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.


Unrivaled: India now 7-0 in World Cup games against Pakistan

Updated 17 June 2019
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Unrivaled: India now 7-0 in World Cup games against Pakistan

  • Conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of a predominantly pro-India crowd 

MANCHESTER, UK: For such an intense rivalry, it is still a lopsided contest when India and Pakistan meet at the Cricket World Cup.

India extended their record to 7-0 against Pakistan at the World Cup with an 89-run victory in a rain-interrupted encounter Sunday that likely will remain the most-watched game of the six-week tournament.

India started ominously with Rohit Sharma scoring 140 from 113 deliveries and skipper Virat Kohli contributing 77 in a total of 336-5, a record for a One-Day International at Old Trafford.

Pakistan were always behind the run-rate required.

Fakhar Zaman (62) and Babar Azam (48) put on 104 for the second wicket but when both were dismissed by left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav within nine balls, Pakistan’s hopes faded with them.

When Hardik Pandya took wickets with consecutive deliveries in the 27th over, Pakistan were 129-5. And with a result in play because both teams had batted more than 20 overs, there was no chance of sharing points if rain prevented any more play. A delay after the 35th with Pakistan at 166-6 just prolonged the inevitable.

Pakistan were  set a revised target of 302 from 40 overs and the last five overs were a non-event with Pakistan finishing 212-6. India remained unbeaten in four games to start the tournament.

The conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of a predominantly pro-India crowd that filled the 162-year-old venue to its 23,500 capacity. Seats were in excessively high demand, after all, with the International Cricket Council reporting more than 800,000 ticket applications for the game.

There is always extra significance when the nuclear-armed neighboring countries meet at ICC tournaments because India and Pakistan play cricket so infrequently in bilateral series.

This was no different, with a 1 billion-plus TV audience and an almost football-like atmosphere at the ground.

Kohli’s single to get off the mark was met by “Kohli-Kohli-Kohli” chants from the predominantly pro-India crowd.

Sharma set the tone with his second century of the tournament, sharing partnerships of 136 with KL Rahul (57) for the first wicket and 98 with Kohli for the second.

He seemed ready to really unleash when he needlessly paddled a ball from Hasan Ali to Wahab Riaz at short fine leg in the 38th over.

Kohli continued, becoming the third Indian batter to pass 11,000 ODI runs. In doing so in his 222nd innings, he became the fastest to reach the milestone.

Kohli was on 71 and India was 305-4 when rain stopped play for the first time in the 47th over. The India captain was caught behind off Mohammad Amir’s bowling not long after he returned from the 55-minute rain break and, surprisingly, walked off before umpire Marais Erasmus had a chance to signal him out.

There was some speculation Kohli did not edge the ball but it was inconsequential in the end, as India passed Sri Lanka’s 318-7 against England in 2006 to set the highest ODI total in Manchester.

After a batting onslaught at the top, Pakistan pegged back the run-rate slightly as Amir (3-47) dismissed Pandya (26) and then had MS Dhoni (1) and Kohli caught behind — both the ex-captain and captain walking.

Things started going haywire for Pakistan after skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss and fielded, going against the advice sent via social media by Prime Minister and 1992 World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan.

Overcast and cool overhead conditions that usually would favor swing and seam bowling didn’t greatly assist the Pakistan attack, with India racing to 52-0 in its most productive opening power play of the tournament.

The Pakistan pacemen had trouble with the umpires, with Amir and Wahab each cautioned twice for running on the protected area in the middle of the pitch. One further warning would have resulted in a suspension.

It also didn’t help that opener Imam-ul-Haq got out in rare circumstances to Vijay Shankar’s very first delivery at a World Cup — it coming on the fifth ball of Pakistan’s fifth over after Shankar was asked to finish it off for injured teammate Bhuveshwar Kumar.

Pakistan’s next game is at Lord’s against South Africa, which also has three points and only remote prospects of reaching the semifinals.