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Answered Sports Questions

Q: What is the difference between a no hitter and a perfect game?

A: (Mike) A pitcher throws a no hitter when he pitches a complete game and does not surrender any hits. He may, however, surrender walks, hit batters by a pitch, or people may reach on an error.

A perfect game occurs when no one reaches base for any reason. By definition the pitcher must complete the game, even if it goes beyond nine innings.

Both are huge accomplishments for a pitcher, but a perfect game is about as rare as it gets in sports. It has only happened 20 times.

Some interesting cases include times when a pitcher has pitched the first nine innings perfectly and then surrender a hit or walk in the tenth or later. There have also been occurrences of pitchers throwing no-hitters and losing the game. A few walks and errors can lead to runs being scored without a hit ever being recorded.

Q: What is a Triple Double?  I hear this said about basketball players all the time what does it mean?

A: (Mike) A Triple Double happens when a basketball player racks up double digit stats in three different categories. Usually these are points, rebounds, and assists, but technically a guy could have ten steals and/or ten blocks to round out the three stat categories.

A guy who scores 10 points, gets 10 rebounds, and makes 10 assists earns a triple-double. (A player earns an assist when he passes the ball to the guy who scores the basket.)

It's a pretty big deal because in order to do so well in three categories, the player really had to do well in several areas of the game. Most players go their whole career without having such a night.

Q: How many times have the Celtics played the Lakers... in the finals? Everyone either seems to want to see it again for history or doesn't want to see it because they're tired of it. What's the deal?

A: (Mike) Good question. That's all anyone in the NBA world was talking about by Sunday [May 23th 2010] when you posted this question. Now the question is: "how many times have the Celtics and Lakers both choked in the Conference Finals?" (Both the Celtics and Lakers have lost two games in a row since your Sunday post.

To answer your question: The Celtics and Lakers have played in the Finals 11 times, with the Celtics winning 9 of the meetings.

To answer my question: Just once, in 1955 (called the Division Finals back then; the name changed in 1970).

The Lakers have lost in the Conference Finals (round before NBA Finals) 8 times: in 1998, 1986, 1971, 1961, 1960, 1957, 1955, 1951.
The Celtics have lost in the Conference Finals 11 times: in 2002, 1988, 1982, 1980, 1975, 1973, 1972, 1967, 1955, 1954, 1953.

Researching this answer amazed me that these two teams have been that good for so long. What this list of dates does not include is the times these teams WON their conference finals and played in NBA Finals: 30 for the Lakers and 20 for the Celtics.

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