NBA playoffs 2021: Bucks star Giannis ruled of Game 6

By Sports Desk July 03, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been ruled out of Game 6 as the Milwaukee Bucks try to clinch an NBA Finals berth on Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks.

The Bucks moved 3-2 clear in the Eastern Conference Finals after beating the Hawks 123-112 in Game 5 on Thursday, with Antetokounmpo and Atlanta's Trae Young both watching from the sidelines.

Milwaukee confirmed on Saturday several hours ahead of tip-off that the superstar will miss again for Game 6 after he hyperextended his left knee in the Game 4 loss away to the Hawks.

Two-time MVP Antetokounmpo landed awkwardly on his left leg with just over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter in Atlanta, where he jumped up to contest an alley-oop from Lou Williams to Clint Capela, but his knee buckled before he hobbled to the locker room.

The 'Greek Freak' has averaged a career-high 29.2 points in the playoffs, along with 13 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

Antetokounmpo had averaged 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and a career best-tying 5.9 assists per game in the regular season.

The Hawks have announced that Young is a game-time decision having missed the past two games with a bone bruise in his right foot.

Young has averaged 29.8 points, 9.5 assists and 2.7 rebounds in his first postseason, having averaged 25.3 points, a career-high 9.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds in the regular season.

Milwaukee are eyeing their first championship since 1971, while they last reached the NBA Finals more than 45 years ago in 1973-74.

The Hawks have not featured in the Finals since their triumphant season 63 years ago when they were still based in St Louis.

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  • 'Wherever Sadio plays next season, he'll be a big player' – Klopp offers no Mane guarantees as Bayern rumours persist 'Wherever Sadio plays next season, he'll be a big player' – Klopp offers no Mane guarantees as Bayern rumours persist

    Jurgen Klopp said he "couldn't care less" about rumours linking Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich ahead of Liverpool's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

    The Liverpool manager could be poised to lose one of the most significant players in his squad at the end of the season.

    Mane said earlier in the week that he would give "special" news regarding his future after the European showpiece game in Paris.

    That and his suggestion it would be "the best answer" sparked speculation he would agree to stay at Liverpool, but it may not be quite so clear-cut, with Klopp having palmed away questions on Friday rather than offered any assurance that the 30-year-old will remain at Anfield.

    "This is the wrong moment to speak about that. Wherever Sadio plays next season, he will be a big player," Klopp said.

    Bayern raided Borussia Dortmund for talent during Klopp's time with BVB in the Bundesliga, with Robert Lewandowski notably prised away on a free transfer at the end of the 2013-14 season.

    With Lewandowski's Bayern future now in doubt, as he seeks a move, possibly to Barcelona, the Bundesliga champions are on the hunt for a goalscorer.

    Klopp said: "Sadio's in the shape of his life for sure. He's in brilliant shape. It's a joy to watch him at the moment.

    "Football has asked him a lot this season – an incredibly long season, a lot of finals and this kind of things, one of the most successful for him and for us.

    "The Bayern Munich rumours, I couldn't care less in the moment. We are all fully focused on the game. Sadio's completely focused on the game; he knows exactly how important it is to him and how important it is to us.

    "So no concerns, completely normal."

    Klopp said he could cope with the speculation surrounding Mane, who has helped Liverpool win the EFL Cup and FA Cup already this season.

    The forward has played 50 clubs games this term, scoring 23 goals, as well as helping Senegal reach the Africa Cup of Nations final, scoring the penalty that clinched shoot-out success.

    "It's not the first time in my career before decisive games that Bayern Munich rumours come up," Klopp said.

    "I'm not exactly [sure] what I did that [means] it happens, but no problem at all."

  • French Open: Nadal powers into last 16 with victory over Van de Zandschulp French Open: Nadal powers into last 16 with victory over Van de Zandschulp

    Rafael Nadal eased into the last 16 at the French Open as he cruised to a 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday.

    Nadal breezed past Jordan Thompson and Corentin Moutet to reach the third round, where the Spaniard had few difficulties on Court Suzanne-Lenglen against world number 29 Van de Zandschulp.

    The pair exchanged breaks to begin the match, but the 13-time winner at Roland Garros soon took control as he only lost four points on his service in the first set, all of which came in the first game.

    Van de Zandschulp continued to struggle in the second set as Nadal triumphed in a lengthy third game to break again, before following suit in the Dutchman's next service to further his advantage en route to taking a two-set lead.

    World number five Nadal again opened the third set by battling to break Van de Zandschulp twice and had the opportunity to go 5-0 up with points in hand.

    The Dutchman fought back to win three straight games before claiming another, leaving the set finely poised at 5-4 to Nadal.

    However, the 35-year-old Nadal regained his composure to wrap up victory and will next face Felix Auger-Aliassime, who defeated Filip Krajinovic.

    Data Slam: Nadal on course for Djokovic meeting

    Only Novak Djokovic (325) and Roger Federer (369) have more grand slam match wins than Nadal (301), who remains on course to meet the world number one in the quarter-final.

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    Nadal – 25/13
    Van de Zandschulp – 19/31

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Nadal – 2/1
    Van de Zandschulp – 3/3

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Nadal – 6/12
    Van de Zandschulp – 2/3

  • The Numbers Game: Liverpool plot revenge as Real Madrid look to continue incredible finals streak The Numbers Game: Liverpool plot revenge as Real Madrid look to continue incredible finals streak

    European club football's main event is almost here, with two bona fide giants of the game set to face off at the Stade de France on Saturday.

    Either Real Madrid or Liverpool will be crowned champions of Europe in Paris; whichever team manages it will be providing their fans with a glorious end to a tremendous season.

    Of course, Madrid did what Liverpool could not on the domestic front, as Los Blancos head into this game as LaLiga champions – the Reds ultimately missed out to Manchester City on the last day of the Premier League campaign.

    But this has still been a successful season for Jurgen Klopp's side, who could yet claim a treble having already lifted the EFL Cup and FA Cup in England.

    It promises to be an immense spectacle, with Opta's pre-match facts highlighting the wealth of footballing greatness that is set to be on display.

    The history

    Much of the build-up to this match has centred around two separate narratives of "revenge" relating to the 2018 Champions League final meeting between these two.

    The first obvious desire for retribution comes simply from the fact Madrid won 3-1 in Kyiv – the other surrounds Mohamed Salah, whose match was ended early on that occasion after a collision with Sergio Ramos.

    Either way, if Liverpool – and Salah – are to have their vengeance, they'll need to contend with Madrid's astonishing record: they have won each of their previous seven Champions League/European Cup finals.

    To put that stat into context, no other team have even won the competition more than seven times, let alone won in seven consecutive final appearances.

    But if you're looking for omens, answer this: who last beat Madrid in a European Cup/Champions League final, and where was it played?

    Liverpool, in Paris (1981)…

    The managers

    For about 24 hours, Klopp had joined an exclusive list of managers who had reached the European Cup/Champions League final four times.

    But then Carlo Ancelotti's Madrid pulled off their third great escape in as many knockout ties, meaning the Italian would set a new record for the most final appearances as a manager in UEFA's flagship competition.

    But the historic achievement he'll no doubt be craving is still up for grabs.

    Victory on Saturday will ensure Ancelotti is the first manager to lift the trophy four times, having won the competition in 2003, 2007 and 2014.

    But here's another omen. The only club to beat an Ancelotti team in a Champions League final? That's right, Liverpool in 2005.

    Nevertheless, Klopp doesn't have a particularly encouraging record against Los Blancos. He's faced them nine times in the Champions League, with his 33 per cent success rate the worst among teams he's faced at least three times.

    The danger men

    It would be fair to bill this match as something of a Ballon d'Or shootout.

    Certainly, ahead of Saturday, the favourite is Karim Benzema, and with good reason. The France striker has enjoyed an incredible season and been central to Madrid's route to the final – he has scored 15 goals, two behind the all-time record for a single Champions League/European Cup campaign.

    What helps make that such a remarkable achievement is the fact he would become the second-oldest scorer in a Champions League final (34 years, 160 days) after Paolo Maldini (36 years, 333 days) if he does net in Paris.

    Madrid will likely need to keep the vengeful Salah in check, however.

    Since the start of the 2017-18 season, the Egyptian has 44 Champions League goal involvements, a tally bettered only by Robert Lewandowski (55) and Kylian Mbappe (47).

    If Liverpool are successful, Salah will surely become the frontrunner for the Ballon d'Or – unless Sadio Mane, who has scored three in his past four Champions League games and won the Africa Cup of Nations, has a decisive impact.

    The prize

    Liverpool are bidding to join Milan with seven European Cup/Champions League crowns, the second-most in the competitions' collective history.

    Of course, the only team with more than seven are Madrid. Victory for them will take them to 14 titles, remarkably twice as many as any other club, a fact that really highlights their obsession with the competition.

    Either way, a behemoth of European football will enjoy another memorable occasion in Paris on Saturday.

    But if it's Liverpool who succeed, it'll be difficult to look at this as anything other than the early stages of English domination in the Champions League, given Premier League teams have won two of the past three already.

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