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.


Egypt coach Javier Aguirre knows “80-90 percent" of his AFCON squad

Updated 37 min 17 sec ago
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Egypt coach Javier Aguirre knows “80-90 percent" of his AFCON squad

  • Mexican coach looking at fringe players in matches against Niger and Nigeria this weekend.
  • Pressure will be on the Pharaohs with AFCON taking place on home soil this summer.

LONDON: Javier Aguirre already knows 80-90 percent of his African Cup of Nations squad, according to his Egypt assistant coach Hany Ramzy.
The Pharaohs face Niger for their final AFCON qualifier on Saturday, knowing they have already qualified, before facing Nigeria in a friendly three days later.
Both matches are effectively warm-up matches for the tournament which takes place in Egypt in June and July, and coach Aguirre is now apparently thinking more about tactics than personnel.
“Aguirre has settled on 80-90 percent of the names that will join our squad at the African Cup. We feel comfortable as we are guaranteed a spot at the finals,” Ramzy told King Fut website.
For this weekend’s matches Aguirre has left his big-name players such as Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Hegazi at home so he can have a look at some of those on the fringe of the squad. A tough match is expected in Nigeria and that could be the last chance some have to impress the Mexican coach, with the final squad announcement expected in two months.
“(The final squad) will involve a bigger vision after we have seen the new faces play at this camp. Leaving out some players this time doesn’t mean that they won’t join the team again,” Ramzy said.
“The Niger and Nigeria matches are a chance to examine new faces that could have a role in the African Cup, especially as they will play under the fans’ pressure against Nigeria.
“We want to give the youth players a chance, and also to prepare and provide them with the experience of preparatory camps, even if they aren’t selected for the tournament.”
After last year’s World Cup disappointment, when Salah and Co, lost all three matches in Russia, there will be a lot of pressure on the Pharaohs to do well in front of their expectant fans.