Bucks edge Celtics to level NBA series, Spurs down Warriors

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo tries to drive past Boston Celtics' Al Horford. (AP)
Updated 23 April 2018
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Bucks edge Celtics to level NBA series, Spurs down Warriors

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points for the Bucks
  • Warriors can advance to a second-round series against New Orleans with a home victory on Tuesday

WASHINGTON: Greek star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points, including the decisive tip-in with five seconds remaining, to give the Milwaukee Bucks a 104-102 NBA playoff victory Sunday over Boston.
The triumph pulled the Bucks level with the Celtics at 2-2 in their best-of-seven first round series, which continues Tuesday in Boston.
Malcolm Brogdon’s three-pointer gave the Bucks a 102-100 lead before Boston’s Al Horford made two free throws to equalize. Brogdon then missed a jumper but Antetokounmpo followed with a tip-in and the Bucks denied the Celtics in the final seconds.
“This win is incredible,” Antetokounmpo said. “We kept our composure and fought all the way to the end.”
Khris Middleton added 23 points while Jabari Parker had 16 off the bench for Milwaukee.
Jaylen Brown led Boston with 34 points.
Defending NBA champion Golden State failed to complete a sweep of the San Antonio Spurs, with Manu Ginobili coming off the bench to score 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to spark the hosts over the Warriors 103-90.
“Our defense was more aggressive than the previous games. Our aggressiveness was off the charts,” Ginobili said.
“We need to help each other. Today we did that.
“We moved the ball. We made some shots that helped, but it was about teamwork.”
LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who led from start to finish to trim Golden State’s lead in their Western Conference series to 3-1.
The Warriors, who were led by Kevin Durant’s 34 points and 13 rebounds, can advance to a second-round series against New Orleans with a game-five home victory on Tuesday.
The Spurs remained without coach Gregg Popovich, who missed his second game following the death of his wife, which has left the team heartbroken as well.
“It’s a tough time. We’ve never been through this type of adversity,” said Ginobili. “Our leader is struggling. We’re trying to push through it like he would do if he weren’t at home.”
In later Eastern Conference matchups, Indiana sought a 3-1 series edge over visiting Cleveland while the Washington Wizards, with the worst record of any playoff club, hoped for a home win to level their series with East top seed Toronto.


Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Updated 22 May 2018
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Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs
  • Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million)

RIYADH: The General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) have announced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs.
According to reports, the Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million) that will not only clear monies owed but also enable clubs to invest ahead of the 2018-19 season.
The issue of debt had become a major issue in the country’s football scene.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs are currently experiencing financial problems that require immediate and urgent intervention,” the General Sports Authority, which oversees Saudi Arabian sport, said in a statement released on social media.
The body noted that there are a total of 107 cases under appeal at world governing body FIFA regarding unpaid salaries in Saudi Arabia.
“Failure to intervene urgently to rescue clubs may result in damage to the reputation of the Kingdom in general and Saudi Arabian sport in particular,” added the GSA.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs may face severe disciplinary sanctions because of the failure to meet financial obligations such as the
denial of the registration of players in general or the deduction of points.”
Unpaid salaries were also a factor in Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr being unable to appear in this year’s AFC Champions League after they were denied AFC club licenses.
Al-Ittihad were the club with the highest debt of 309 million riyals ($82 million) and welcomed the news.
“We are delighted by the generous initiative of His Royal Highness,” Al-Ittihad president Nawaf Al-Muqairn said in an official statement released by the two-time Asian champions.
“This contributes to creating solid ground for all clubs to move toward achieving their goals.”
Legendary Saudi striker Sami Al-Jaber, recently appointed president of champions Al-Hilal, announced his gratitude on social media.
“Great thanks to His Highness the Crown Prince for the great support that the clubs have enjoyed which enables sport in our country to keep pace with the aspirations of our leadership,” Al-Jaber wrote.
The Crown Prince’s move followed the SAFF announcing a new raft of regulations in April that will come into effect next season and are designed to take the league forward. These included restricting club spending on transfers and salaries to 70 percent of revenue. The size of first-team squads has been reduced from 33 to 28, of which five must be homegrown players of 23 or younger.