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Durant ties Gervin for spot in NBA's single-season top 20 in points
From Elias: Kevin Durant scored 25 points in the Thunder's loss at New Orleans, lifting his season total to 2,551 points - tying George Gervin for the 20th-highest single-season total in NBA history. (Gervin scored 2,551 points for the Spurs in the 1981-82 season.) Durant is just the second NBA player over the last 23 seasons to score that many points; Kobe Bryant scored 2,832 points in the 2005-06 season.
Besides Durant, Bryant and Gervin (the Iceman actually had two separate entries on the top 20 list of most points in a season), the other players on that list are Bob McAdoo, Rick Barry, Nate Archibald, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (two seasons), Michael Jordan (five) and Wilt Chamberlain (six).
How did Bobcats end a 249-game losing streak? Read on...
From Elias: The Bobcats, knowing that a loss at Atlanta combined with Washington's earlier win over Miami would mean that they would face the Heat in a first-round playoff matchup, put together a stunning fourth-quarter comeback effort, capped by a buzzer-beating floater by Chris Douglas-Roberts, to beat the Hawks, 95-93. Atlanta took an 80-65 lead into that final period, and it marked the 250th time in the Bobcats' 10 seasons in the NBA that they had trailed by 15 points at any point of the fourth quarter. Monday's game marked the first time that they had won such a game, having previously produced a won-lost record of 0-249 in those games.
Raptors set team wins record, Bucks tie NBA mark of another sort
From Elias: The Raptors set a franchise record with their 48th win of the season and moved closer to clinching the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff scheme with a 110-100 victory over the visiting Bucks - a defeat that consigned Milwaukee to having the league's worst record this season. But the Bucks, with that loss, also clinched an unhappy designation as only the third team in history to go through an 82-game NBA season without, at any point, winning two straight games. The Clippers did that in the 1986-87 season, as did the Hawks in 2004-05.
Curry's 4th 30/15 game leads to Warriors' 50th win
From Elias: The Warriors defeated the Timberwolves, 130-120, for their 50th win of the season, the first time that they have reached that plateau since Don Nelson's 1993-94 team, led by Chris Webber, Chris Mullin and Latrell Sprewell, produced that total. That had been the second-longest current streak of seasons by an NBA team without a 50-win season; Washington last reached the half-century mark in 1978-79.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors effort on Monday night with 32 points and 15 assists. It was his third consecutive game scoring 30-or-more points, the first time as a pro that he has done that. Moreover, it was the fourth time this season that Curry has had a game with 30 points and 15 assists (all other NBA players combined have only four such games this season). The last NBA player with as many as four games of 30 points and 15 assists in one season was John Stockton, who had four such games with the Jazz in the 1989-90 season.
In King's absence, Wizards take command
From Elias: Bradley Beal scored 12 of his 15 points in the Wizards' 43-point second quarter as Washington took advantage of the absence of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to bury the Heat, 114-93. It marked the Wizards' second decisive victory in Miami's two trips to the nation's capital this season; on January 15, the Wizards took a 114-97 decision, during which they scored 43 points in the first quarter (and, yes, LeBron, Bosh and Dwayne Wade all played in that game). Those were the only two games this season in which Miami allowed as many as 40 points in one quarter.
Z-Bo's 50th game of 30-plus points puts Grizz in playoffs
From Elias: Zach Randolph scored 32 points - his highest total in any of his last 138 regular-season games - to lead the Grizzlies to a 97-91 triumph in Phoenix that clinched the NBA's last available playoff spot for Memphis and send the Suns to elimination. It was the 50th time that Randolph has scored 30-or-more points in an NBA game, but the first time since Dec. 4, 2012, when he threw down 38 points, also against the Suns.
Rockets, like Thunder, sweep 60-win Spurs
From Elias: The Rockets clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 104-98 win over the Spurs. The victory also meant that Houston had swept the four-game season series from San Antonio, which has a won-lost record of 62-19. The only other time that Houston won every game it played against San Antonio in the regular season was back in 1988-89, with a 6-0 record.
But more significantly, the Rockets became the fourth team in NBA history to go 4-0 (or better) against a team that finished the season with at least 60 wins. The 2013-14 Thunder has already done that against San Antonio this season; the other teams to do it were the 1972-73 Celtics, who went 4-0 against the Lakers, and the 1988-89 Knicks, who finished 4-0 against the Pistons. And so the Spurs became the first NBA team with a 60-win season ever to be swept in a season series of four or more games by two different teams in the same season.
Dunleavy leads Bulls to victory
From Elias: Mike Dunleavy led the Bulls with 22 points as they remained alive for the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 108-95 win over the Magic. The Bulls have now won the last five games in which Dunleavy was their leading scorer, including his 22-point effort against the Celtics on March 31, a 21-point game vs. Houston on March 13, a 22-point total at Atlanta on February 25, and a 20-point production against the Hawks on January 4.
Young's 2nd 40-point game off the bench this month
From Elias: Nick Young came off the bench to score 41 points in the Lakers' win over the Jazz¿the second time this month that he has scored 40-or-more points in a game he did not start. Young finished with 40 points off the bench in a loss to the Trail Blazers on April 1.
Young became the first NBA player to have two 40-point games off the bench within a span of three weeks since the Bulls' Ben Gordon did it in the 2006-07 season (40 points on December 27, then 41 on January 2). But to find the last such player before Gordon, you have to go back to the 1973-74 season, when Cazzie Russell did it for the Warriors (41 points on October 26, 46 on November 10).
Michael Carter-Williams makes memorable his last home game as a rookie
From Elias: The 76ers closed out their home schedule with a 113-108 win over the Celtics, in which Michael Carter-Williams provided 21 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. You have to go back 36 years to find the last NBA rookie to hit all four of those markers in a game; Bernard King did that on March 24, 1978, playing for the New Jersey Nets against the Washington Bullets (26 points, 17 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals).
Pirates and Reds: 10 homers and counting
From Elias: The Pirates and the Reds were tied, 7-7, when Monday night's game was suspended due to rain after six innings had been played. By that point, though, the teams had combined for 10 home runs, with Pittsburgh's six round-trippers coming in three back-to-back couplets - the first time such a thing had happened in a major-league game since the Red Sox hit three pairs of back-to-back blasts against the Yankees on June 17, 1977. (That was the night before Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin had their famous near-fight in the Yankees dugout, so keep an eye on things when the Monday's game resumes on Tuesday night at 5:30.)
The Pirates-Reds game is just the 37th among the more than 200,000 games played in the history of Major League Baseball in which 10-or-more home runs have been hit. There have been at least 11 home runs hit in 12 of those games, and the record of 12 homers in a game has been done twice¿both times by the White Sox and the Tigers, in 1995 and 2002.
Braves, blanked for 5 innings, pound out 5 homers to win
From Elias: The Phillies' Roberto Hernandez and the Braves' Ervin Santana had a tidy little pitchers' duel going on Monday night in Philadelphia - the home team led, 1-0, through five innings. Then Evan Gattis belted a two-run homer in the sixth; Gattis, Dan Uggla and Andrelton Simmons connected for three consecutive homers in the eighth; and after the Phillies took the lead with five runs in the last of the eighth, Uggla knocked out a grand-slam homer as the clinching blow in Atlanta's 9-6 victory.
The Braves equaled the major-league record for the most home runs in a game in which they had been held scoreless over the first five innings. Ten other teams have done it, the last being the Rangers against the Athletics in 2006. The first team to do it was the Yankees on Sept. 7, 1931, when the Bombers roused from a five-inning sleep to beat the Philadelphia Athletics, 9-4, helped by home runs by Lyn Lary, Bill Dickey, and Lou Gehrig and two by Babe Ruth.
It was the second time in two days that a major-league team had produced three home runs within a span of three batters; the Angels' Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez did the honors on Sunday against the Mets. Only two other times in the past 20 seasons have the major leagues seen any of its teams hit three consecutive homers on each of two straight days: on Sept. 10-11, 2011 it was done by the Reds and the Nationals, and on June 23-24, 2000 by the Athletics and the Angels.
In 2014: Harper, Rendon, Espinosa; in 1934: Orsatti, Dizzy Dean and Durocher
From Elias: The Nationals clobbered Marlins pitching for six doubles, three triples and two homers among 16 hits in their 9-2 victory in Miami. In fact, three different Washington players - Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa each contributed both a double and a triple to the attack. And that makes some Elias Says-style news, as the Nationals became the first major league team to have three players get both a double and a triple in the same game in nearly 36 years.
The last such instance came on June 4, 1978, when the Royals' George Brett, Al Cowens and Darrell Porter each doubled and tripled against the White Sox. (By the way, the last such instance in the National League is worth a mention only because of the names involved; the Gashouse Gang Cardinals did it on Aug. 3, 1934, thanks to Ernie Orsatti, future Hall-of-Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean, and future Hall-of-Fame manager Leo Durocher!)
Jaso's pinch-hit HRs in Anaheim: an April tradition like no other
From Elias: John Jaso's two-run, ninth-inning, pinch-hit homer turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead and the Athletics went on to defeat the Angels by that score. It was the second pinch-hit homer of Jaso's major-league career; the other one also came in Anaheim, on April 9 of last year.
Jaso is now batting .424 (28 for 66) and has hit six home runs in 66 career at-bats at the Big A in Anaheim; he has a .249 batting average and has hit 18 homers in 1056 at-bats at all other stadiums (one every 58.7 at-bats).
Elias earns first win and first Elias Says shoutout
From Elias: Roenis Elias held the Rangers to one run and five hits over six and two-thirds innings to earn his first major league win in the Mariners' 7-1 win in Texas. The 25-year-old left-hander has put together a neat little 2.16 ERA over his first three starts, the third-lowest among the first three starts for any Mariners pitcher over the last 10 seasons. The two lower ERAs belong to current teammates: King Felix had an ERA of 0.86 in his first three big-league starts in 2005, and James Paxton had a 2.12 ERA in his first three major-league starts last year.
Wieters knocks around Rays
From Elias: Matt Wieters went 3-for-4, scored two runs and drove in another in the Orioles' 7-1 home win over the Rays in the first game between the teams this season. Joe Maddon must have hoped that a different Wieters would show up this season; last year, in 17 games against Tampa Bay, Wieters batted .318 with five homers and 16 RBIs. The only player with either more homers or more RBIs against the Rays last season was Chris Davis, who had six homers and 18 RBIs in 19 games.
Lynn gets 3rd win with best effort of season
From Elias: Lance Lynn scratched out a couple of wins over the Reds while allowing eight runs in 11 innings over his first two starts, but he threw a gem at Milwaukee on Monday night. Lynn allowed only three hits and struck out 11 batters over seven innings in the Cardinals' 4-0 victory. It was the second game of Lynn's big-league career in which he finished with a double-digit strikeout total while not allowing a run; he earned a 1-0 win over the White Sox two years ago, fanning 12 batters over seven and one-third innings.