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PAUL REMINDS KINGS OF THEIR MAYOR
From Elias: Chris Paul scored 19 points while handing out 15 assists and recording seven steals and five rebounds in the Clippers' 109-94 win over the Kings. It was the third time Paul has had 15+ points, 15+ assists, 7+ steals and 5+ rebounds in a game. He did that twice for the Hornets in 2009. No other player has reached those four statistical milestones in a game since current Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson did it for the Suns on April 19, 1996.
HORNETS FRONT LINE DOMINATES
From Elias: Jason Smith shot 12-for-16 from the floor, scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the Hornets' 99-90 win over the Timberwolves. Smith's teammate Chris Kaman shot 9-for-10 with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The last team with two players to record 20/10 points/rebounds while shooting at least 75% from the field was the Suns on February 27, 2009 against Toronto. In that game, Shaquille O'Neal scored 45 points on 20-for-25 shooting with 11 rebounds, while Lou Amundson added 20 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 9-for-11 from the floor. The only other time two Hornets teammates have done this was on April 4, 2000 in Charlotte against Boston (Anthony Mason 27 pts, 11 reb, 7/9 shooting; Derrick Coleman 25/14, 8/10).
LAKERS BLOWN OUT DESPITE GASOL'S EFFORT
From Elias: Pau Gasol shot 14-for-25 from the field, scoring 30 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the Lakers' 125-105 loss at Phoenix. Only one other player in the last 15 years has recorded at least 30 points, 12 rebounds, and shot at least 55% from the field in a game his team lost by 20+ points. Al Jefferson scored 36 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, and shot 17-for-26 from the floor in a 22-point Utah loss at New York on March 7, 2011.
RONDO DISHING BUT NOT SWISHING
From Elias: Rajon Rondo scored just four points but handed out 12 assists in the Celtics' 86-72 win at Indiana. It was the sixth time in 2011-12 that Rondo has recorded at least 10 assists while scoring five-or-fewer points. That ties the most such games in a season by any Boston player. Rondo himself had six such games (out of 68 total games played) in 2010-11.
HOWARD BECOMES ORLANDO'S ALL-TIME MINUTES LEADER
From Elias: Dwight Howard played 44 minutes in the Magic's 88-82 win at Philadelphia. Howard, with 22,470 career minutes, broke Nick Anderson's franchise record of 22,440. Four other active players hold the minutes played record for their current team: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwyane Wade.
ANOTHER HOT START FOR GRIZ
From Elias: The Grizzlies outscored the Mavericks 29-10 in the first quarter and held on to win, 94-89. It was the third time this season that Memphis has led by 19-or-more points after 12 minutes of play (also February 17 vs. Denver and February 21 vs. Philadelphia). In the franchise's 16 previous seasons, the Grizzlies only outscored their opponent by 19+ in the first quarter four times.
ONLY THE SCHEDULE MAKER CAN END DUPUIS' STREAK
From Elias: Pascal Dupuis extended his NHL season-high point streak to 17 games when he scored the first goal in the Penguins' season-ending 4-2 win over the Flyers. Dupuis is the first NHL player to score points in each of his team's final 17 games of a season since 1992-93, when Boston's Adam Oates finished the season with a 21-game point streak and Winnipeg's Teemu Selanne ended the campaign with a 17-game streak.
MALKIN REACHES 50 IN FINAL GAME
From Elias: Evgeni Malkin reached the 50-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career when he scored the final goal in the Penguins' season-ending win over the Flyers. It was the fifth time in the post-lockout era (i.e., since 2005-06) that an NHL player scored his 50th goal of a season in his team's final game. Dany Heatley did that with Ottawa in both 2005-06 and 2006-07, Jarome Iginla got to 50 goals in Calgary's last game in 2007-08, and Sidney Crosby got in just under the wire for Pittsburgh in 2009-10.
ATKINSON FINISHES ROOKIE SEASON ON A SCORING SPREE
From Elias: Rookie Cam Atkinson scored two goals for the Blue Jackets in their 7-3 win over the Islanders on Saturday, two days after he posted his first NHL hat trick with three goals in a 5-2 Columbus victory at Colorado. Atkinson is the first rookie in Blue Jackets history to score five goals over a two-game span and he's the first rookie on any team to do that since the Islanders' Michael Grabner on Feb. 11-13, 2011.
PURCELL FINISHES HAT TRICK IN OT
From Elias: Ted Purcell completed the second hat trick of his NHL career with an overtime goal that earned Tampa Bay a 4-3 victory at Winnipeg. Purcell is the third player in Lightning franchise history to record a hat trick that included an overtime goal. The others were Doug Crossman (Nov. 17, 1992 at N.Y. Islanders) and Zdeno Ciger (Jan. 15, 2002 at New Jersey).
COYOTES WIN THEIR FIRST DIVISION TITLE
From Elias: The Phoenix Coyotes clinched the first division title in their NHL franchise history with a win at Minnesota. Entering play this season the Coyotes, who entered the NHL as the Winnipeg Jets in 1979-80 and moved to Phoenix in 1996, had the longest current streak without a first-place finish of any NHL team. That dubious distinction now belongs to the Edmonton Oilers, whose last division title was won in 1986-87. The Islanders' current drought (last first-place finish in 1987-88) is only one season shorter than Edmonton's.
ALIU SCORES HIS FIRST TWO GOALS
From Elias: Akim Aliu scored the first two goals of his NHL career to lead the Flames to a 5-2 win against the Ducks on Saturday. Aliu, who made his NHL debut on Thursday, is the first Calgary player to score his first two NHL goals in the same game since Mark Giordano did that at Toronto on Oct. 14, 2006. Giordano was the first Flames player to get his first two NHL goals in one game since Marty Murray in October 1995.
GIONTA'S FIRST GOAL IS A GAME-WINNER
From Elias: Stephen Gionta's tiebreaking goal in the middle of the third period was the first goal of his NHL career and it was the game-winner for the Devils in their season-ending 4-2 victory against the Senators. Gionta, who was playing in his first NHL game this season (he played 12 games for New Jersey in 2010-11), is the second player to score his first NHL goal in the last six seasons with that goal being a game-winner for the Devils. Defenseman Alexander Urbom did the same thing in New Jersey's season finale last year, a 3-2 victory over the Bruins.
HOLTBY LEADS CAPS DOWN THE STRETCH
From Elias: Rookie Braden Holtby made 35 saves in his 4-1 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Holtby played in only one of the Capitals' first 72 games this season (a 5-3 loss to San Jose on February 13), but he appeared in six of Washington's last 10 games and posted a 4-1-1 record, 1.99 goals-against average and .936 save percentage over that span to help the Capitals lock up a playoff spot.
CRAWFORD CLIPS WINGS
From Elias: Corey Crawford recorded his third win in five games against the Red Wings this season with a 3-2 shootout victory in Detroit on Saturday afternoon. Crawford, who won four of his five games versus Detroit in 2010-11, is one of three goaltenders to beat the Red Wings at least three times in each of the last two seasons. The other goaltenders to do that are San Jose's Antti Niemi and Nashville's Pekka Rinne.
PAULINO KNOWS HOW TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
From Elias: Ronny Paulino went 4-for-4 and scored two runs in the Orioles' 8-2 home win over the Twins. Paulino was making his Baltimore debut as well as his first major-league appearance as a designated hitter. Last season, in his first start for the Mets, Paulino went 5-for-7 in an extra-inning game at Philadelphia. In baseball's "live-ball" era (since 1920), only two other players have had 4+ hits in their first start for two different teams. Bill Almon had four hits in his starting debuts for the Expos and Mets (both in 1980), and Tyler Houston did the same for the Cubs in 1996 and the Dodgers in 2002.
Paulino is the first player ever to record 4+ hits in his first start as a designated hitter for the Orioles.
YES, HE'S BEEN AROUND A LONG TIME
From Elias: 49-year-old Jamie Moyer allowed a leadoff home run to Jordan Schafer and was the losing pitcher for the Rockies at Houston. It was the 18th career first-inning leadoff homer given up by Moyer, the most by any active pitcher. Randy Wolf has allowed the second-most with 13. The first player to hit a leadoff home run off Moyer was the Mets' Mookie Wilson at Wrigley Field on August 5, 1986. How long ago was that? It was 30 days before Schafer was born, 81 days before Wilson hit his famous ground ball through Bill Buckner's legs in Game 6 of the World Series, and two years before the first-ever night game at the Friendly Confines.
HARRELL'S SPARKLING SEASON DEBUT
From Elias: Lucas Harrell threw seven shutout innings, striking out four and walking none in the Astros' 7-3 win over the Rockies. The last Houston pitcher to pitch at least seven innings without allowing a run or a walk in his first game of the season was Bob Knepper, who threw a shutout against the Giants in 1986.
ROOKIE RELIEVER SAVES ROOKIE MANAGER'S FIRST WIN
From Elias: Rookie reliever Hector Santiago pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn the save in the White Sox' 4-3 win at Texas, as Chicago rookie manager Robin Ventura earned his first win. Since the save rule went into effect in 1969, no other rookie has saved his team's first win of the season for a first-year manager.
HERNANDEZ RELIEVES FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1996
From Elias: Livan Hernandez came in for starter Jair Jurrjens and threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings in the Braves' 4-2 loss to the Mets. It was Hernandez's first relief appearance since his major-league debut on September 24, 1996. Hernandez has started 474 regular-season games since that date. Only two other pitchers in MLB history have made 400+ starts between two relief outings: Roger Clemens (681 starts from 1984 to 2007) and Steve Carlton (544 from 1971 to 1986).
GORDON DOES IT ALL FOR DODGERS
From Elias: Dee Gordon went 3-for-4, stole three bases, and drove in the winning run with a tenth-inning single in the Dodgers' 6-5 win at San Diego. The last player to record 3+ hits, 3+ stolen bases, and an extra-inning game-winning RBI was the Indians' Kenny Lofton against the Orioles on September 3, 2000 (4 hits including a walk-off home run and 3 SB).
JAYS WIN THEIR FIRST TWO IN EXTRAS
From Elias: The Blue Jays defeated the Indians 7-4 in 12 innings Saturday. On Thursday, Toronto won the longest-ever Opening Day game by the same score in 16 innings. The Jays are the fifth team in major-league history to start 2-0, winning both games on the road in extra innings. The others were the 1908 St. Louis Browns, the 1910 Cleveland Naps, the 1935 Indians and the 2007 Braves. And only two other teams have ever played 12+ innings in their first two games and won both. The 1935 Indians posted 14-inning wins at St. Louis and at Detroit, and the 1969 Royals, playing the first two games in franchise history, won 12 and 17-inning games over the Twins at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City.
TIGERS INFIELD POWERS WIN
From Elias: First baseman Prince Fielder and third baseman Miguel Cabrera each hit two home runs for the Tigers in their 10-0 home win over the Red Sox. It was the fourth time in franchise history that two of Detroit's starting infielders hit multiple home runs in a game. First baseman Hank Greenberg and shortstop Billy Rogell each homered twice against the Yankees in 1935. Third baseman Eric Munson and shortstop Carlos Guillen did the same against the Royals in 2004. And first baseman Chris Shelton and third baseman Brandon Inge pulled the trick against the Cubs in 2006.
GREINKE UNDEFEATED AT HOME FOR BREWERS
From Elias: Zack Greinke pitched seven scoreless innings to earn a 6-0 win for the Brewers over the Cardinals. Greinke improved to 12-0 lifetime in home games for Milwaukee. Only one other pitcher in the last 45 years has won his first 12+ home decisions for a team, all as a starter. Kenny Rogers won his first 15 decisions in Oakland for the Athletics from 1998 to 1999.
YOUNG ROYALS INFIELD LEADS THE WAY
From Elias: 22-year-old first baseman Eric Hosmer and 23-year-old third baseman Mike Moustakas each hit solo home runs in the Royals' 6-3 road win over the Angels. It was the first time in franchise history that two Kansas City infielders under the age of 24 each homered in a game.
HILL HOMERS IN FIRST & SECOND
From Elias: Aaron Hill hit home runs in each of the first two innings in the Diamondbacks' 5-4 home win over the Giants. The only other Arizona players to go deep in both the first and second innings of a game were Chris Young against the Cubs on August 26, 2007, and Mark Reynolds against the Mets on August 3, 2009. The only other major-league second baseman to do this in the last seven years was Ian Kinsler, who did it twice in 2009.
A RARE BIG GAME IN APRIL FOR LAROCHE
From Elias: Adam LaRoche went 4-for-5 with a home run to lead the Nationals to a 7-4 win at Wrigley Field. LaRoche entered play Saturday with a career .206 April batting average, the lowest among active players with at least 400 lifetime at-bats in the month. And he'd only accumulated more than one hit in 26 of his previous 173 April games.
FIGGINS' SECOND STRAIGHT THREE-HIT GAME
From Elias: Chone Figgins had a single, double and triple in the Mariners' 8-7 win at Oakland Saturday night. That was Figgins' second consecutive three-hit game. Last season, Figgins recorded three hits just once in 81 games for Seattle. In his last six seasons with the Angels (2004-2009), Figgins had at least three hits in a game 79 times, fourth-most among MLB switch-hitters over that span.