Antetokounmpo, Bucks make statement game

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots against multiple Detroit Pistons defenders during their game Sunday. (AP)
Updated 15 April 2019
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Antetokounmpo, Bucks make statement game

  • Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 17 rebounds in just 24 minutes

LOS ANGELES: Milwaukee showed why they are the Eastern Conference kingpins and Giannis Antetokounmpo proved he is worthy of a league MVP as the Bucks trampled all over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 17 rebounds in just 24 minutes, as the Milwaukee began their hunt for a playoff championship ring with a 121-86 blowout of the Pistons in game one.

“It was fun,” said Greece’s Antetokounmpo. "We did a good job of playing hard and playing together.

“The coach told us at halftime to stay together, keep rebounding the ball and run it down.

"I am just glad we got a win.”

Antetokounmpo and the Bucks ran roughshod over the hapless Pistons all game and the 35-point deficit was flattering to the visitors.

Detroit tried everything to stop the “Greek Freak” and the only time they did was when centre Andre Drummond shoved him to the floor with both hands which got Drummond thrown out of the game by the referees.

Antetokounmpo was nine for 17 from the field and one of five from three-point range.

Drummond threw a kiss to the Fiserv Forum crowd as he headed to the showers but it might as well be the kiss of death for the Pistons against the NBA's top team (60 wins) in the regular season.

Seven Bucks scored in double figures. Eric Bledsoe had 15 points, and Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton each added 14. George Hill came off the bench to score 16 points.

Detroit played without forward Blake Griffin, who has missed five of the last eight games with a sore knee.

Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers snapped their 10-game post-season losing streak, defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-99 to claim their first playoff win in three years.

The Blazers have endured a miserable record in the playoffs in recent years, suffering back-to-back first round sweeps in 2017 and 2018 against Golden State and New Orleans.

On Sunday however Portland's three-year wait for a postseason win came to an end, as Damian Lillard inspired a battling victory over the sixth-seeded Thunder.

Lillard went nine-of-21 from the field on his way to 30 points in 38 minutes, adding four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

He was backed by C.J. McCollum, who added 24 points from nine-of-24 shooting with six rebounds and three assists.

Turkish international Enes Kanter meanwhile reminded his former Thunder teammates of his talent, posting a double-double of 20 points and 18 rebounds.

Lillard said Kanter's fired-up contribution had tipped the balance for the Blazers.

“Any time you're going up against a team you played for, in the most important series of the year, you’re going to want to play well,” Lillard said. “And you’re going to want to come out on the winning side.”

"We understood that he was going to come out ready to play. And he was the MVP of the game, especially down the stretch.

"He had a huge presence and played a big part in us winning this game."

Also, Kyrie Irving scored 20 points as the Boston Celtics shrugged off the injury absence of Marcus Smart to defeat the Indiana Pacers 84-74.

Irving was among five players to make double figures as Boston drew first blood in the best-of-seven series opener at the TD Garden.

Boston had gone into the game reeling from news that Smart is set to miss the opening two rounds of the playoffs after suffering a torn oblique.

However the fourth-seeded Celtics had too much firepower for the fifth-ranked Pacers on their way to a deserved victory.


Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

Updated 25 April 2019
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Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

  • Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games
  • Title rivals Liverpool are just one point behind

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola said both Manchester City and Liverpool deserve to win the Premier League title after his side brushed aside Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday to top the table again.
Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane struck for the visitors in 12 second-half minutes at Old Trafford to inflict a seventh defeat in nine games on United, who remain three points adrift of the top four.
Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games, with Liverpool a point behind. Both sides have just three games remaining.
“I understand the pressure we have and obviously here at Old Trafford with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard running behind,” the City boss told Sky Sports. “I told them we needed to play to win, it doesn’t matter if we concede.
“Now we go to Burnley and we know how tough it will be. It’s important to be calm. We are still not champions with three gaurgesmes left — it’s incredible with the points we have and Liverpool have.
“I told the players don’t read tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest and sleep a lot and go in there against Burnley.”
“Both teams deserve the title,” he added. “But it can be just one. The team that is going to lose can’t have regrets because they have given everything. Normally with this kind of victory you can it enjoy it the most but we have to be calm.”