<
>

Elias Says ...

6/9/2006 - MLB NBA

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

NBA
Jason Terry went 13-for-18 (72 percent) from the floor Thursday in his first appearance in the NBA Finals. That's the fourth-highest field-goal percentage in a player's first NBA Finals appearance, and the highest since Adrian Dantley went 14-for-16 (88 percent) in his first Finals game for the 1988 Pistons (minimum: 10 field goals made).

• The Heat scored only 12 points in the fourth quarter, tying the second-fewest fourth-quarter points in a NBA Finals game in the shot-clock era. In Game 3 of the 1998 Finals, the Jazz scored only nine fourth-quarter points against the Bulls. Two other teams had 12: Utah in Game 1 of the 1998 Finals and the Bulls in Game 6 of the 1993 Finals in Phoenix. (Each of those two teams did it in wins).

Shaquille O'Neal went 1-for-9 from the free-throw line. The only player who has had such a poor free-throw percentage in a NBA Finals game (minimum: five attempts) is Wilt Chamberlain, who did it three times (1-for-11 in 1970 Game 7, 1-for-10 in 1970 Game 1 and 1-for-9 in 1973 Game 2).

Dwyane Wade, the only other Heat player to take a free throw Thursday, went only 6-for-10 from the line. The Heat's 7-for-19 (37 percent) performance was the lowest free-throw percentage by a team in an NBA Finals game. The previous worst was 42 percent (5-for-12) by the Bulls against the Jazz in Game 4 of the 1997 Finals.

• Game 1 of the 2006 Finals was a lot like Game 1 of the 2005 Finals in that the road team had a large lead and wound up losing by a fairly wide margin. The Heat led by as many as 11 points Thursday but lost by 10 in Dallas. Last year the Pistons had a 13-point lead in San Antonio and lost by 15.

• Pat Riley entered this series with 149 more career playoff wins than Avery Johnson (167 to 18). That's the largest differential in playoff victories by opposing coaches in NBA Finals history. The previous most was the 141 playoff wins separating Phil Jackson (152) and Byron Scott (11) entering the 2002 Finals in which the Lakers swept the Nets in four games.

• It has been 12 years since Riley last made an appearance in the NBA Finals as a head coach (1994 with New York vs. Houston). That's by far the most seasons between NBA Finals appearances by any head coach in NBA history. The next-longest gap was nine years, by K.C. Jones from 1975 to 1984.

• Dallas and Miami are each making their first appearance in the NBA Finals. This is only the sixth time in the league's 60-year history that two teams are making their first appearance in the Finals in the same season. That previously happened in 1947, the first year of the league (Philadelphia vs. Chicago), 1949 (Minnesota vs. Washington), 1951 (Rochester vs. New York), 1957 (Boston vs. St. Louis) and 1971 (Milwaukee vs. Baltimore).

MLB
• The Tigers, who went 71-91 last season, increased their record to 38-22 with their win over the White Sox. In the last 50 years only two other teams have won as many of their first 60 games as the Tigers after finishing at least 20 games under .500 the previous season. The 1993 Phillies started 43-17 after going 70-92 in 1992 and the 2001 Twins began 39-21 after going 69-93 in 2000.

Adam Loewen made the first start of his major league career on Saturday when he drew Randy Johnson as his mound opponent. It didn't get any easier for Loewen on Thursday when he faced Roy Halladay. Loewen is be the fourth pitcher to be opposed by a different former Cy Young Award winner in each of his first two starts in the majors, joining Jay Ryan (1999 against Pedro Martinez and Pat Hentgen), Bill Travers (1974-75 vs. Mike Cuellar and Jim Perry) and Amaury Telemaco, the only pitcher to make each of his first three major league starts against different former Cy Young Award winners (1996 against Doug Drabek, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine).

And for the record, no pitcher in major league history made his first two starts against the actual Cy Young.

• Ichiro had three more hits Thursday, giving him 24 hits in 42 at-bats over his last nine games, a .571 clip which has raised his season average from .323 to .362. That's the most hits that any major league player has had over nine games since Ichiro himself had 25 hits over nine games in July/August 2004.

Joe Mauer went 9-for-12 in the series against the Mariners, continuing his hot streak. Over the last three weeks (since May 19) Mauer is hitting .507 (36-for-71), the highest in the major leagues over that time. Ichiro is batting .466 (41-for-88), second-highest. Scott Rolen, who is hitting .431 over the last three weeks, is a distant third in the major leagues over that time.

• The Royals ended their nine-game home losing streak by overcoming a seven-run deficit against the Rangers. Only one other team in major league history had ended as long a home losing streak by overcoming a deficit as large as the Royals faced. On May 15, 1977, the Braves defeated the Cardinals 15-12 by overcoming a nine-run deficit to end a 10-game losing streak at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Orlando Hernandez threw a complete game victory over the team with which he began the 2006 season, the Diamondbacks. The last pitcher with a complete game win over a team he had pitched for earlier that season was Woody Williams, who did it for the Cardinals against the Padres in 2001.

Bill Hall hit his season extra-inning, game-ending home run of the season Thursday. He also had one on May 14 against the Mets. The only other player in Brewers history with two extra-inning game-ending home runs in one season was who else but Robin Yount, who did it on April 18 and April 21, 1991.