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.


Michel Platini released from custody after police probe into Qatar World Cup 2022 corruption

Updated 19 June 2019
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Michel Platini released from custody after police probe into Qatar World Cup 2022 corruption

  • French authorities haven’t announced any charges against Platini
  • The authorities also questioned a sport adviser from the previous French president’s administration

PARIS: Former UEFA president Michel Platini was released from custody in the early hours of Wednesday after being questioned as part of a corruption investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

His communication team said that Platini’s detention ended at 12:30 a.m. local time.

Platini had denied any wrongdoing and French authorities did not announce any charges against the former France and Juventus player.

“It was long, but given the number of questions it could not be different,” Platini said after his release. “They asked me questions about the 2016 Euro, the World Cup in Russia, the World Cup in Qatar, the Paris Saint-Germain, FIFA.”

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TIMELINE: The trail of corruption allegations surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Former UEFA head Platini detained in Qatar World Cup probe

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Also questioned Tuesday were Sophie Dion, a sports adviser in former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration, and Claude Gueant, the former secretary general of the Elysee presidential palace under Sarkozy.

Ahead of the FIFA vote, Sarkozy hosted a meeting in November 2010 that brought Platini together with Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, then the crown prince of Qatar and now its ruling emir. Al-Thani also owns the French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain, and Sarkozy frequently attends its games.

Qatar beat the long-favored United States 14 to 8 when FIFA selected the host country for the 2022 World Cup

As head of European soccer’s governing body UEFA, Platini was the continent’s top representative on the FIFA committee that picked Qatar.

French prosecutors are known to be investigating an array of winning bids for major sports events, including the 2018 World Cup, awarded to Russia, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and track and field world championships.

They are looking into possible offences including private corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling.

The decision in December 2010 to award the World Cup to Qatar surprised many given the lack of potential local audiences for the games, the extremely hot summer weather, and the poor performance of the country's national squad. It will be the first Arab state to host the competition.

Platini is one of France's most famous sportsmen and soccer stars. He led France to victory in the 1984 European Championship and played in two World Cup semi-finals.

(With Agencies)