Date: April 4, 2011

Elias Says...

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

NBA

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Hill Jr.

BENCH COMES THROUGH FOR SAN ANTONIO

From Elias: The Spurs snapped their six-game losing streak thanks to George Hill (29 points), Matt Bonner (16) and Gary Neal (15), who posted San Antonio's top three point totals, all off the bench. It was the second time this season that the Spurs played a game in which their top three scorers, outright, were all non-starters. It happened just over two weeks ago in a victory over the Bobcats. Prior to that, San Antonio had won only two games in that fashion in its NBA history.

San Antonio Spurs

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Nash

SUNS LOSE WITHOUT NASH

From Elias: Steve Nash was sidelined with the flu as the Suns lost to the Spurs. Nash has missed 32 games since he rejoined Phoenix in 2004-05. The Suns are 10-22 (.313) over that span in games without Nash, compared to 359-177 (.670) in games Nash has played.

Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs

ANOTHER ROAD WIN FOR THE WIZARDS

From Elias: The Wizards (3-35 away from home) posted their second straight road win by defeating the Bobcats in Charlotte. Washington had played 70 consecutive road games without winning two straight, the longest such streak for any NBA team since the SuperSonics/Thunder played 70 straight road games without winning two in a row from December 2007 through October 2009.

Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards

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Howard

ONLY NINE REBOUNDS FOR HOWARD

From Elias: Dwight Howard scored 31 points but was limited to nine rebounds in Orlando's loss at Toronto. That broke Howard's streak of 33 straight games with double-digit rebounds, the second-longest streak of its kind in the NBA this season (Kevin Love had a 56-game streak) and the longest in Magic franchise history. The only other active player ever to have such a long streak of consecutive games with at least 10 rebounds is Kevin Garnett (37 games spanning the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons with Minnesota).

Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic

CELTICS CAN'T MISS

From Elias: The Celtics made 64.1 percent of their field-goal attempts (41 of 64) in their 101-90 win against the Pistons. It was the fifth-highest field-goal percentage for any team in an NBA game this season. Boston owns the highest single-game mark in the league this season (65.8%, 50-for-76, against the Wizards on Nov. 17).

Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons

KNICKS FINALLY BEAT THE CAVS

From Elias: The Knicks salvaged the final game of their season-series against the Cavaliers with a victory on Sunday, after losing their previous three games against Cleveland. The Cavaliers (15-61) failed in their attempt to become the third team in NBA history to lose as many as 60 games in a season in which they managed to sweep a season-series of at least four games against an opponent. The 1997-98 Mavericks (20-62) were 4-0 against the Vancouver Grizzlies (19-63) and the 2003-04 Magic (21-61) went 4-0 against the Wizards (25-57).

Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks

TWO STREAKS END FOR THE LAKERS

From Elias: The Nuggets snapped the Lakers' nine-game winning streak on Sunday while ending another streak by Los Angeles. The Lakers had committed fewer turnovers than their opponent in each of their previous 13 games. That was the longest streak of its kind for Los Angeles since the NBA began officially tracking turnovers in 1970, and it was the longest such streak for any NBA team since Cleveland had fewer turnovers than its opponent in 13 consecutive games in 2008-09.

Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets

JAZZ IN FREE FALL

From Elias: Utah dropped a decision to the Kings to extend its losing streak to eight games. This from a Jazz team that won seven straight games from November 20 through December 1. Utah is the eighth team in NBA history to lose eight or more consecutive games after fashioning a winning streak of at least seven games earlier in the same season. The only other team to do that in the last 17 seasons was the 2008-09 Pistons.

Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings

MLB

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Kinsler

KINSLER HOMERS IN FIRST AT-BAT

From Elias: After hitting first-inning leadoff home runs on Friday and Saturday, Ian Kinsler walked to lead off the bottom of the first inning on Sunday, delaying his third home run of the season until the third inning. Kinsler became the first player in major-league history to homer in his first official at-bat in each of his team's first three games of a season.

Texas Rangers

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Kinsler

THREE GO DEEP IN FIRST THREE GAMES OF THE SEASON

From Elias: Both Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler homered in all three games of the Rangers' weekend series against the Red Sox. They became the first pair of teammates in major-league history to each homer in each of their team's first three games of a season. Kinsler, Cruz and the Yankees' Mark Teixeira are the second trio of major-leaguers to homer in their team's first three games of a season in the same year. Gary Sheffield (Braves), Derrek Lee (Marlins) and Lance Berkman (Astros) did it in 2002.

Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox

BIG BALL IN TEXAS

From Elias: The Rangers hit 11 home runs against the Red Sox over the weekend. In major-league history, only one other team hit as many as 11 home runs over its first three games of a season. The Tigers slammed 15 long balls through their first three games in 2006 (two games at Kansas City and one at Texas).

Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox

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Teixeira

HOT START FOR TEIXEIRA

From Elias: Mark Teixeira hit his third homer in as many games for the Yankees in Sunday's loss to the Tigers. Teixeira became the fourth player to homer in his first three games of a season for the Yankees, joining Joe DiMaggio (June 1949), Dave Kingman (Sept. 1977) and Dave Winfield (April 1983), but Teixeira and Winfield are the only Yankees to homer in each of the team's first three games of a season.

New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers

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Garcia

EARLY SHUTOUT FOR GARCIA

From Elias: Jaime Garcia whitewashed the Padres on Sunday, allowing only four hits in his complete-game, 2-0 triumph. Garcia was the first Cardinals pitcher to hurl a shutout within the team's first three games of a season since Joaquin Andujar threw a 2-0 shutout at Candlestick Park in St. Louis' third game in 1984.

San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals

ORIOLES HAVEN'T TRAILED THIS SEASON

From Elias: The Orioles swept their season-opening series against the Rays by scores of 4-1, 3-1 and 5-1 without falling behind in any of those games. It was only the second time since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954 that the Orioles began a season with three games in which they never trailed. They started the 1967 season with three such wins (two vs. the Twins and one against the Kansas City Athletics). A good omen for the O's: the only team that began the 2010 season in that fashion was the eventual World Series winner, the Giants.

Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays

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Hudson

HUDSON HOLDS FORM AGAINST NATS

From Elias: The Braves defeated Washington as Tim Hudson improved his career record against the Nationals franchise to 11-2. Hudson defeated Montreal while pitching for the Athletics in 2003; all of his other appearances against the franchise have been for the Braves against Washington. Hudson's .846 career winning percentage against the Expos/Nationals is the highest for any pitcher with at least ten wins against that franchise. The next-highest marks (minimum: 10 wins) belong to Jerry Reuss (.800, 20-5) and Claude Osteen (.800, 12-3).

Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves

TREANOR AND BRETT

From Elias: Matt Treanor's three-run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning gave the Royals a 12-9 triumph over the Angels. The only other player to hit a walk-off homer for the Royals with at least two runners on base in the 13th inning or later was George Brett, whose 14th-inning shot off Seattle's Mike Parrott lifted Kansas City to a 7-5 win on Sept. 30, 1980.

Kansas City Royals, Anaheim Angels

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Nathan

NATHAN BACK ON THE BUMP

From Elias: Joe Nathan returned to the mound for the first time since 2009 and nailed down the Twins' 4-3 win at Toronto despite allowing one run on two hits in his one inning of work. Nathan had been charged with a run while allowing more than one hit in only one of his previous 74 saves, dating back to May 2006.

Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins

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Oswalt

OSWALT WINS SEASON DEBUT

From Elias: Roy Oswalt began his season on the right foot, earning the victory as the Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Astros. Oswalt won his first start of a season for the first time since 2006. In the interim (2007-2010), Oswalt went 0-3 despite a 3.46 ERA in his four season debuts.

Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros

DAILY-DOUBLE FOR CABRERA

From Elias: Orlando Cabrera homered in the sixth inning to give the Indians a lead they would never relinquish in their triumph over the White Sox, after participating in a triple play in the field two innings earlier. It marks the third consecutive season in which a major-league player hit a go-ahead homer in the same game in which he had either an assist or a putout on a triple play. The Mets' Angel Pagan did it in 2010 (May 19), as did Milwaukee's Prince Fielder in 2009 (Sept. 6). Prior to Fielder, no player had done that since Colorado's Jose Hernandez in 2003 (April 10).

Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians

REDS SWEEP DIVISION RIVAL TO BEGIN THE SEASON

From Elias: The Reds are undefeated after taking three games from the Brewers. It's only the second time in the last 31 seasons that Cincinnati has begun a season by sweeping a series of three of more games against a division rival. Since 1981, the only other year in which the Reds did that was 1990, when they started the season with a three-game sweep at the Astrodome.

Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers

PIRATES LOVE WRIGLEY FIELD

From Elias: The Pirates won two of three games in Chicago to begin the year. Pittsburgh is 7-5 at Wrigley Field over the last two seasons, compared to 12-60 in road games against all other teams combined over that span (2010-2011).

Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates

NHL

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Lundqvist

HENRIK IS KING OF THE ROAD

From Elias: Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers earned two valuable points in their battle for an Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 3-2 shootout win at Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. Lundqvist is 6-0 in road shootouts this season, allowing only one goal on the 20 shots he's faced, and he's 10-1 in his last 11 road tiebreakers, dating back to March 2009. "King Henrik" has been far from perfect in shootouts at Madison Square Garden this season, winning only one of four.

Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers

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Gragnani

GRAGNONI BREAKS THE ICE

From Elias: Rookie defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani scored the first goal of his NHL career to earn the Sabres a 2-1 overtime win at Carolina. Gragnani is the first player ever whose first NHL goal was an overtime winner for the Sabres. By a strange coincidence, the last three times a player has recorded his first NHL goal in OT it's been in a game involving the Hurricanes. The previous two instances were by Carolina's Jamie McBain (March 20, 2010 at Pittsburgh), and the Rangers' Mats Zuccarello against the Hurricanes (Jan. 5, 2011).

Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes

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Smith

SMITH EARNS SHUTOUT

From Elias: Tampa Bay goaltender Mike Smith recorded his first shutout of the season with a 31-save, 2-0 win over the Blackhawks in Chicago. It was the 11th shutout of Smith's NHL career but only the second in which he faced more than 30 shots on goal. Smith made 32 saves in a 1-0 shutout victory for Dallas against Anaheim on February 10, 2007.

Tampa Bay Lightning, Chicago Blackhawks

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Berglund

PLAYING OUT THE STRING

From Elias: Patrik Berglund scored two goals to help the Blues beat the Blue Jackets, 6-1, on Sunday in a matchup of Central Division teams already eliminated from playoff contention. This season, Berglund has scored 12 goals in 22 games versus the Blues' four Central Division rivals (Columbus 4, Detroit 4, Chicago 2, and Nashville 2) but only 10 goals in 56 games against all other NHL teams.

Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues


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