Nuggets rout Blazers, Raptors crush Sixers to gain NBA series edge

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Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) and forward Paul Millsap (4) block a shot by Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (00) in the second quarter in game five of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center in Portland, Oregon. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
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Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam goes up for a dunk as Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid defends during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series on May 7, 2019, in Toronto, Canada. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Updated 08 May 2019
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Nuggets rout Blazers, Raptors crush Sixers to gain NBA series edge

  • Raptors overpowered the 76ers 125-89 to take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series
  • Nuggets now also lead the Trail Blazers 3-2 series lead and will also try to wrap up their Western Conference clash on the road on Thursday

LOS ANGELES: The Toronto Raptors dismantled the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets dominated Portland Tuesday to take commanding leads in their NBA playoff series.
The Raptors overpowered the 76ers 125-89 to take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series.
With 76ers star center Joel Embiid ailing, Toronto took full advantage on their home floor and can book a place in the Eastern Conference finals with a victory in game six in Philadelphia on Thursday.
The Nuggets, led by Nikola Jokic’s 25 points and 19 rebounds, defeated the Trail Blazers 124-98 for a 3-2 series lead and will also try to wrap up their Western Conference clash on the road on Thursday.
Six Nuggets players scored in double figures and four scored at least 16 points.
Paul Millsap scored 12 of his 24 in the first quarter as Denver bolted to a 31-25 lead.
Jamal Murray scored 11 of his 18 in the second quarter, helping Denver break open the game with a burst of three straight baskets that pushed the Nuggets’ lead to 61-43 and Denver, who never trailed, were away.
“In this series he’s been phenomenal,” Denver coach Mike Malone said of Murray. “He’s impacted the game in so many ways: scoring, playmaking and rebounding, and I think he’s playing some pretty good defense as well.”
Damian Lillard scored 22 points for the Trail Blazers, who face an elimination game for the first time in this post-season.
Rodney Hood and Zach Collins scored 14 points each off the bench, but CJ McCollum was the only other Portland starter in double figures with 12 points.
Portland missed 12 straight shots in the third, connecting on just seven of 28 from the floor in the period to head into the fourth quarter trailing 93-65.
They couldn’t get the deficit below 20 points in the final frame.
In a hard-fought series between closely matched teams, Malone said, it was a notable achievement.
“For us to come out here tonight and build a 30-point lead and play the defense that we did for three and a half quarters was remarkable,” he said.

Outclassed in Toronto
In Toronto’s big win, forward Pascal Siakam scored 25 points to lead six Raptors players in double figures.
Star forward Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and was able to rest the majority of the fourth quarter as the Raptors dominated every phase of the contest.
The outcome was enough to make Philadelphia’s center Embiid feel even worse than the upper respiratory infection that appeared to hinder him.
Embiid scored 13 points with six rebounds and also coughed up a game-high eight turnovers. With their star struggling, none of his teammates could fill the void.
Toronto led 64-43 by halftime — thanks to a 37-17 second quarter.
The 76ers showed signs of life when they opened the second half on a 10-2 scoring run, but the challenge proved short-lived.
Leonard, who punctuated the second quarter with a massive dunk, delivered another big jam to close out the third and send the Raptors into the final frame up 92-70.
Toronto would stretch the lead to 40 points — 123-83 — on Norman Powell’s dunk with 2:24 to play.
“I was certainly not expecting that kind of game tonight,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse. “Obviously we’re certainly happy with the result. We did a lot of good things.”
Kyle Lowry scored 19 points, Danny Green had 17 and Spanish big man Marc Gasol contributed 11 for the Raptors, who can clinch the series on Thursday in Philadelphia.
Serge Ibaka scored 10 points for Toronto, despite needing stitches after taking an inadvertent elbow to the forehead from Leonard in the first quarter.
Jimmy Butler scored 22 points and handed out seven assists for the 76ers.
Sixers guard Ben Simmons connected on three-of-five shots from the field to finish with seven points and five turnovers.

 

 


Platini released from custody after police questioning

Updated 19 June 2019
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Platini released from custody after police questioning

  • French authorities haven’t announced any charges against Platini
  • The authorities also questioned a sport adviser from the previous French president’s administration

PARIS: Former UEFA president Michel Platini was released from custody in the early hours of Wednesday after being questioned as part of a corruption investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
His communication team said that Platini’s detention ended at 12:30 a.m. local time.
Platini had denied any wrongdoing and French authorities did not announce any charges against the former France and Juventus player.
“It was long, but given the number of questions it could not be different,” Platini said after his release. “They asked me questions about the 2016 Euro, the World Cup in Russia, the World Cup in Qatar, the Paris Saint-Germain, FIFA.”
Also questioned Tuesday were Sophie Dion, a sports adviser in former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration, and Claude Gueant, the former secretary general of the Elysee presidential palace under Sarkozy.
Ahead of the FIFA vote, Sarkozy hosted a meeting in November 2010 that brought Platini together with Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, then the crown prince of Qatar and now its ruling emir. Al-Thani also owns the French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain, and Sarkozy frequently attends its games.
Qatar beat the long-favored United States 14 to 8 when FIFA selected the host country for the 2022 World Cup
As head of European soccer’s governing body UEFA, Platini was the continent’s top representative on the FIFA committee that picked Qatar.
French prosecutors are known to be investigating an array of winning bids for major sports events, including the 2018 World Cup, awarded to Russia, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and track and field world championships.

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READ MORE: TIMELINE: The trail of corruption allegations surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

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