Warriors down Grizzlies to advance in NBA playoffs as Celtics force Game 7 with Bucks

Update Warriors down Grizzlies to advance in NBA playoffs as Celtics force Game 7 with Bucks
Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry scored 29 with six 3s in beating the Memphis Grizzlies 110-96 in Game 6 on Friday night. (Getty Images/AFP)
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Updated 14 May 2022

Warriors down Grizzlies to advance in NBA playoffs as Celtics force Game 7 with Bucks

Warriors down Grizzlies to advance in NBA playoffs as Celtics force Game 7 with Bucks
  • Golden State reached the conference finals for the first time since 2019, when the franchise reached a fifth straight NBA Finals but fell to Toronto in the championship series

LOS ANGELES: The Golden State Warriors pulled away late to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 110-96 and reach the NBA Western Conference finals on Friday as the Boston Celtics stayed alive in the East with a 108-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Klay Thompson drained eight three-pointers on the way to 30 for the Warriors. Stephen Curry added six three-pointers and 29 points as Golden State completed a 4-2 victory in the best-of-seven series.

They will face either the Phoenix Suns or Dallas Mavericks, who play a deciding Game 7 in their series on Sunday.

So will the Celtics and defending NBA champions Milwaukee after Jayson Tatum’s 46 points powered Boston to a victory that knotted their series at three games apiece.

With his team facing elimination, Tatum came through. He drilled seven of the Celtics’ 17 three-pointers to help them withstand a 44-point, 20-rebound performance from Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo and knot the best-of-seven series at three games each.

“Our season was on the line,” Tatum said. “I knew that and we knew that. We had to give it all we’ve got.”




Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum tries to get past Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo during Game 6 of their NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals. (AP)

Antetokounmpo posted the first 40-point, 20-rebound game since Shaquille O’Neal in 2001, but his third 40-point outburst in four games was not enough for the reigning champs to advance.

The winner of the series will take on the Miami Heat for a place in the NBA Finals.

Tatum reeled off 11 straight Boston points in the fourth quarter to help thwart a rally by the Bucks, who closed a 13-point deficit to four on Antetokounmpo’s three-pointer early in the final period.

“Huge night by (Tatum),” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “Other guys, as well, but (Tatum) definitely needed.”

It looked briefly as if the Bucks might author another impressive comeback victory, after erasing a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to win Game 5 on Wednesday.

But Tatum and the rest of the Celtics would not let that happen.

“He took it to another level,” Boston’s Al Horford said of Tatum. “That’s what big-time players do in moments like this. He’s a special player and he showed it tonight. He’s poised, knew when to shoot it and knew when to pass it, knew when to attack.

“We put a lot on him and he delivered.”

Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, and point guard Marcus Smart added 21 points for the Celtics.

Jrue Holiday scored 17 for Milwaukee, and Pat Connaughton with 14 was the only other Bucks player to score in double figures.

In San Francisco, it was nip and tuck through three quarters with Curry making two straight baskets to put the Warriors up 78-77 going into the fourth period.

Curry scored 11 points in the final quarter and Andrew Wiggins scored 10 of his 18 as the Warriors, down by two with 6:55 remaining, turned the tide.

Draymond Green chipped in 14 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. Kevon Looney pulled down 22 rebounds for the Warriors, who had a chance to close out the series in the previous game and were blown out by 39 points.

They reached the conference finals for the first time since 2019, when the franchise reached a fifth straight NBA Finals but fell to Toronto in the championship series.

“I used to take it for granted,” Green said of reaching the conference finals. “I have a much deeper appreciation for it, it’s so hard.”

The Grizzlies, who eliminated the Warriors in the play-in tournament last year, were without young star Ja Morant, who suffered a bone bruise in his left knee in game four of the series.

Dillon Brooks led the Grizzlies on Friday with 30 points and Desmond Bane added 25, but Memphis could not find an answer at the end.

“This obviously stings,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “Such a special season with a special group, and I want them to cherish that, remember that, despite this loss.”


Trilogy: Canelo aims to finish Golovkin rivalry with a KO

Trilogy: Canelo aims to finish Golovkin rivalry with a KO
Updated 35 min 58 sec ago

Trilogy: Canelo aims to finish Golovkin rivalry with a KO

Trilogy: Canelo aims to finish Golovkin rivalry with a KO
  • For Alvarez, this fight is “personal” for him because Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) kept dismissing him while seeking a third matchup after their September 2018 bout

NEW YORK: A split draw in the first fight and then a majority decision in favor of Canelo Alvarez in the second.

So, how about a knockout in the third chapter to settle once and for all the fierce rivalry between the Mexican superstar and Gennady Golovkin?

“From the first round I’m gonna go for the knockout. I know I’m gonna risk a lot,” Álvarez said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. “I have to. I aim at greatness.”

Golovkin bets on Alvarez being vulnerable as they complete their trilogy on Sept. 17 in Las Vegas.

“Prefer not to think about knockdowns. That’s not the right approach,” he told the AP. “Boxing is a dangerous sport. Defend yourself properly,“

Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) is coming off his first loss in nearly nine years, a lopsided defeat when he moved up in weight to challenge light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in May.

Golovkin, who will be fighting at 168 pounds for the first time, said he only watched the highlights from Bivol’s win, but believes Álvarez just wasn’t totally ready to fight at 175 pounds.

“I saw Canelo didn’t show the best of him,” Golovkin said. “Probably he didn’t take that fight seriously, didn’t prepare mentally for that fight. This one would be different.”

Alvarez acknowledges the loss “hurt me a lot.” He also he said his preparation was not ideal, but avoided getting into details of what tired him in the later rounds.

“I have to move forward. I’m more dangerous right now. I’m more angry and I will use it in my favor,” he said

And there’s all the animosity they keep since their first bout in September 2017.

It was on display during intense staredowns in Los Angeles and New York the past week — including one in Yankee Stadium, where they threw out ceremonial first pitches.

For Alvarez, this fight is “personal” for him because Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) kept dismissing him while seeking a third matchup after their September 2018 bout.

Golovkin also threw shade at Álvarez for his golf hobby, which some blamed for his defeat in May.

“When you lose, everybody starts making excuses,” Álvarez said. “It’s because of this or if I am golfing too much. I was golfing when I won the (super middleweight) title three years ago.”

Now, he wants to knock out the 40-year-old from Kazakhstan for the first time and send him into retirement.

“I’m gonna end his career,” he said.

Golovkin has reacted dismissively, saying Álvarez postures too much.

“It’s hard for me to say why he’s saying all that,” he said. “I don’t think about him, I forgot about him. He has lost track of reality.”

What motivates him is completing the trilogy, joining other ones such as Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier or Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran.

“Even rematches are not happening all the time. It would be a historic event,” Golovkin said.


Accor recruiting 12,000 temporary workers to help accommodate Qatar’s World Cup fans

Accor recruiting 12,000 temporary workers to help accommodate Qatar’s World Cup fans
Updated 29 June 2022

Accor recruiting 12,000 temporary workers to help accommodate Qatar’s World Cup fans

Accor recruiting 12,000 temporary workers to help accommodate Qatar’s World Cup fans
  • Qatar hopes to attract 1.2 million visitors, nearly half of its population, during the 28-day tournament in November and December

DOHA: Hotel operator Accor is recruiting 12,000 temporary overseas employees to operate 65,000 empty rooms in apartments and homes in Qatar as temporary fan housing for the 2022 soccer World Cup, its chairman and CEO Sebastien Bazin told Reuters.
Qatar is working to avoid an accommodation shortage during the tournament and has hired Accor, Europe’s largest hotel operator, to manage the temporary operation.
“65,000 rooms is like opening 600 hotels, so we committed to hire enough people to serve it,” Bazin said, adding that a drive is under way in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and South America to recruit housekeepers, front-desk staff, logistics experts and others.
“All that is going to be dismantled at the end of December,” he said.
Qatar’s official World Cup accommodation website has received around 25,000 bookings so far, and will offer more than 100,000 rooms, Omar Al Jaber, executive director of accommodation for tournament organizers the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy told reporters on Tuesday.
“We will be under pressure until the first match has started. This is normal and we are ready,” Al Jaber said.
Qatar hopes to attract 1.2 million visitors, nearly half of its population, during the 28-day tournament in November and December.
But the tiny Gulf Arab state has fewer than 30,000 hotel rooms, according estimates by Qatar Tourism, and 80 percent of those rooms have been block booked by world soccer’s governing body FIFA, for official guests, World Cup organizers said.
Qatar is also offering 4,000 rooms on two cruise ships moored at Doha Port, 1,000 Bedouin-style desert tents and rooms in pre-fabricated fan village cabins. Pre-booked accommodation is mandatory for ticketed fans who plan to stay overnight in Qatar during the World Cup, Al Jaber said. Without accommodation, most fans won’t be issued a mandatory fan ID, which doubles as a visa to Qatar.
To operate hotel-style rooms in homes and apartments will be a massive logistical challenge for Accor, Bazin said.
The hotel operator is shipping 500 containers from China, filled with furnishings, from sofas to silverware. Accor will redeploy its fleet of trucks, busses and cars from Makkah in neighboring Saudi Arabia to overcome an expected shortage of available vehicles in Qatar during the tournament, he said. It has also sourced a local company to launder the 150 tons of dirty linen the operation will generate each day.


Serena loses in Wimbledon comeback, Nadal digs deep to advance

Serena loses in Wimbledon comeback, Nadal digs deep to advance
Updated 29 June 2022

Serena loses in Wimbledon comeback, Nadal digs deep to advance

Serena loses in Wimbledon comeback, Nadal digs deep to advance
  • Title contender Matteo Berrettini was forced to pull out with coronavirus while women’s top seed Iga Swiatek extended her winning streak to 36 matches

LONDON: Serena Williams tasted bitter defeat on her return to singles tennis at Wimbledon on Tuesday as Rafael Nadal overcame a huge scare to progress to the second round.
Elsewhere on day two of the Championships, title contender Matteo Berrettini was forced to pull out with coronavirus while women’s top seed Iga Swiatek extended her winning streak to 36 matches.
Seven-time champion Williams went down to unseeded Harmony Tan of France 7-5, 1-6, 7/6 (10/7 in her first singles encounter since an injury forced her out of her first-round match at Wimbledon last year.
Williams, 40, won the last of her Wimbledon singles titles six years ago but reached the final in 2018 and 2019.
“I’m so emotional now,” said Tan. “She’s a superstar. When I was young, I was watching her so many times on the TV.
“For my first Wimbledon it’s wow — just wow.
“When I saw the draw, I was really scared. She’s such a legend. I thought if I can win one game, two games, that would be really good for me.”
Williams was far below her imperious best on Tuesday, struggling from the start with her form and fitness.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, cheered by the crowd as she made her entrance, lost the first set but broke early in the second set and went on to level the match.
But she faltered while serving for the match and faded badly in the third-set tie-break after taking a 4-0 lead.
She finished with 61 winners but 54 unforced errors the 3-hour, 11-minute evening match.
Earlier, an off-key Nadal, already halfway to a calendar Grand Slam after winning the Australian Open and French Open, dug deep to beat Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
The two-time Wimbledon champion, who has not played at the tournament since 2019, thanked the crowd for their wholehearted support.
“It’s not a surface that we play very often, and especially in my case, for different reasons, the past three years I didn’t put any foot on a grass court, so it always takes a while,” said Nadal, 36.
“It was my first match and as I know, every day is a test and today was one of these important tests.”
The Spaniard appeared to be coasting to victory when he took a two-set lead but his Argentine opponent found a new level, winning the third set and going a break up early in the fourth.
But from 4-2 down the second seed found an extra gear, winning the next four games to seal the match in a little over three and a half hours, roared on by the Center Court crowd.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion played the entire French Open with his troublesome left foot anaesthetised but he has received treatment since then and was moving well on Tuesday.
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, who took Nadal to five sets at the French Open, crashed out of the tournament at the hands of American Maxime Cressy.
The sixth seed lost 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 7-6 (11/9), 7-6 (7/5), removing another potential obstacle in the path of Nadal, who next faces Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis.
Men’s fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Swiss qualifier Alexander Ritschard in four sets.

The early action at the All England Club was overshadowed by the announcement from Berrettini — last year’s runner-up — that coronavirus had forced him out of the tournament.
“I am heartbroken to announce that I need to withdraw from @wimbledon due to a positive COVID-19 test result,” the 26-year-old Italian wrote on Instagram.
Berrettini was widely regarded as one of the biggest threats to defending champion Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, having captured back-to-back grass-court titles in Stuttgart and Queen’s.
He is the second man to withdraw from Wimbledon with Covid in two days after 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic of Croatia also tested positive.
The Italian was a potential semifinal opponent for Nadal.
It is business as usual at the Grand Slam this year after the tournament was canceled due to Covid in 2020 and last year was played in front of reduced crowds.
The All England Club said in a statement that protocols remained in place to minimize the risk of infection.
Poland’s world number one Swiatek, who has won her past six tournaments — coasted into the second round with a routine 6-0, 6-3 victory against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett.
There were also straightforward wins in the women’s draw for 2019 champion Simona Halep and fourth seed Paula Badosa.
Beaten French Open finalist Coco Gauff, the 11th seed, recovered from losing the first set against Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse to win 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.


Al-Hilal’s winning DNA: 5 things learned as Riyadh giants claimed 2021-22 Saudi Pro League title

Al-Hilal’s winning DNA: 5 things learned as Riyadh giants claimed 2021-22 Saudi Pro League title
Updated 28 June 2022

Al-Hilal’s winning DNA: 5 things learned as Riyadh giants claimed 2021-22 Saudi Pro League title

Al-Hilal’s winning DNA: 5 things learned as Riyadh giants claimed 2021-22 Saudi Pro League title
  • Asian champions have completed remarkable turnaround since February to wipe away 16-point deficit on an Al-Ittihad team now left to rue season after looking certainties for championship

RIYADH: Al-Hilal are champions of Saudi Arabia once again, having at one point looked dead and buried as Jeddah rivals Al-Ittihad held a seemingly insurmountable 16-point lead over them.

But the Riyadh giants are not champions of Asia and the Kingdom for nothing and proved that they remain the country’s worthy champions.

The 2021-22 Saudi Professional League season ended on Monday night, and here are five things — and there could be many, many more — learned from the final action of the campaign.

1. Winning is in Al-Hilal’s DNA

Three successive title wins make it 18 in total. Love them or hate them – and there are plenty in both groups – there is no denying that Al-Hilal know how to win games, and titles.

Eleven victories out of the last 12 is an amazing run, especially when it came after a demanding season with FIFA Club World Cup and Asian Champions League commitments. They usually find a way to find a way.

The 2-1 victory over Al-Faisaly summed up what has been a dramatic campaign. There has been so much action in injury time this season, so many late winning goals and controversies, and Monday was no different.

Al-Hilal may win but they do not always make it easy. There was a goal in each half from Odion Ighalo, who was razor sharp and showed why he finished as the league’s leading goalscorer, but the men from Dammam grabbed a goal back and then there were plenty of nerves for Al-Hilal’s fans.

The game, and the season, ended after 100 minutes with the referee standing by the pitchside monitor looking at a possible penalty for Al-Faisaly. It was not given and that was that. It was a fitting way to end an amazing season.

2. Al-Ittihad will never forget this

This fact will be repeated for years to come; Al-Ittihad were 16 points clear of Al-Hilal in February and they ended up two points behind when it mattered.

Nobody could have predicted that Al-Hilal would take 33 points from the last 36 available but even so, the Tigers had it in the bag. Then they went and dropped 13 points from the last eight games and that is not the form of champions. The 0-0 draw with struggling Al-Batin in the final game of the season summed it all up.

They had so much attacking talent in Igor Coronado, Abderrazak Hamdallah, and Romarinho but they just could not make it happen and the game, similar to the season, petered out with disappointment. As well as the two recent defeats against the champions, coach Cosmin Contra will look back at that 4-4 draw with Al-Feiha in May, when the team threw away a 3-1 lead, as a turning point. It meant there were just five points from the final five games.

The wait for the title now stretches back to 2009. That hurts, as was demonstrated by the tears of goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe at the end, and this does too but, in football, there is always next season.

3. Al-Ahli make unthinkable history

A 0-0 draw at Al-Shabab resulted in Al-Ahli being relegated for the first time in their history. It is truly shocking that the three-time champions, the latest triumph coming just six years ago, and two-time Asian runners-up are now in the second tier.

Two years ago, they were third, then eighth, and now 15th – the drift has been coming. There were reports of dressing room unrest in the past, coaches coming and going, and then injuries at unfortunate times, and when you throw in a poor start with five points from the first seven games then maybe ultimate relegation should not come as such a big shock.

Had they won one of the four games they drew in the final five, things would have been different. This time even the reliable Omar Al-Somah could not save them despite a talented supporting cast that included Ezgjan Alioski, Carlos Eduardo, Abdulrahman Ghareeb, and many others.

For a club that has been drifting, it could be that relegation is the wake-up call they need, but maybe not. The next few weeks will be tough.

4. The relegation battle was quietly dramatic

Going into the final round of games there were seven teams who were genuinely threatened by relegation. It was an amazing position for the league to be in and there were so many twists and turns.

It was not quite the explosive last day that the neutrals had been hoping for as there were not that many goals, with only 14 scored over the eight games.

But there was quiet drama and tension. At any time, had Al-Ahli scored, they would have climbed out of the bottom three. If Al-Faisaly had managed one more, then they would have done the same. If Ettifaq had conceded just once against Al-Feiha then they would have gone down. Had Al-Ittihad scored then it would have meant the end for Al-Batin.

Rarely has there been so much at stake for so many teams going into the final seconds of the season. It has been a long season, more than 10 months, but it was alive right until the end.

5. Al-Nassr and Al-Shabab not far away

For much of the season, the two Riyadh teams were in touch at the top and it was only the amazing winning streaks, first from Al-Ittihad and then from Al-Hilal, that took them out of the hunt.

In the end though, Al-Nassr finished just four points behind the runners-up from Jeddah and six points behind the champions. With the club ready to appoint French coach Rudi Garcia, next season should be an interesting one, and there will be a lot of fans looking to see if the club can keep hold of Talisca, who scored 20 goals in his first season in Saudi Arabia. Recovering from injury, Pity Martinez has started to show the talents that made him a big-money signing back in 2020.

Al-Shabab know what it is like to lose big players after top scorer Odion Ighalo left for Al-Hilal at the end of January and a fourth-place finish seems about right as they lacked a little consistency. These third- and fourth-place teams need to keep their biggest talents and recruit well in the coming weeks. Then they should be ready for a title challenge next time around. This year, they were not far away.


WHO: Qatar World Cup pandemic risks being well run

WHO: Qatar World Cup pandemic risks being well run
Updated 28 June 2022

WHO: Qatar World Cup pandemic risks being well run

WHO: Qatar World Cup pandemic risks being well run
  • There was no reason to think the pandemic risks would be higher at the November-December tournament, WHO's emergencies director said
  • Overall, the risks are being very carefully managed

GENEVA: The WHO voiced confidence Tuesday that hosts Qatar would successfully manage the Covid-19 risks at the 2022 football World Cup.
There was no reason to think the pandemic risks would be higher at the November-December tournament than at other major events which have passed off safely, the World Health Organization’s emergencies director Michael Ryan said.
“Properly managed mass gatherings that have the proper planning can be run very safely,” he told a live interaction on the WHO’s Facebook page.
“We’ve been working very closely with the authorities in Qatar on that as WHO, and providing advice as needed to them on how to run a safe World Cup.
“The public health authorities in Qatar have been very engaged... on the public health risk management of the World Cup.
“Overall, the risks are being very carefully managed.”
Two million tickets will be sold in total, with another one million reserved for sponsors and the sport’s global governing body FIFA.
The Qatari capital Doha, with a population of about 2.4 million, is bracing itself for the huge influx of visitors.
“I don’t perceive there’s any more risk with the World Cup than there’s been with any other mass gatherings,” said Ryan.
“I have every faith that they will be able to run a successful World Cup and that it will be a spectacle for the world to enjoy.”
The 32-team tournament — set to be the most geographically-concentrated World Cup in history — kicks off on November 21.