Special to ESPN.com
AN MVP FOR CLEVELAND
LeBron James was announced as the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the 2008-2009 season on Monday. From the time Jim Brown won the NFL's MVP award in 1965 (his final season) until Monday, the only Cleveland player in the NBA, NHL (yes, Cleveland had an NHL team, nicknamed the Barons, for two seasons in the 1970s), NFL or Major League Baseball to win his league's MVP award was quarterback Brian Sipe, for the Browns, in 1980. (Using the Associated Press MVP for the NFL and the Hart Trophy for the NHL.)
HOWARD DOMINATES GAME ONE
Dwight Howard had 16 points and 22 rebounds in Orlando's Game One win at Boston on Monday night. The last visiting player with at least 16 points and 22-or-more rebounds in a playoff win against the Celtics was Jerry Lucas, who had 21 points and 27 rebounds for the Cincinnati Royals on March 23, 1966 at the Boston Garden.
ALLEN AND RONDO CAN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT
Ray Allen (2-for-12) and Rajon Rondo (2-for-12) combined to shoot 4-for-24 (.167) from the field in Monday night's loss to Orlando. That's the lowest field-goal percentage for two Celtics' teammates in a playoff game since Robert Parish (2-for-11) and John Bagley (1-for-13) were 3-for-24 (.125) in a win against Cleveland on May 8, 1992. (Minimum: 10 FGA by each player.)
YAO IS PERFECT FROM THE LINE
Yao Ming made all 10 of his free-throw attempts in the Rockets' win over the Lakers on Monday night. In the last eight seasons only one other starting center was 10-for-10 or better from the line in a playoff game: Boris Diaw (11-for-11), also against the Lakers, on May 2, 2006.
DUELING HAT TRICKS
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby each scored three goals in the Capitals' 4-3 win over the Penguins in Game 2 of their series. It was only the fourth time in NHL history that players on both teams had hat tricks in the same playoff game. The previous instances were on April 14, 1983 (Edmonton's Mark Messier and Calgary's Paul Reinhart), April 26, 1993 (Washington's Al Iafrate and the Islanders' Ray Ferraro) and April 25, 1996 (Colorado's Joe Sakic and Vancouver's Trevor Linden) .
Ovechkin had more than twice as many shots on goal as Crosby (12-5). It was the second time that Ovechkin had at least a dozen shots on goal in a game in this year's playoffs; he had 13 shots in the Capitals' Game 1 loss to the Rangers in the first round. Before this year, no NHL player had put as many as 12 shots on goal in a non-overtime playoff game since Kevin Stevens had a dozen shots for Pittsburgh against Washington in a first-round game in 1992.
GREINKE KEEPS ROLLING
Zack Greinke shut out the White Sox on Monday night, improving his record to 6-0 and lowering his ERA to 0.40. Only two other pitchers won each of their first six starts of a season while posting an ERA of 0.40 or lower: Walter Johnson for the 1913 Senators (0.35 ERA) and Fernando Valenzuela for the 1981 Dodgers (0.33 ERA). (Earned runs were first compiled in 1912 in the National League and 1913 in the American League.)
LEFTY LESTER AND LEFTY GROVE
Jon Lester struck out 10 batters in Boston's win at the new Yankee Stadium on Monday night. Prior to Lester, the last Red Sox left-hander to strike out at least 10 Yankees in one game was Lefty Grove, who whiffed 11 New York batters at Fenway Park on September 6, 1936.
RED SOX BUILD A PICKET FENCE
In their first game at the new Yankee Stadium the Red Sox scored one run in each of the first four innings, on their way to a 6-4 victory. The Red Sox scored in each of the first four innings of a game only once in their 773 games at the previous Yankee Stadium - in an 8-1 win on June 21, 1967.
METS RALLY IN ATLANTA
The Mets rallied from a 3-0 deficit and beat the Braves at Turner Field on Monday night, 6-4. The Mets had lost their last 47 games in Atlanta in which they trailed by at least three runs. Their last victory on the road against the Braves after falling behind by three-or-more runs was on July 13, 1997, when they allowed six runs in the first inning, but rallied - with the help of two home runs by Butch Huskey - to win 7-6.
The Mets beat the Braves 6-4 on Monday night, but not before their nemesis made his usual mark. Chipper Jones' home run off J.J. Putz was the 40th of his career against the Mets. Jones, who has 42 home runs against the Phillies, becomes the fourth player to hit at least 40 home runs against those two teams, joining three Hall of Famers -- Hank Aaron, Willie Stargell and Willie McCovey.
HOWARD TIES SCHMIDT
Ryan Howard hit his seventh career grand slam on Monday night, tying Mike Schmidt for the highest total in Phillies history. Howard, who also hit a slam last Monday night, joins Russ Wrightstone as the only players in Phillies history to hit two grand slams within the first 25 games of a season. Wrightstone did it in 1927, for a Phillies team that finished the season 51-103.
BARFIELD IS EXTRA SPECIAL
Josh Barfield, after hitting a single in the 10th inning, added a run-scoring single in the 12th inning to provide the game-winning RBI in Cleveland's 9-7 win against Toronto on Monday night. Barfield is now 11-for-18 (.611) in his career in extra innings, the highest such average for any active player (min: 10 AB in extra innings) .
46 HOME RUNS IN 25 GAMES FOR THE RANGERS
The Rangers hit two home runs in their win against Seattle on Monday night, bringing their season total to 46. Only three teams in major-league history hit more home runs in their first 25 games of a season: the 2000 Cardinals (55), 1997 Indians (49) and 2003 Yankees (48) .
MARKAKIS MAKES A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
Nick Markakis hit a three-run homer in the first inning of Baltimore's 8-4 win over Tampa Bay on Monday night. Markakis is now 10-for-23 (.435) with a major league-leading 10 RBIs in the first inning this season. Last year, Markakis had 15 first-inning RBIs in the entire season.
CRAWFORD SWIPES ANOTHER ONE
Carl Crawford extended his stolen-base streak to seven games on Monday night against Baltimore. That's the longest streak for any major-league player since Corey Patterson had a steal in nine straight games for the Orioles in 2006.
AND THEN THERE WERE TWO
Brandon Inge and Adrian Gonzalez had each reached base in every one of their team's games this season until their streaks ended on Monday night. That leaves Nick Markakis and Carlos Beltran as the only major-league players who have reached base in every one of their team's games this year.