Special to ESPN.com
TURKOGLU WINS MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Hedo Turkoglu won the NBA's most improved player. Turkoglu's scoring average increased from 13.3 in 2006-07 to 19.5 in 2007-08 (+6.2 points per game). Only three players had a larger increase in scoring average from last season to this season (minimum: 70 games played each season): Rudy Gay (+9.3, 10.8 to 20.1), Mike Dunleavy (+6.3, 12.8 to 19.1) and Francisco Garcia (+6.3, 6.0 to 12.3) .
HOWARD HAS THIRD 20/20 GAME OF SERIES
Dwight Howard had 21 points and 21 rebounds as the Magic defeated the Raptors and advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs. It was Howard's third game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in this series. Only four other players in NBA history had three 20/20 games in one playoff series, none since Wilt Chamberlain did it for the Lakers against the Knicks in the 1972 NBA Finals. Wilt had three-or-more 20/20 games in a playoff series 14 times in his NBA career, Bill Russell did it six times, Bob Pettit and Elgin Baylor did it once each.
LAKERS RECORD ANOTHER SWEEP
The Lakers completed a sweep of the Nuggets with a 107-101 win Monday night. It was the 13th time the Lakers have swept a best-of-seven series, by far the most for any NBA franchise. No other NBA franchise has more than five sweeps in a best-of-seven series.
JOHNSON SCORES 20 POINTS IN FOURTH QUARTER
Joe Johnson scored 35 points, 20 in the fourth quarter, as the Hawks beat the Celtics in Game Four to even the best-of-seven series. Johnson is the first player to score 20-or-more points in the fourth quarter of an NBA playoff game since Dirk Nowitzki did it for Dallas against Phoenix in Game Five in 2006.
BOBCATS HIRE LARRY BROWN?
The Associated Press is reporting that the Charlotte Bobcats will name Larry Brown as its new head coach at a press conference on Tuesday. If it's true, it will be the ninth different NBA team that Brown will coach, the most different teams coached/managed for any man in any of the four major North American professional sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL). When Brown coaches his first game with the Bobcats he will break a tie with Mike Keenan and Roger Neilson, who both coached eight different NHL teams.
PRICE IS DROPPING
Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is 2-4 with a 3.55 goals against average, .869 save percentage and one shutout in his last six games. Price was 3-1 with a 1.20 goals against average, .957 save percentage and one shutout in his first four games of the 2008 playoffs.
FLYERS IN DRIVER'S SEAT?
The Flyers beat the Canadiens to take a two-games-to-one lead in their best-of-seven series. The winner of Game Three has won 164 of 239 best-of-seven NHL playoff series that were tied through two games (69%), though the Game Three winner has won only three of the last seven such series and only one of three in the 2008 playoffs: Calgary-San Jose (Flames won Game Three, Sharks won the series), Minnesota-Colorado (Wild won game Three, Avalanche won the series), Philadelphia-Washington (Flyers won Game Three and the series).
FLYERS BEST AT HOME IN PLAYOFFS SINCE 2004
The Flyers are now 13-3 (.813) in home playoff games since 2004, the best such record in the NHL over that span. Edmonton (8-3, .727), Carolina (10-4, .714) and Toronto (5-2, .714) are next.
POSADA TO DISABLED LIST FOR FIRST TIME IN HIS MAJOR LEAGUE CAREER
Jorge Posada was placed on the disabled list Monday. It's the first trip to the DL for Posada, who has 11 years, 114 days of service. Only five active players with at least 10 years of service have never been on the DL: Brad Ausmus, Johnny Damon, Andruw Jones, Livan Hernandez, and Derek Lowe.
Posada started 1019 games as a catcher over the past eight seasons (2000-2007), to rank second in the majors during that time to Jason Kendall (1119). Rounding out the top five: Brad Ausmus, 967 games; Ramon Hernandez, 926 games; and Ivan Rodriguez, 901 games.
ZITO DEMOTED TO THE BULLPEN
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy has decided to demote Barry Zito to the bullpen. Zito won 95 games for Oakland from 2001 to 2006, fourth-most in the majors over that span, behind Randy Johnson (101), Roy Oswalt (98) and Curt Schilling (97).
Zito has 19 losses since joining the Giants as a free agent prior to the 2007 season, tying him with Jose Contreras for the most in the major leagues over that span.
LAFFEY LOSING PITCHER DESPITE FIVE NO-HIT INNINGS
Aaron Laffey, who had a no-hitter through five innings, was the losing pitcher for the Indians Monday night. Laffey is the first pitcher to get a loss in a game in which he had a no-hitter through at least five innings since Jon Lieber did it while pitching for the Cubs against the Cardinals on September 20, 1999. Lieber threw 6? no-hit innings that day before faltering and being charged with the loss.
HAREN IS THIRD ARIZONA PITCHER TO REACH FOUR WINS
Dan Haren was the winning pitcher for Arizona Monday night, his fourth win of the season. The Diamondbacks have three pitchers with four-or-more wins this season (Brandon Webb and Micah Owings are the others). Arizona is the fifth major league team in the last 40 years to have three pitchers with four-or-more wins in the first 26 games of a season. The four other teams to do this since 1969: the Dodgers in 1977 (Rick Rhoden, Doug Rau and Don Sutton), Blue Jays in 1987 (Jimmy Key, Mark Eichhorn and Jim Clancy), Braves in 2000 (Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Bruce Chen), Cardinals in 2005 (Chris Carpenter, Jason Marquis and Mark Mulder).