Giannis Antetokounmpo showed why many feel he is the best player in the world in the Milwaukee Bucks' 110-107 comeback win away against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

The two-time MVP and reigning NBA Finals MVP was a dominant force in Boston, finishing with 40 points on 16-of-27 shooting, keeping his side in touch as they struggled in the first half, and making clutch plays down the stretch to help the Bucks win the fourth quarter 33-21.

It was a bright start in the first quarter for Milwaukee, with Antetokounmpo only scoring four points as role players hit shots and Jrue Holiday had nine early, but their star had to take over in the second quarter as the offense stalled.

Antetokounmpo had 15 of the Bucks' 19 second-quarter points as the Celtics threatened to pull away, leading 54-42 with two minutes remaining in the first half.

Both teams were clicking in the third quarter, but every time the Bucks closed the gap, the Celtics had an answer in front of their raucous home fans, with an Antetokounmpo pull-up three to end the quarter needed to trim the margin to an 86-77 Boston lead.

With 10 minutes to play, the Celtics led 93-79 – and then everything began to fall apart.

The once-fluid Boston offense devolved into a stagnant, turn-taking, isolation-heavy mess, consistently not even beginning to attack until there was less than 10 seconds on the shot clock, often resulting in tough, contested, long two-point jump shots by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Trailing 105-99 with two minutes remaining, Antetokounmpo drained a clutch three-pointer to make it a one-possession game, before Holiday tied it up via a long-ball with 42 seconds on the clock.

Two Tatum free throws put the Celtics back ahead, before Antetokounmpo earned two shots himself. 

He scored the first – with blood dripping down his face from a cut above his right eye – and missed the second, but Bobby Portis was able to come up with the offensive rebound in a scramble and put it back in to take a 108-107 lead with 11 seconds remaining.

The last 11 seconds was a chance for Holiday to make a statement. Widely considered the best defensive guard in the game, Holiday blocked the shot of Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, snatching the ball out of the air in the process to win possession.

After two successful free throws from Pat Connaughton, Holiday put the finishing touches on the game by picking Smart's pocket once again as he tried to bring the ball up for one last attempt at tying it, taking a 3-2 series lead, with Game 6 headed back to Milwaukee.

In NBA playoff history, when a series has been tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has won the series 82.2 per cent of the time (180-39).

If the Celtics can win Game 6, the Game 7 decider will head back to Boston.

 

No Ja, no worries for Memphis Grizzlies at home

With their season on the line, the Memphis Grizzlies dominated the Golden State Warriors 134-95 as nine players scored at least nine points each with star Ja Morant out injured.

The Grizzlies were expected to be competitive without Morant – going 20-5 in the 25 games he missed in the regular season – but they were far more than that, opening up a 119-67 lead at three-quarter time.

Illustrating the one-sided nature of the contest, the Warriors committed 22 turnovers compared to 10 for the Grizzlies, and grabbed just four offensive rebounds while the home side snatched down 18.

Overall, this meant the Grizzlies attempted 19 more field goals (47-of-99 compared to 36-of-80), as well as 17 more free throws (22-of-30 to nine-of-13).

Desmond Bane, Tyus Jones and Jaren Jackson Jr top-scored for Memphis with 21 points each, and all five Grizzlies starters finished with a plus/minus of at least plus 32.

Klay Thompson top-scored for the Warriors with 19 points on an efficient seven-of-12 shooting, but he had the worst plus/minus in the game at minus 45.

Game 6 will head back to Memphis, and if the Grizzlies can force a Game 7, it will be played in Golden State

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich made history on Wednesday with his third career cycle, but it came in a high-scoring 14-11 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Yelich's cycle began with an automatic double in the first inning, before he blasted a three-run home run his next time up in the third frame.

A single in the fifth inning meant he just needed a triple to accomplish the rare feat, and after a fly-out in the seventh, Yelich connected on a first-pitch changeup in the last inning, hooking it into the right-field corner and hustling around to third base to complete his cycle.

He is now one of six players to ever hit for the cycle on three occasions and, incredibly, all three have come against the Reds. He is the only player to have three cycles against one team.

The action from the game did not stop with Yelich as there were 29 combined hits between the two sides, including six home runs.

For the Brewers, as well as Yelich, Hunter Renfroe hit two home runs, while Jace Peterson and Mike Brosseau hit one each.

Colin Moran was the only Reds player to go deep as the team with the worst record in baseball (7-24) found another way to win, manufacturing runs with consecutive singles and walks.

In the most eye-catching stat-line of the game – other than the cycle – Reds relief pitcher Dauri Moreta conceded five runs from five hits, including two home runs, while failing to get a single out before being pulled.

 

Torres stays hot for the Yankees

After hitting a walk-off home run against the Texas Rangers earlier in the week, New York Yankees second-baseman Gleyber Torres was the hero again in his side's 5-3 win against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Torres drove in all five Yankees runs, with a three-run home run in the fourth inning, and a base hit in the sixth inning when runners were on second and third base.

Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon was credited with the win, with two earned runs from six hits and one walk in five-and-a-third innings, striking out four.

Angels waste quality Ohtani start

Reigning AL MVP and Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani pitched a gem against the Tampa Bay Rays, but it was not enough as the visiting Rays won 4-2 in extra innings.

Ohtani pitched six full innings, allowing just one run from two hits and two walks, but a lack of run support meant his side was trailing 1-0 when he was withdrawn.

Shane McClanahan was also nearly flawless on the mound for the Rays to win the pitching duel, finishing with seven shutout frames, striking out 11 batters and allowing two hits with one walk.

Giannis Antetokounmpo never thought twice about putting up his clutch three-pointer, which was key in the Milwaukee Bucks coming back to beat the Boston Celtics 110-107 in Game 5.

The win gives the Bucks a 3-2 series lead, with Game 6 heading back to Milwaukee, and at times it was a one-man show as Antetokounmpo finished with a game-high 40 points on 16-of-27 shooting.

As the Celtics began to open up a sizeable lead, Antetokounmpo scored 15 of the Bucks' 19 second-quarter points to keep his side within touching distance, and hit an important three-pointer to close out the third quarter and trim the margin back to nine points.

With less than two minutes to play, trailing 105-99, and having shot the three poorly all playoffs (four-of-29, 13 per cent entering Game 5) Antetokounmpo nailed a clutch catch-and-shoot three to make it 105-102, before Jrue Holiday tied the game with another a minute later.

Speaking to the post-game media, the reigning NBA Finals MVP said the big moments are not for everyone, but he wanted the responsibility.

"In a play, when it's a close game and if you're not comfortable or confident enough to take that shot, for a person who is being criticised for his shooting, you don't take that shot," he said.

"You wait, you give the ball to the point guard and you have like a full play, set a pick-and-roll, make sure everybody touches the ball, drive-and-kick…but as I said, I worked on it.

"I felt good, the ball felt good in my hands and I was able to have the nerves and time to take that shot."

While Antetokounmpo was the driving force behind the win, Holiday was crucial in securing the result, becoming the first player in the past 25 years to have a steal and a block in the last 10 seconds of a playoff game.

Antetokounmpo made sure to credit Holiday and the Bucks defense, which held the Celtics to just nine points in the final eight minutes.

"Great block [by Holiday], and he was able to keep his balance then stay in the court," he said.

"Then at the end of the game he got that steal from Marcus Smart. Big-time plays down the stretch and that's what Jrue does.

"It's great. Some people take this for granted, but you can live or die with Jrue making decisions like that, going for a steal or putting his hands in there. We've won a lot of games with him doing that.

"[As a team] we just tried to keep guys in front of us, make them take that tough shot, being as active as we could – showing our bodies, showing our hands.

"Sometimes it's just luck, sometimes the ball just bounces our way and we were able to get some stops, but there was definitely effort behind it."

Iga Swiatek and Paula Badosa progressed to the third round of the Internazionali d'Italia with ease as the former continued her impressive winning run on Wednesday.

Top seed Switaek, seeking a fifth consecutive title, breezed past Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3 6-0 as she became the first female player to win 24 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015.

Badosa followed suit by dispatching Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-1 in just an hour and 17 minutes, teeing up a third-round clash with Daria Kasatkina, who beat Leylah Fernandez 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

Aryna Sabalenka, the third favourite in Italy, also made light work of Zhang Shuai to triumph 6-2 6-0, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari cruised past Madrid Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-2.

Sakkari will next face a Rome rematch with Coco Gauff, who defeated compatriot Madison Brengle 6-2 6-4. Teenager Gauff's sole win against Sakkari came at this tournament in the second round last year.

Yulia Putintseva came from behind to beat Garbine Muguruza 3-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-1, and will next meet Ons Jabeur, who made it eight successive main-draw wins by defeating Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-2.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins also battled past former world number one Simona Halep 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.

There was no such joy for fifth seed Anett Kontaveit as she crashed out to Petra Martic in straight sets, while Jil Teichmann upset former Rome champion Karolina Pliskova in a three-set thriller.

Belinda Bencic, who was ranked as 12th seed, was another early casualty as she fell to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 defeat against American Amanda Anisimova.

Meanwhile, Jessica Pegula secured her third-round spot after Anhelina Kalinina withdrew due to injury, with Victoria Azarenka earning a straightforward 6-2 6-4 victory over Camila Osorio to get a shot at favourite Swiatek in the next round.

The Cleveland Guardians saw Wednesday's game against the Chicago White Sox postponed due to several positive tests for COVID-19 in their camp.

MLB will have to reschedule the game due to health and safety protocols, with two matchups in a three-game series between the two already played.

While there have been positive coronavirus tests this season and forced individual absences, this first rescheduling of a game provides added logistical complication in an already-compressed regular season due to a lockout.

According to MLB's Mandy Bell, Guardians manager Terry Francona, bench coach DeMarlo Hale and other clubhouse staff were among those to test positive.

Pending further positive tests, the Guardians will also look to maintain their pitching rotation, coming into Friday's matchup against the Minnesota Twins.

The Cleveland Guardians saw Wednesday's game against the Chicago White Sox postponed due to several positive tests for COVID-19 in their camp.

MLB will have to reschedule the game due to health and safety protocols, with two matchups in a three-game series between the two already played.

While there have been positive coronavirus tests this season and forced individual absences, this first rescheduling of a game provides added logistical complication in an already-compressed regular season due to a lockout.

According to MLB's Mandy Bell, Guardians manager Terry Francona, bench coach DeMarlo Hale and other clubhouse staff were among those to test positive.

Pending further positive tests, the Guardians will also look to maintain their pitching rotation, coming into Friday's matchup against the Minnesota Twins.

Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), operators of Caymanas Park, is in mourning at the passing of industry stalwart Christopher Armond. The iconic former commentator turned administrator died on Wednesday after a short illness at the age of 67.

SVREL Chairman Solomon Sharpe was naturally saddened by the passing of the man whom he considered a dear friend.

 “I have many fond memories of working with Chris from the early days and was always impressed by his vast knowledge,” Sharpe said.

“He has done so much for Caymanas Park and the horseracing industry in general. I offer my condolences to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”  

Armond, who was the Director of Racing at Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) enjoyed an illustrious career spanning more than 40 years and was held as the standard for horse race commentary throughout the region.

In 1984, he was awarded the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) Golden Microphone Award for his commentary. Armond also commentated in Detroit, Michigan and served as an administrator in Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados.

“For many Jamaicans, Armond is the voice of horseracing,” SVREL said in a statement Wednesday.

“From 1975 to 1985, Chris Armond established a new level of excitement and accuracy in race commentary with his distinguished vocal delivery. He provided colourful commentary in his distinctive voice, bringing horseracing into homes across the island.

“Even today, he remains the gold standard of commentating in the industry, not just locally but also for fans overseas.”

In addition to Armond’s iconic commentary, he also served as an administrator in the industry for many years and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Thoroughbred Racing in June 2017 under the category of “Other Racing Personalities”.

It was seemingly natural for Christopher Joseph Armond to have a professional life as part of the racing industry. His father, Joseph, a Hall of Fame inductee, was co-managing director of Caymanas Park Limited, and his grandfather Altamont was the founder of the promoting company, Jamaica Turf Club. Armond carried on this family legacy and served as Director of Racing until his retirement on Sunday, December 27, 2020.

“Armond has left an indelible legacy in the sport of horseracing. His accomplishments are insurmountable and his contribution to the sport will never be diminished,” SVREL’s statement said.

“Our thoughts are with his family and dear friends during this difficult time.”

The passing of Hall of Fame center Bob Lanier prompted tributes from the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

Eight-time All-Star Lanier died on Tuesday following a short illness, the NBA said.

Commissioner Adam Silver described the popular former player, who was 73, as "among the most talented centers in the history of the NBA" but added: "His impact on the league went far beyond what he accomplished on the court."

After retiring on the Bucks in 1984 and briefly serving as a coach at the Golden State Warriors in the 1990s, Lanier was an NBA ambassador and a special assistant to both David Stern and Silver.

"I learned so much from Bob by simply watching how he connected with people," Silver said. "He was a close friend who I will miss dearly, as will so many of his colleagues across the NBA who were inspired by his generosity."

Lanier had his number 16 jersey retired by both the Pistons, where he spent nine and a half seasons, and the Bucks, finishing his career with four and a half years in Milwaukee.

He ranks third all-time for both points (15,488) and rebounds (8,063) as a Piston.

A Pistons statement read: "The Detroit Pistons organisation is deeply saddened by the passing of Bob Lanier, a true legend who meant so much to the city of Detroit and to generations of Pistons fans.

"As fierce and as dominant as Bob was on the court, he was equally kind and impactful in the community.

"As an ambassador for both the Pistons organisation and the NBA, he represented our league, our franchise and our fans with great passion and integrity."

The Bucks said: "Bob Lanier was an all-time great Milwaukee Buck and a Hall of Famer, whose retired number 16 hangs in the rafters at Fiserv Forum.

"In his five seasons in Milwaukee (1980-84), Bob led the Bucks to division titles each year and to two Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 1983 and 1984.

"But even more than his basketball success, which included his being an All-Star in 1982, Bob was one of the most popular players with Bucks fans and known throughout the community for his generosity and kindness.

"We send our deepest condolences to Bob's family and friends."

Rafael Nadal wants the comparisons between himself and Carlos Alcaraz to stop as he hopes his compatriot will not come under too much pressure.

Alcaraz defeated Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev to win the Madrid Open last week.

The 19-year-old has a 28-3 record for the 2022 season and has risen to world number six in the ATP rankings, having won four tournaments this year.

His incredible form has drawn plenty of comparisons to Nadal, who was a teenager when he burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s.

Nadal bounced back from his defeat to Alcaraz by defeating John Isner at the Internazionali d'Italia on Wednesday.

The 21-time grand slam champion is going for an 11th title in Rome, but he could not avoid fielding questions about Alcaraz in his post-match news conference.

"I do not know. And I won't be able to talk every day about who will be or who is stronger that day, will I? I forgot what I was like," Nadal replied when asked who he thought was a better player at the age of 19 out of himself and Alcaraz.

 

"The only thing we can do is enjoy the career of an extraordinary player like Carlos. But stop comparing him to me. 

"If he manages to win 25 grand slams, it will be fantastic for him and for our country. But let him enjoy his personal career. I have enjoyed my personal career.

"Probably in 2005, I wouldn't have said about myself that I was great, but I thought I was good enough. That's all. Different moments. Different careers. A different way of approaching things because times are changing.

"But let's enjoy it. We don't [need to] put further pressure on him. Don't ask me every time, because I'll always tell you the same thing. 

"It's good for our sport. Honestly, in a selfish way, as a viewer, to have someone like Carlos who will enjoy their career for the next few years is fantastic.

"But now I'm still playing. I am focused on trying to do the things I have to do. That's all."

Noted racing administrator and commentator Chris Armond has died after an extended battle with illness.

Armond, who was 67, was one of regional horse racing’s premier executives and served the sport in various capacities for some 40 years before retiring in 2020.

Armond, who followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather as a racing administrator, first shot to prominence as a commentator in the late 1970s.  Rated as one of the best in the business he was awarded the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) Golden Microphone award in 1984.

Armond went on to have a commentary stint in Detroit, Michigan before heading into administration.  During his time as an administrator, Armond served as Director of Racing at Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), in his home country Jamaica, Executive Officer of the Arima Race Club in Trinidad, and a chief executive at the Barbados Turf club for eight years.  Armond was celebrated for longstanding service at a ceremony, at Jamaica’s Caymanas Park in December 2020.

Arnaud Demare clinched victory in a sprint finish to stage five of the Giro d'Italia as Vincenzo Nibali confirmed 2022 will be his final year as a professional rider.

In his hometown of Messina, following a 174-kilometre route from Catania, Nibali, who has won the Giro twice, felt it was fitting to announce the news.

Out of general classification contention after losing over two minutes on the leading pack in stage four, Nibali is now focused on enjoying what will be his final Giro, and possibly his last appearance at a Grand Tour.

"I was waiting for this stage for a while, for years, it's where I started to ride and train, so I wanted to confirm that this is my last Giro and my last season," the 37-year-old told RAI Sport's Processo all Tappa.

Tearfully, he added: "It's time to call it a day. I've done so much for so long, but it's the right time. I can't forget that I left home when I was 15 years old. I think I gave a lot to cycling and now it's time to give time back to all the people who sacrificed things for me."

At the front of the race, Groupama-FDJ's Demare recovered from being dropped on the day's main climb to claim his first stage win of the season, and his sixth at a Giro.

There was no challenge from Mark Cavendish, who could not bounce back after losing time on the climb.

GC leader Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo), meanwhile, ensured he kept hold of the maglia rossa by crossing in the peloton. The Spaniard maintained his 39-second lead over second-placed Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe).

NIBALI HEADS OUT IN HISTORIC CLUB

As well as winning in his homeland in 2013 and 2016, Nibali triumphed in the Tour de France in 2014 and the Vuelta a Espana in 2010, and is one of only seven riders to have won all three Grand Tours.

Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi Alberto Contador and Chris Froome are the other riders in that exclusive club.

 

STAGE RESULT  

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 4:03:56  
2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) same time  
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) same time 
4. Davide Ballerini (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) same time
5. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS  

General Classification  

1. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 18:21:03  
2. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:39
3. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:58

Points Classification

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 94
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 72
3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 67

King of the Mountains  

1. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 41
2. Mirco Maestri (EOLO-Kometa Cycling Team) 18  
3. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 18

Rafael Nadal accepts he will have to perform better than he did against John Isner if he is to overcome "dangerous" opponent Denis Shapovalov at the Internazionali d'Italia.

The world number four's bid for an 11th title in Rome got off to a strong start on Wednesday as he saw off big-serving Isner 6-3 6-1 in a time of 76 minutes.

Isner twice missed the chance to break Nadal in the seventh game of the opening set and the Spaniard took control from that point on in the second-round match.

Nadal, who has won this tournament in three of the past four years, identified that hold of serve as a key point in the contest.

"The beginning of the match was not good for me," he said in his on-court interview. "He had some chances on the return and had two break points. 

"He had two not difficult balls so I was in his hands at that moment. I was lucky that he missed those shots and then I was able to break. 

"Then the match changed, of course. With the first set on the board, and having the break in the first game of the second set, everything changed."

Nadal will now face Shapovalov in a repeat of last year's last-16 encounter, which the record 21-time grand slam winner edged in three sets.

He recovered from a set down and saved two match points before beating the Canadian 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) en route to lifting the title in the Italian capital.

And Nadal, who was beaten by Carlos Alcaraz on clay in last week's Madrid Open quarter-final, is not expecting an easy task this time around.

"Last year was a joke, the match that I saved here against him," said Nadal of his next opponent. "I was super lucky. I know how dangerous he is, I need to play well. 

"I need to play better than today, but after a while without being on court it is another victory and I have the chance again to play against one of the best players in the world.

"I need to build things again after a tough stoppage and that's what I am trying now. I just need to stay with the right attitude, and let's see if I am able to make that happen."

Alexander Zverev also booked his place in the last 16 on Wednesday thanks to a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 victory over Sebastian Baez.

Last week's Madrid Open runner-up was given a tough time of things by in-form Baez, but ultimately came through unscathed to stay on course for more silverware.

Henrik Stenson has confirmed that Thomas Bjorn will be his first vice-captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Stenson will lead Europe at the next edition of golf's famous team tournament, which will take place at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

Bjorn captained a European team including Stenson in 2018, as they cruised to an emphatic 17.5-10.5 victory in Paris.

The Dane has been a vice-captain on four previous occasions, and a player three times.

"I'm delighted to be part of the whole Ryder Cup experience once again," said Bjorn.

"I probably thought that after 2018 that was it for me, but Henrik called me to talk about captaincy in general and that led into him asking me if I wanted to do another stint as vice-captain, which I agreed to. I'm excited to work with him."

"I have known Thomas for my whole career," said Stenson. "I trust him implicitly and I know any advice he will give me will be honest and direct. He will not simply tell me what he thinks I want to hear and that will be important, so I'm delighted to have him as my first vice-captain for Rome.

"Since the match itself is still over a year away, I know I am going to have a lot of conversations with him about all elements of the Ryder Cup from his experience, both as a vice-captain on previous occasions but also, obviously, as the captain in 2018 when we had a great result.

"I will be depending on him a lot and I'm really looking forward to those chats. He was very happy when I asked him. He was very honoured to be asked and happy to be part of Team Europe again and part of the journey with the players."

Bjorn has full belief in Stenson's captaincy, adding: "I think Henrik will be a fantastic captain. He is so well respected by players and by everyone in the game.

"He is a very hard-working golfer and somebody who is true to himself, and his team will represent that. He has a great sense of humour that the players will take to, and he is very well liked across the whole tour, not just the top where he has played his golf for so many years."

James Wade is recovering in hospital after feeling "extremely unwell" following Sunday's quarter-final victory over Ryan Searle at the European Open.

The world number five, who had been due to face Dimitri Van den Bergh in the semi-finals, withdrew from the event and was taken to a hospital in Leverkusen on advice from paramedics.

He experienced a racing heart, high blood pressure, nausea, and dizziness, and will continue to be observed and treated until he is fit enough to fly back home.

Wade's wife Samantha, who is at home with their child, is grateful for the treatment the 11-time major winner has received.

"It was very worrying on Sunday night and into Monday and it is horrible to think of James there by himself when he has been so poorly," she said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Clearly we want him home as quickly as possible, but the medical staff have been amazing with James and he is hugely grateful for the compassion and care they have shown.

"We are taking their advice on when it will be safe for him to return home.

"James is desperate to make sure he doesn't let anyone down and is already talking about returning to competitive action for the people that have bought tickets.

"Whilst that is his nature, I am sure everyone would agree that him making a full recovery is the important thing and we will be taking it day by day.

"But I know he will be itching to play as soon as physically possible."

Wade was due to compete in round 14 of the Premier League darts in Sheffield on Thursday, with Joe Cullen his scheduled quarter-final opponent.

Greg Norman has slammed the "anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive" PGA Tour for denying players from entering the opening Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series event next month.

Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood are among the players who asked to be released to play in the inaugural event at Centurion Club from June 9-11.

The PGA Tour has denied members permission to play in London, as the Canadian Open will be staged at the same time.

"We have notified those who have applied that their request has been declined in accordance with the PGA Tour Tournament Regulations," Tyler Dennis, executive vice president and president of the PGA Tour, wrote in a memo sent to members on Tuesday.

"As such, Tour members are not authorised to participate in the Saudi Golf League's London event under our regulations.

"As a membership organisation, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the Tour and its players."

Norman, the CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, on Tuesday revealed that the event had secured an additional $2billion in funding ahead and stated that several top players had said they would play without a release.

Norman said in a statement: "Sadly, the PGA Tour seems intent on denying professional golfers their right to play golf, unless it's exclusively in a PGA Tour tournament.

"This is particularly disappointing in light of the Tour's non-profit status, where its mission is purportedly 'to promote the common interests of professional tournament golfers.'

"Instead, the Tour is intent on perpetuating its illegal monopoly of what should be a free and open market.

"The Tour's action is anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive. But no matter what obstacles the PGA Tour puts in our way, we will not be stopped. We will continue to give players options that promote the great game of golf globally."

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra lavished praise on Jimmy Butler following his side's 120-85 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, labelling him the "ultimate competitor."

Without the injured Kyle Lowry, Butler led the Heat with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while keeping turnovers to a relatively low two despite higher usage.

After scoring 33 and 40 points respectively in losses on the road, Butler had more of a supporting crew in Game 5, as six other Heat players scored in double digits.

Spoelstra singled Butler out not only for his versatility, and how that drives the Heat, but his character.

"Jimmy is just such a stable, high IQ…he's got a great feel for what the team needs, and he does it on both ends and that's what's really kind of lost on young players coming into this league," Spoelstra said post-game.

"He has orchestrated so many things for us offensively, particularly with Kyle [Lowry] out, and he's been able to toggle between those roles seamlessly, and make it look a lot easier than it is."

Shots fell for the Heat as they took a 3-2 series lead, converting on 39.4 per cent of attempts from the perimeter and finishing with 26 assists as a team.

Butler finished Game 5 with an impressive defensive rating of 87.7, and Spoelstra believes his competitive spirit is transformative in both individual and collective senses.

"In terms of being just a scoring option tonight, he was that scoring option but also facilitating for us, he was kind of initiating offense for us quite a bit," he said. "You just feel our whole team has a great sense of confidence when the ball's in Jimmy's hands and we leave the decision up to him.

"He's a great competitor in his heart and his soul. He's an ultimate competitor and when you get into competition, he understands the whole deal. You have to be able to do it on both ends.

"That's what he's been doing for us for three years, really competing for us on both ends, but he's able to compete with a ferocity and do it with an incredibly stable mind."

Joel Embiid insists he is "not mad" after missing out on the NBA's MVP award again to Nikola Jokic but continues to show contempt at the award's voting process.

The Philadelphia 76ers center was runner-up to Jokic last year and according to ESPN the Denver Nuggets' big man will edge him again for this season's gong.

Embiid enjoyed arguably a career-best season, with a league-high 30.6 points per game with 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

"I'm not mad," Embiid told reporters, when speaking after the 76ers' 120-85 loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday.

"That's two years in a row I put myself in that position. It didn't happen. It is almost like, at this point, it is whatever. Whatever happens, happens.

"Last year, I campaigned about it. This year, I answered questions when I was asked, and in the next few years until I retire, it's almost like ... like I said, I wonder what else I have to do to win it, and to me, at this point, it's whatever.

"It's all about focusing, not that I wasn't focused on the bigger picture. It's really time to really put all my energy into the bigger picture, which is to win the whole thing."

Embiid's comments come with the 76ers on the brink of elimination after Tuesday's loss which leaves them 3-2 down in the Conference semi-finals to the Heat.

The 28-year-old Cameroonian added that there was no "right or wrong" answer for the MVP but continued to show derision towards the voting process, insisting he knew weeks ago he would not win.

"This is something that I knew weeks ago, even probably two weeks before the season ended, after those games against whether it was Denver and Milwaukee, and when [ESPN did its] straw poll or whatever. I just knew it wasn't gonna happen," Embiid said.

"Obviously, congrats to Nikola. He deserved it. He had an amazing season. There's no right or wrong. There was a lot of candidates.

"It could have gone either way. Giannis [Antetokounmpo], Devin Booker, being on the best team in the league, by far. I guess, every year is all about whatever you guys decide, whatever fits the narrative as far as who's gonna win."

Auston Matthews says his game-winner was "pretty special" after the Toronto Maple Leafs battled back from two goals down to win 4-3 over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL playoffs on Tuesday.

The Maple Leafs trailed 2-0 after the first period but rallied with Matthews settling the contest with their third goal in the third period.

The win means Toronto lead 3-2 in the best-of-seven series against the reigning Stanley Cup champions.

"It was pretty special," Matthews told reporters, speaking about the goal. "To battle back from down two goals, and never losing hope and competing, that was big."

Matthews led the NHL across the regular season with 60 goals but he had not scored in the playoffs since Game 1 of the series.

Teammate John Tavares, who pulled one back during the second-period power play, praised the NHL's back-to-back Rocket Richard Trophy winner Matthews, who was also credited with seven hits.

"His whole game is all just really good," Tavares said. "When you score 60 goals, that's going to get [discussed], and how he scores it in different ways and the uniqueness of his shot in his abilities, but his all-around game is as good as anybody's in the league.

"He's going to play hard and compete because they're making it hard on him to earn his ice and opportunities, so good for him to play them hard."

The victory means Toronto are one win away from the franchise's first playoff series victory since 2004.

"I just think we needed to possess the puck a little bit more," Matthews said. "Get on top of them and be forechecking and not giving them as much time and space. We were on top of them and had our heads up to make plays."

Elsewhere, Adrian Kempe's over-time goal earned the Los Angeles Kings a 5-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers, having blown a 3-1 lead.

The goal was Kempe's second of the game, as he finished with a three-point performance. The result puts the Kings up 3-2 in the series.

The Carolina Hurricanes also moved up 3-2 in their series against the Boston Bruins with an emphatic 5-1 win after losing their past two.

Rookie Seth Jarvis scored twice and Antti Raanta finished with 34 saves.

The St Louis Blues piled on three third-period goals, all from a Vladimir Tarasenko hat-trick, to secure a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild to lead their series 3-2.

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