Milan to test Euro credentials vs. Barca in Champions League

Updated 20 February 2013
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Milan to test Euro credentials vs. Barca in Champions League

MILAN: The veracity of AC Milan’s resurgence in Italy’s Serie A is set to be put to the test when Barcelona visit the San Siro today for the first leg of a last 16 tie in the Champions League.
After their worst ever start to a league campaign the Rossoneri have climbed to third place and within touch of securing one of the three Champions League places for next year.
However their survival in this year’s competition could depend on a strong showing in Milan ahead of a return to the formidable surroundings of the Nou Camp on March 12.
Although billed, by Milan, as a match between ‘the best of the world’ — Milan are seven-time European champions while Barcelona, four-time winners, are widely considered the strongest team in the world — the Spanish league leaders have the bragging rights.
The last time the two sides met, in last season’s competition, Barcelona came away from the San Siro with a scoreless draw in the first leg of the quarter-final, before winning 3-1 at home to secure a semi-final spot.
Only four months earlier, Barcelona emerged from Milan with a 3-2 win on their way to topping the group ahead of Milan, while in the 2006 semi-finals the Catalans won 1-0 to virtually secure their place in the final.
Since the recent acquisition of striker Mario Balotelli, AC Milan have continued making up for their disastrous start to sit third in the league, 11 points behind leaders Juventus.
But because he played in this season’s competition with Manchester City, Balotelli is Cup-tied for the remaining Champions League fixtures.
That paves the way for the likes of Bojan Krkic, formerly of Barcelona, to step up for a game that will have special emotional significance as well as being a crucial step in Milan’s roller-coaster season.
“It is a different game, a special game for me but I don’t want to think too much about what feelings I have inside, I just want to concentrate on the game and on the 90 minutes of football that awaits us,” Bojan told acmilan.it.
“I have never played against Barcelona before and for that very reason this is more than just a game for me but all I want to do is help the team.” He added: “We are going through a positive patch at the moment, we have to believe in ourselves.
“We have to try and work hard and go into the match knowing that we are playing in the knock-out stages of the Champions League, against Barcelona, in one of the biggest matches in the world.
“This isn’t a three point match, this is a game over 180 minutes where goals are all-important. We have to score and also not concede. We have to remain focused for the entire 180 minutes.” Barcelona currently hold a 12-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga in Spain but will travel to Milan without coach Tito Vilanova as he continues treatment in New York to help him recover from a throat cancer operation he underwent before Christmas.
The reins will remain with assistant manager Jordi Roura, who last weekend had occasion to hail star forward Lionel Messi as the Argentine scored a double to take his Barcelona goals tally to beyond the mythical 300 mark.


LeBron’s 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers blocks a dunk by Terry Rozier of the Boston Celtics during Game Seven of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 28 May 2018
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LeBron’s 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals

  • In the first close game of the series — and the lowest-scoring — James played all 48 minutes and had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for his sixth straight Game 7 win.
  • The NBA Finals begin Thursday at either Houston or Golden State.

BOSTON: With another Game 7 victory at stake, LeBron James would not miss. He would not sit out. And he would not be denied an eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals.
The four-time league MVP scored 35 points with 15 rebounds and nine assists on Sunday night, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an 87-79 win over the Celtics and eliminating Boston from the Eastern Conference finals in the decisive seventh game.
In the first close game of the series — and the lowest-scoring — James played all 48 minutes and had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for his sixth straight Game 7 win.
The NBA Finals begin Thursday at either Houston or Golden State. The Rockets host the seventh game of the West finals on Monday night.
Jayson Tatum scored 24 for Boston, which was looking to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. Al Horford scored 17 points and Marcus Morris added 14 with 12 rebounds for the Celtics, who led 72-71 with six minutes remaining before the Cavaliers scored 15 of the next 17 points to pull away.
James and Horford embraced after the buzzer, then the Cavaliers donned NBA Finals hats and Eastern conference championship shirts before shuffling off the court to receive their trophy.
It’s not the one they want.
James had to do it without Kevin Love — Cleveland’s only other all-star — who sustained a concussion in Game 6 and was replaced in the lineup by Jeff Green. Making his first start since the first-round opener against Indiana, Green scored 19 points and added eight rebounds — the star of James’ starless supporting cast.
The Celtics have had more time to get used to their injuries: Gordon Hayward has been out since the first game of the season, and Kyrie Irving has been sidelined since March. With the rookie Tatum and second-year Jaylen Brown, Boston established itself as the team of the future in the East.
But the present still belongs to James.
And, for now, that means Cleveland, too.

TIP-INS
Cavaliers: Shot just 2 of 17 from 3-point range in the first half. They made three of their first 22 shots before James and Green connected on back-to-back attempts midway through the third quarter.
Celtics: Paul Pierce, whose number was retired by the Celtics this season, cheered the team on from courtside. ... Rapper 21 Savage was also at the game. ... Boston was 7 for 39 from 3-point range, with Terry Rozier missing all 10 of his attempts.