a .389 batting average and a 9.59 ERA. That's the highest ERA by Yankees starters over an eight-game span since they had a 9.66 mark over the final eight games of the 2000 season - immediately before they went on a postseason run to win the World Series for the 26th (and most recent) time.

New York Yankees

SCUTARO'S SPECIALTY

Marco Scutaro drew another bases-loaded walk in the Blue Jays' 3-2 win over the Tigers, already his second this season and his eighth since the start of the 2005 season. That's the sixth-highest total for any big-leaguer over the last three-plus seasons - the same number of bases-loaded walks drawn by sluggers Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Chipper Jones over that span!

Toronto Blue Jays

METS STREAKING IN A COUPLE OF WAYS

David Wright drove home two runs in the top of the first inning and the Mets went on to defeat the Phillies, 4-2. The Mets have scored in the first inning in each of their last seven games, one game shy of the team record set in June 2006.

The Mets have now won five straight games, and in each of those games their opponent started a left-handed pitcher. That's one game shy of the single-season modern National League record for such a streak - facing an opposing lefty and winning the game; the Cardinals won six straight games, each against a lefty starter, in July 1968. But it looks like the Mets won't get a chance to tie the record; Philadelphia's scheduled starter for tonight's game is right-hander Adam Eaton.

New York Mets

LEE FIRST IN MAJORS TO 7 HOMERS

Derek Lee became the first major leaguer to reach seven home runs with a first-inning blast off Tom Gorzelanny, and the Cubs went on to a 13-1 romp over the Pirates. With seven homers in the Cubs' first 17 games, Lee has produced a quick start never achieved by either of the team's 500-home run hitters, Ernie Banks and Sammy Sosa.

Moises Alou was the last Cubs' player to hit his seventh homer within the team's first 17 games of a season; he did that in 2004. Before that, you go back to Dave Kingman in 1979.

Chicago Cubs

ALL MANNY ALL THE TIME

Manny Ramirez's two-run homer in the eighth inning provided the winning margin as the Red Sox downed the Rangers, 5-3. That lifted Manny's RBI total to 20, and puts him within hailing distance of his own team record for RBIs in April; Manny drove in 31 runs in April 2001.

Just 19 games into the season, Ramirez already has nine go-ahead RBIs and six game-winning RBIs; each of those totals leads the majors.

Boston Red Sox

NHL

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Briere

BRIERE SHINES, EVEN IN LOSS

Daniel Briere assisted on both Flyers goals in the team's loss to Washington. Briere now has nine points in the series (five goals, four assists), matching the most points he has ever had in one playoff series. Briere had nine points (three goals, six assists) in Buffalo's six-game first-round series win over Philadelphia in 2006.

And you might stump your buddy on this one (as long as your buddy is not Barry Melrose): Briere has 43 points in the playoffs over the last three years (that is, since 2006), the highest total by any NHL player over that span (Chris Pronger stands second with 41 points).

Philadelphia Flyers

BRUINS & CANADIENS HEAD TO ANOTHER GAME SEVEN

The Bruins scored four third-period goals, overcoming a Montreal lead and beating the Canadiens, 5-4, to force Game Seven. This will be the seventh time that the Canadiens and the Bruins will settle a playoff series in Game Seven which will be the highest total between any pair of teams not only in the NHL, but also in the NBA or Major League Baseball. Two other pairs of rivals have gone to Game Seven six times: the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings in the NHL, and the Celtics and the 76ers in the NBA.

Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens


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