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
0

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.


Al-Nassr ready to challenge for title after signing Brazilian Giuliano

Updated 21 August 2018
0

Al-Nassr ready to challenge for title after signing Brazilian Giuliano

  • Riyadh club have not won the title since 2015 and have set their stall out to win it for the ninth time.
  • Brazilian Giuliano is the latest star to sign for Al-Nassr, joining Nigeria international Ahmed Musa.

LONDON: Al-Nassr are ready to challenge for the Saudi Pro League title after a busy summer in the transfer market and elsewhere. That is the message from the Riyadh club who have their sights set on reclaiming the title they last won in 2015.
The side finished third last season but under the energetic leadership of new president Saud Al-Suwailem, the eight time champions ended the transfer window on Monday by confirming the signing of former 
Brazilian international Giuliano from 
Fenerbahce for a fee of €10 million ($11.5 million).
It is the second biggest deal that Al-Nassr have done since the end of last season after the Ahmed Musa transfer, the Nigerian international arriving in early August from Leicester City Premier League. And having seen the 28-year-old attacking midfielder score 14 goals in the Turkish league last season, the club feel Giuliano is a great addition to their expanding squad.
Not only that, the club has brought in former Liverpool and Feyenoord goalkeeper Brad Jones, former Watford star and Morocco international Nordin Amrabat, Peru international defender Christian Ramos and also welcome back Saudi star Yahya Al-Shehri from his loan in Spain.
“We are very happy with the squad going into the new season,” an Al-Nassr official told Arab News.
“It was already a good one but we have strengthened in every area and especially have added some very exciting attacking players. If the coach can get the new signings to settle quickly then we could have a good season.”
There is no automatic demand for the title but an improvement on last season when Al-Nassr finished 12 points behind champions and Riyadh rivals Al-Hilal is required.
“We know that it won’t be easy as the top teams all look to be stronger after spending on some good talent from overseas,” added the official.
“We want to be challenging for the title, that is where we should be. It helps that we also have a coach that has done it before.”
For Al-Nassr, the return of Jose Daniel Carreno could be a game-changer. The Uruguayan tactician had a successful spell with the club and lifted the 2013 league title and the Crown Prince Cup in the same year. He returned to the club in March and his knowledge of Al-Nassr and the league is seen as vital.
“I think the changes to the team have been of great benefit,” Carreno said after last week’s 2-1 win at UAE side Al-Jazira in the Arab Champions Cup. “We have more firepower going forward and we will look to be aggressive and put teams on the backfoot, and press higher up the pitch than before.
“There is still work to do but we are moving to where we want to be. The league is going to be tough this time with Al-Hilal looking strong and signing players, and Al-Ittihad will not have the kind of season they had last time but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
There have been developments off the pitch too. President Al-Suwailem was appointed in April and has been working hard to improve standards at the club and increase revenues.
Earlier this month, the president went to the UAE to sign a four year sponsorship deal with Etihad Airlines that is reportedly worth SR50 million ($13.34 million) a year.
“There is more energy at all levels of the club,” said the official.
“Of course, it depends on what happens when the season starts but we can’t wait for the season to start.”