Bucks beat Celtics 116-91 to advance to East final; Warriors hold off Rockets in Game 5

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Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots against Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving and center Aron Baynes during the third quarter in game two of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
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Kevon Looney of the Golden State Warriors blocks a shot by Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals on May 08, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 09 May 2019
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Bucks beat Celtics 116-91 to advance to East final; Warriors hold off Rockets in Game 5

  • Next up for the Bucks is the winner of the Philadelphia-Toronto series
  • Kevin Durant’s status for Game 6 is unclear

MILWAUKEE/OAKLAND: The Milwaukee Bucks routed the Boston Celtics 116-91 on Wednesday night to advance to the Eastern Conference final, while the Golden State Warriors beat the Houston Rockets 104-99 on for a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, leading six other Bucks players in double figures in their fourth straight win after dropping the series opener. 

Khris Middleton had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Eric Bledsoe finished with 18 points.

Next up for the Bucks is the winner of the Philadelphia-Toronto series. The Raptors are up 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Thursday night.

It’s the first Eastern Conference final for Milwaukee since 2001.

Kyrie Irving scored 15 points for Boston, which shot 31.2% from the field. Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris each had 14.

The Celtics clamped down on Antetokounmpo for most of the game, but Middleton, Bledsoe, George Hill and Nikola Mirotic picked up the scoring to help rob the game of any drama in the final minutes.

Hill finished with 16 points, and Mirotic had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Malcolm Brogdon also had 10 points in his return to the lineup after being sidelined by plantar fasciitis.

Antetokounmpo picked up his third foul when Jaylen Brown drove to the hoop early in the second half, but he stayed in the game. He stole an Irving pass and slammed it home to make it 65-52 with 6:45 left in the third quarter.

Antetokounmpo, one of the front-runners for NBA MVP, closed out the period with consecutive baskets, including a finger-roll layup that gave the Bucks an 80-62 lead.


Durant injured

In Oakland, California, the Warriors overcame Kevin Durant’s calf injury as Klay Thompson scored 27 points, including a key layup with 4.1 seconds left to seal their third win in five games.

Durant strained his right calf late in the third quarter. The two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP limped to the locker room after landing awkwardly following a baseline jumper. He finished with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists.

James Harden scored 31 points for the Rockets, who will try to stave off elimination back home in Houston on Friday night.

Durant’s status for Game 6 is unclear. After he departed with the injury, the rest of Golden State’s array of stars helped the Warriors close it out.

Draymond Green received his fourth technical of the postseason with 3:39 left, and then knocked down a 3-pointer on the other end. Thompson followed Green’s 3 with one of his own to make it 97-89 with 2:33 remaining.

Stephen Curry struggled with his shot yet again and finished with 25 points on 9-for-23 shooting. He went 3 of 11 from long range.

Curry hit a 3 with 5:09 to play that made it 89-85. He didn’t even score his first points of the night until a 3 4:22 before halftime.

Golden State nearly gave it away with an awful third quarter, when the Warriors managed just 15 points and committed six turnovers. The game was tied at 72 going into the final 12 minutes.

The Warriors led by as many as 20 but missed open looks and even layups, clanking shots off the front rim and allowing the tough-minded Rockets to stay close.

Then, they heeded Steve Kerr’s simple message: “Poise and awareness and poise and patience applies to all of life and not just offense,” the coach said beforehand.

The Warriors’ win guarantees their loyal fans in the East Bay at least one more home game at Oracle Arena before the team moves to new Chase Center in San Francisco for next season.

Golden State has won each of the three previous layoff meetings against the Rockets during the last five years: the 2015 Western Conference finals, the first round the following year, and last season’s West finals by rallying from a 3-2 deficit.


Saudi Arabia’s showjumping star eyes path to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Updated 20 August 2019
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Saudi Arabia’s showjumping star eyes path to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

  • Dalma Malhas ‘honored’ to be part of national team
  • Equestrian star began riding aged four

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s showjumping star Dalma Malhas is counting down to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by competing in a series of crucial qualifying events.

Malhas, who has been riding since the age of four, told Arab News that she was honored to be part of the Saudi national team after “years of work and dedication.”

Next month she and her fellow showjumpers head to Morocco to take part in a series of qualifying events.

The 10th edition of the Morocco Royal Tour takes place in three cities — Tetouan, Rabat, and Eljadida —  on three consecutive weekends. The top two teams, based on their results, will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Malhas wants to be at the prestigious sporting event in Japan. 

“The work that has been done in the past few years will manifest itself now and I’m enjoying what I’ve been working on ... I believe in destiny and hard work,” she told Arab News. “Anything could happen, but I’m hopeful and trying to focus on peak performance because it is important that, when it comes to the horse and myself, we want to be there, energetic and motivated.”

She was the first female athlete from the Kingdom to compete at an Olympic-level event, riding at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 in Singapore and winning a bronze medal. She participated in the 14-18 age group, becoming only the third Saudi athlete to snag an Olympic medal.

She said it was easy to buy a horse that was already trained and compete with it. But the challenge for her was to get an inexperienced horse and train him from scratch.

“I dedicated time, effort and energy. I had a vision of how he could be and transformed him into a skilled and talented horse, and step-by-step I followed that. You build a strong partnership when you go through that process. It’s an affinity you can’t really buy. This is a very big part of horsemanship and one of my biggest achievements since the Youth Olympic Games. It’s priceless, having a combination and partnership like this.”

Malhas was born in 1992. Her mother, Arwa Mutabagani, is a prominent equestrian and has been a board member at the Saudi Equestrian Federation since 2008. She was also the first woman to be appointed to the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee.

Malhas has had a thoroughly international upbringing. At 12 she moved with her mother from Saudi Arabia to Rome to train with her under Italy’s former showjumping national coach, Duccio Bartalucci, spending a decade under his tutelage.

After studying and training in Italy she joined a two-year professional program at the Fursan Equestrian Center in Chantilly, France. She has been training with Olympic champion Roger Yves Bost since 2016. 

She started 2019 by participating in several tournaments, crisscrossing Europe and gradually moving up the leaderboard. 

She has won several awards to date, including Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, and can be regarded as a pioneer and role model.

Malhas said there were great opportunities for Saudi women in the fields of sports and equestrianism. She talked about the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan and how it empowered women. She also saw an opportunity to become more involved. 

“I want to give back too. I’ve been mostly focused on showjumping and training, so hopefully I’ll start giving back and contribute to society and motivate my peers in the country. I don’t mind though I’ve been enjoying the ride and after years of work I’m finally being rewarded in the best way possible.”