Bucks beat Hawks, head to NBA Finals for 1st time since 1974

The Milwaukee Bucks team celebrate after winning the NBA Eastern Conference Finals after beating the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 on July 3, 2021. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)
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Updated 05 July 2021

Bucks beat Hawks, head to NBA Finals for 1st time since 1974

  • The Bucks didn’t even need Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was sidelined after an injury during Game 4
  • Game 1 against the West champion Suns is Tuesday night in Phoenix.

ATLANTA: The Milwaukee Bucks were an instant success in the NBA, winning a championship in just their third season and reaching the finals again three years later.
Nearly a half-century later, they finally have a shot at another title.
Khris Middleton scored 32 points, including a run of 16 straight in a decisive third quarter that carried the Bucks to a 118-107 victory over the upstart Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night.
Milwaukee won the series 4-2, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974. Game 1 against the West champion Suns is Tuesday night in Phoenix.
The Bucks didn’t even need Giannis Antetokounmpo to lock up their spot. The two-time MVP missed his second straight game with a knee injury, but Middleton & Co. had his back.
Jrue Holiday added 27 points and four other players scored in double figures.
Antetokounmpo cheered them on from the bench.
“One of the biggest things we did the last two games was play for him,” said Pat Connaughton, who had 13 points and eight rebounds. “We do have a true team.”
Trae Young returned to the Hawks lineup after missing two games with a bone bruise in his right foot, but the young star never got anything going. After both teams struggled to find the range in the first half, the Bucks suddenly couldn’t miss in the third quarter.
Especially Middleton.
Atlanta actually had a chance for its first lead of the game when Young’s behind-the-back pass gave Kevin Huerter an open look from 3-point range.
The shot rimmed out, and Middleton quickly ripped off the next 13 points to suddenly push Milwaukee’s edge to 60-45.
Young broke up the one-man onslaught with a driving basket, but Middleton responded with a 3-pointer that gave him 16 straight Milwaukee points.
Middleton finished the quarter with 23 points, nearly outscoring the Hawks all by himself. Atlanta had 29 points in the period as Milwaukee headed to the final quarter with a commanding 91-72 lead.
“My teammates and my coaches, they told me to keep being aggressive,” Middleton said. “I love it. Each one of these guys, they work every single day. Everybody stays ready. Everybody stays locked in. We all play for each other. And that’s all you can ask for.”
Cam Reddish, who missed much of the season with an Achilles injury, came off the bench to spark the Hawks. He scored 21 points — making six of seven 3-pointers — as the Hawks sliced a 22-point deficit down to six in the closing minutes.
“The message was, ‘No regrets. We don’t want any regrets. .... Empty the tank,’” said Nate McMillan, the Hawks interim coach. “And they did.”
But the Bucks finished it off, rekindling memories of the franchise’s early years when Milwaukee quickly became the center of the NBA world with a team led by two of the game’s greatest players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson.
The duo led the team to its only NBA title in 1971. The Bucks returned to finals in ‘74, only to lose to the Boston Celtics in seven games.
Robertson retired after that season and Abdul-Jabbar was dealt a year later to the Los Angeles Lakers, ending Milwaukee’s run as a glamor franchise.
Now, the Bucks are back in the finals with a whole new group of stars. As they proved in the last two games against the Hawks, they’re certainly more than the Greek Freak.
With Antetokounmpo sidelined by a hyperextended left knee, the Bucks turned to his supporting cast to finish off Atlanta. Brook Lopez had 33 points in Game 5, and three other starters scored at least 22.
Middleton and Holiday carried the load in the deciding game.
“These guys have put the work in all year. They deserve to go to the finals,” said Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer, who previously coached the Hawks. “We’ve got more work to do.”
Despite a disappointing finish, the Hawks stamped themselves as a future force with a young group that knocked off the New York Knicks and the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers to surprisingly advance to the conference finals.
Mired at 14-20 when they fired coach Lloyd Pierce shortly before the All-Star break, Atlanta went on a run under McMillan that carried the Hawks to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
They didn’t stop there, advancing to the conference finals for only the second time with Young leading the way.
“We all understand this is just beginning,” Young said. “It was fun to have this city excited. We want to keep it like that.”
After missing Games 4 and 5 with a bone bruise in his right foot, Young was cleared to play shortly before tipoff Saturday night. The crowd went nuts when the charismatic point guard was the introduced as the final member of the starting five.
“He’s baaaaack!” the public-address announcer screamed.
But, clearly, he wasn’t all the way back.
After a nearly week-long layoff, Young seemed tentative and out of sorts. Sure, he flashed a bit of his old form on a couple of bursts to the basket, but 14 points on 4-of-17 shooting was not at all what the Hawks had come to expect from their breakout star.
“I just wanted to battle and try to fight through it as much as I could, try to be out there for my team,” Young said. “But it was definitely frustrating not being healthy and not being able to give my full 100 percent.”

TIP-INS
Bucks: With the Hawks focused on doing a better job in the lane, Lopez was held to 13 points. ... Bobby Portis had 12 points and nine rebounds in his second straight start for Antetokounmpo. ... Jeff Teague, who played for the Hawks when they reached the conference final in 2015, scored 11 points in just over 12 minutes of playing time off Milwaukee’s bench.
Hawks: Huerter, the surprising star of Atlanta’s Game 7 win over Philadelphia, closed the season with only five points on 2-of-10 shooting. ... Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 20 points. ... Atlanta finished 38 of 92 (41.3 percent) from the field.

UGLY HALF
Neither team seemed capable of winning in the first half.
Atlanta made only 15 of 49 shots (30.6 percent), including 4 of 16 from beyond the 3-point arc, with nine turnovers. The Bucks weren’t much better, connecting on 17 of 44 (38.6 percent) overall and just 5 of 19 outside the stripe. Milwaukee turned it over 10 times, split evenly between Middleton and Holiday.
Appropriately, the half ended with Atlanta’s Clint Capela missing right under the basket off a lob pass from Bogdanovic, sending the Bucks to the locker room with a 47-43 lead.

PLAYING WITH THE LEAD
Amazingly, there were no lead changes over the final three games of the series.
The Hawks never trailed in Game 4, romping to a 110-88 victory. Milwaukee returned the favor in Game 5, building a 20-point lead in the first quarter and staying out front all the way in a 123-112 triumph.
It was more of the same in the deciding game, which the Bucks led from start to finish.
 


Saudi, French companies sign 27 MoUs at Jeddah investment forum as Macron visits kingdom

Updated 1 min 49 sec ago

Saudi, French companies sign 27 MoUs at Jeddah investment forum as Macron visits kingdom

JEDDAH: A group of leading Saudi and French companies signed 27 memorandum of understanding at an investment forum in Jeddah as French President Emmanuel Macron met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman today during his official trip to the Gulf region, where he is visiting Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar between Dec. 3 and 4.

Around 101 Saudi companies and 84 French companies attended six workshops at the forum, which was opened by Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Investment, Saudi Arabia and Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness.

"The memorandums of understanding signed today were a cause for optimism and satisfaction," Al Falih said in a tweet after the event.

Represenatives of French companies and banks including EDF Renewables, Engie, Sanofi, and BNP Paribas are meeting with chairmen and CEOs of leading Saudi firms including ACWA Power, Banque Saudi Fransi, Riyad Bank, and Saudi Military Industries Co. Officials from the Public Investment Fund and Royal Commission of AlUla among others are also participating in the forum. 


President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia signals new era in French-Saudi cooperation

Updated 36 min 47 sec ago

President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia signals new era in French-Saudi cooperation

  • Wide-ranging joint statement and slew of agreements testify to a growing Saudi-French bilateral partnership
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Macron held telephone meeting with Lebanon PM Najib Mikati

JEDDAH: A joint statement covering a wide range of issues and the signing of a slew of agreements were the highlights of a visit to Saudi Arabia by French President Emmanuel Macron during the final leg of a two-day Gulf tour.

The agreements related to economic cooperation were announced by Saudi and French companies on Saturday while Macron held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The crown prince met Macron at Al-Salam Palace, where they discussed bilateral cooperation and held a telephone call with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The three countries agreed to work together to support comprehensive reforms necessary in Lebanon, according to official reports, which added that Saudi Arabia and France emphasized their keen desire to see security and stability prevail in the country.

French President Emmanuel Macron met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the president continued his multi-country tour of the Gulf. (SPA)

“The two sides stressed … that reforms should include the sectors of finance, energy, combating corruption and border control. The two sides also agreed to work with Lebanon to ensure the implementation of these measures,” the joint statement, carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), said.

“They also emphasized the need to limit arms to legitimate institutions of the state, and that Lebanon should not be a launching pad for any terrorist acts that destabilize the security and stability of the region, or a source of drug trafficking.

“They also … agreed to establish a Saudi-French mechanism for humanitarian assistance that ensures complete transparency, and expressed their determination to find appropriate mechanisms in cooperation with friendly countries and allies to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people.”

Saudi Arabia and France have committed to enhancing cultural cooperation and exchange across a broad range of cultural fields. (SPA)

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “the two sides reiterated their support for achieving peace in the Middle East, and the importance of reaching a comprehensive settlement … to be based on the two-state solution, the relevant legitimate resolutions and Arab Peace Initiative in a way that ensures the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state on 1967 borders with East Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital, calling, in this context, for an end to the Israeli settlement policy that threatens the two-state solution.”

With regard to Iran, the joint statement said: “The two sides expressed their deep concern over the development of the Iranian nuclear program and the lack of cooperation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

INNUMBERS

$4.37bn French direct investment in KSA economy.

“France stressed its determination not to allow Iran to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon. They also agreed on the need to confront Iran's destabilizing activities in the region, including the use and transfer of drones and ballistic missiles that led to attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Addressing the Yemen crisis, the statement said “France affirmed its full support for the Saudi peace initiative that was presented on March 22, 2021, and condemned the ballistic missile and drone attacks launched by Houthi militia and affirmed its historical commitment to preserving the security of the Kingdom.”

In other developments on Saturday, Dr. Mohammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, and Philippe Baptiste, CEO of the French National Center for Space Studies, signed a joint cooperation agreement in the field of the peaceful use of outer space, according to the SPA.

The Saudi Arabia, France and Lebanon agreed to work together to support comprehensive reforms necessary in the mediterranean country. (SPA)

The agreement “aims to provide a framework for cooperation in space activities in the peaceful uses of space, facilitate the exchange of information and technologies, contribute to capacity building and competencies, organize mutual visits and meetings, hold training courses and specialized workshops, as well as the joint cooperation to develop a mechanism for space-based climate monitoring.”

The SPA also reported that a memorandum of understanding was signed on Saturday that cements cultural
relations between Saudi Arabia and France. “Coming only weeks after Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Farhan Al-Saud met with his French counterpart, Dr. Roselyn Bachelot, in Paris, the MoU is the latest example of strengthening cultural ties between the two countries,” the report said.

It added: “Under the five-year agreement, Saudi Arabia and France have committed to enhancing cultural cooperation and exchange across a broad range of cultural fields, including architecture, audiovisual production, design, film, heritage, literature, performing arts and visual arts.

The crown prince met the French president at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)

“In addition, the MoU will facilitate the two countries to explore cultural regulations and policies. There will also be opportunities to increase the participation of Saudi and French artists in residency exchange programs and strengthen cooperation between artists and cultural institutions in both countries.”

The SPA said that a separate agreement to enhance tourism cooperation between the two countries was co-signed by Ahmed Al-Khateeb, the Saudi tourism minister, and Franck Riester, the French minister delegate for foreign trade and economic attractiveness.

It quoted Al-Khateeb as saying: "France, through its knowledge and experience, will help the Kingdom in developing its tourism activity to attract investments with a cost of $810 billion, which will provide the country with tourism opportunities outside the Hajj season. The Kingdom is expected to have new investment opportunities with a cost of $6 trillion by 2030, and this is a matter of excitement.”


In Pakistan’s Khaplu valley, autumn foliage becomes ‘blessing’ fuel for winter survival

Updated 8 min 30 sec ago

In Pakistan’s Khaplu valley, autumn foliage becomes ‘blessing’ fuel for winter survival

  • Villagers collect dry leaves between late November and early December to use as fuel during freezing winters
  • In the absence of reliable gas or electricity sources, people have found alternative means to heat their homes 

KHAPLU, Gilgit-Baltistan: When autumn arrives in Khaplu valley with its foliage of boastful reds, yellows and copper browns, families welcome it as a “blessing” — not for the colorful spectacle, but for the fuel the falling leaves will become when burnt come winter, helping locals survive the harsh weather in Pakistan’s mountainous north.
The valley in the northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan, surrounded by some of Pakistan’s highest peaks and glaciers, is home to over 24,000 people who remain largely cut off from the rest of the country in the winter months when temperatures can fall below minus 20 degrees Celsius.
In the absence of reliable gas or electricity sources, residents have had to find alternative means of heating their homes. One option is burning the colorful leaves that fall in autumn, which locals call “gold” and diligently collect between late November and early December to use as burning fuel in the winter ahead.
“We don’t waste dried leaves because they are the main source of heating for us,” Muhammad Jaffar, a 68-year-old resident of Garbong village, told Arab News.
Jaffar, a member of the village’s welfare committee, which is responsible for leaf collection and distribution, said the dried leaves were “the biggest blessing.”

Men and women collect their share of dried leaves after distribution in Garbong village of Khaplu valley in Ghanche district of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, on December 2, 2021. (AN photo by Nisar Ali)

The collection and distribution of dried leaves among Garbong’s 130 households takes almost a week. Each household nominates a woman representative and does not receive leaves if it fails to do so. The same practice is observed in all other villages in Khaplu valley.
Muhammad Ali, who summons residents using a mosque loudspeaker every morning during the week to collect their share of leaves from the nearby Stronpi village, said leaf collection rules and exact dates were established years ago to avoid conflict.

Members of the village committee pose for a photograph at the distribution site in Garbong village of Khaplu valley in Ghanche district of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakista,n on December 2, 2021. (AN photo by Nisar Ali).

“Fifteen years ago, women would fight each other for dried leaves,” he said. “Now, the committee monitors all affairs of the village from mosque to working in the fields and personal disputes as well as dried leaf collection.”
Once distributed among village households, the leaves are burnt in the open air. When they stop giving off smoke, they are brought into the kitchen in a metal pot, placed under a special square table and covered with a blanket or quilt.
“Family members nestle around the table with the brunt leaves placed under it,” Stronpi resident Sajid Ali said.

Family members nestle around a heater table filled with smoldering leaves to keep them warm during winter in Garbong village of Khaplu valley in Ghanche district of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, on December 3, 2021. (AN photo by Nisar Ali)

Fatima, a village’s elder who only gave her first name, said there was a special room in her basement to store the leaves during winter.
“Without dried leaves, how could we spend the winter days?” she said. “It’s only seasonal dried leaves, but for us it is like gold.”

 

 


Jeddah Art Promenade showpiece takes flight

Updated 05 December 2021

Jeddah Art Promenade showpiece takes flight

A golden falcon rises, wings outstretched, over the Jeddah coastline. Sela, the Saudi Arabian events producer, has unveiled the first art installation of its highly anticipated Jeddah Art Promenade.
The promenade is curated by renowned producer Swizz Beatz and his Saudi-headquartered creative agency, Good Intentions.
The one-of-a-kind sculpture by Kwest is visible for kilometers, perched amid the blue waters of the Jeddah Corniche, where the city is hosting thousands at the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Creators of some of the region’s most sought-after experiences and attractions, Sela has staged more than 3,000 events since 2005, including MDLBEAST, the Italian Super Cup, WWE Crown Jewel, Riyadh Season and Jeddah Season, in addition to launching projects such as Boulevard Riyadh City and Jeddah Superdome.
Sela’s Jeddah Art Promenade is a beachfront boulevard featuring art monuments in a leisure, hospitality and retail district scheduled for completion in the coming months.
Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean is a Grammy-award winning producer and owner of one of the world’s largest art collections.
Recognizing the creative renaissance unfolding in the Kingdom with Saudi Vision 2030, Swizz Beatz found a base for his global agency in Saudi Arabia, co-founding Good Intentions with Saudi native Noor Taher.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Creators of some of the region’s most sought-after experiences and attractions, Sela has staged more than 3,000 events since 2005.

• These include MDLBEAST, the Italian Super Cup, WWE Crown Jewel, Riyadh Season, Jeddah Season, Boulevard Riyadh City and Jeddah Superdome.

Their curations leverage a vibrant community of contemporary artists to bring a new cultural experience to the Kingdom at Jeddah Art Promenade.
Shihana Alazzaz, Sela chairwoman and general counsel to the Public Investment Fund, said: “The ‘Wusul’ (‘Arrival’) installation from artist Kwest is a powerful statement of energy and creativity taking flight.
“We at Sela are thrilled to be working with Swizz Beatz and the Good Intentions team, headed by homegrown lead Noor Taher, to give vital art a platform, with special thanks to the organizers of Jeddah Season for making all of this possible.
“With more than a dozen installations planned, the Jeddah Art Promenade will blaze an iconic trail down our beautiful coast, offering visitors a visceral cultural experience and creating a landmark worthy of our nation’s vision.”
Swizz Beatz, co-founder of Good Intentions, said: “We’ve always wanted to work with the gatekeepers in that arena and knew Sela would be a partner aligned with our vision at Good Intentions. This is just a scratch on the surface, we’re only going bigger and more disruptive from here.”


JIMCO, CFS  to provide the world with limitless sustainable power

Updated 05 December 2021

JIMCO, CFS  to provide the world with limitless sustainable power

The Saudi-based Jameel Investment Management Co. has participated in a $1.8 billion funding round for a US fusion energy company, it has been announced.
JIMCO has invested an undeclared amount in Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a company founded in 2018 that is building the world’s first net-energy giant fusion system.
“The world is ready to make big investments in commercial fusion as a key part of the global energy transition,” the chief executive officer of CFS, Bob Mumgaard, said.
He added: This diverse group of investors includes a spectrum of capital from energy and technology companies to venture capitalists, hedge funds, and university endowments who believe in the impact fusion will have as we look for large scale solutions to decarbonize.”

FASTFACT

The Saudi-based Jameel Investment Management Co. has participated in a $1.8 billion funding round for a US fusion energy company.

CFS’ HTS magnet technology enables significantly stronger magnetic fields in a fusion device called a “tokamak,” existing versions of which rely on the scale of the device to attempt net energy.  HTS magnets support a high-field approach that will enable CFS to reach net energy from fusion with a substantially smaller, lower cost device and on a faster timeline.  This HTS magnet technology will be used in SPARC, now under construction in Devens, Massachusetts and on track to demonstrate net energy from fusion by 2025. 
 Fady Jameel, a member of the Jameel family’s investment supervisory board, said: “It is critical that private investors cultivate close, collaborative relationships with research scientists and universities.  The Jameel Family has nurtured our relationships with MIT, and others, supporting innovative thinking and development of emergent technologies towards solutions aiming to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”
“This investment in CFS is a step towards a more sustainable future for everyone demonstrating how ‘patient capital’, particularly from family investors, can show leadership in enabling transformational change by championing opportunities for business in the new green-tech economy.”