Novak Djokovic has had his visa cancelled for a second time by the Australian government and faces deportation.

Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped his third triple-double of the season to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a commanding 118-99 win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

The two-time NBA MVP had 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in front of coach Mike Budenholzer, who was back after returning from the league's health and safety protocol.

Antetokounmpo's 28th career triple-double came in under 30 minutes played, making him the first player in NBA history to achieve that feat multiple times.

Kris Middleton added 23 points for the Bucks, who move to 27-17 for the season, while Bobby Portis and Grayson Allen registered 20 and 15 respectively.

The Warriors trailed 77-38 at half-time and have now lost four times in five matches, yet they still boast the second-best record in the Western Conference.

Grizzlies' run goes on

The Memphis Grizzlies finished strongly to overcome the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-108 and extend their franchise-record run to 11 wins in a row.

Desmond Bane scored 21 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 20 for the in-form Grizzlies, who were also inspired by John Konchar's 15 and career-best 17 rebounds.

The Grizzlies suffered their heaviest loss of the season when the sides met in November, but they pulled away late on in this back-and-forth encounter to go 30-14 in the West.

As for the Timberwolves, they have now let successive games slip away after also going down 128-125 against the New Orleans Pelicans with 1.3 seconds to go on Tuesday.

Nets beaten in Durant and Irving's absence

The travel-weary Brooklyn Nets were made to pay for resting NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant as they suffered a 130-109 defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving combined to great effect in the previous night's win at Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls, but that trident was split up.

With Irving still unable to play home games due to vaccine laws in New York and Durant and Patty Mills watching on from the side, the Thunder ran out deserved winners.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way with 33 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Thunder snapped a five-game losing run.

Elsewhere, Nikola Jokic powered the Denver Nuggets to a 140-108 win over the Portland Trail Blazers and the Pelicans were too strong for Los Angeles Clippers in a 113-89 win.

Jim Furyk rolled back the years with a hole-in-one at the Sony Open to finish the opening round in Hawaii one shot behind leader and defending champion Kevin Na.

The 51-year-old, who has 17 PGA Tour victories to his name, sunk the perfect shot on the par-three 17th on his way to finishing eight under on Thursday.

Furyk was hampered by a slow start at Wai'alae Country Club with a bogey on the opening hole, though that proved to be the American's only dropped shot in a round of 62.

That makes Furyk the oldest player to shoot 62 or better on the PGA Tour since 1983 as he looks to win the tournament for a second time, 26 years on from his previous triumph.

"I'm trying to get ready for this year. I want to be competitive this week," said Furyk, who made the sixth hole-in-one of his career and first since 2011.

"I want to compete and put myself in position, in the hunt, and also want to get a feel for where my game is and what I want to work on for the year."

Furyk will resume day two level with compatriot Russell Henley and a stroke behind blemish-free Na, who is aiming to defend the crown he won last year.

Na was on course for a sub-60 round, but three good birdie chances passed him by and he now has seven challengers within two shots of his lead.

The South Korean settled for 61 to tie his career-low round on the PGA Tour. He leads the way for the most rounds-of-62 or better since such data was first recorded in 1983 (10).

Na, Furyk and Henley are three of six past Sony Open winners in the top 10 after day one, along with Matt Kuchar, Patton Kizzire (both six under) and Ryan Palmer (seven under).

Elsewhere, Cameron Smith could not build on his record-breaking win at last week's Sentry Tournament of Champions as a couple of bogeys left him three-under par in a tie for 40th.

General manager Chris Ballard says there are no guarantees Carson Wentz will be the Indianapolis Colts' starting quarterback for the 2022 NFL season.

Wentz, who joined Indianapolis from the Philadelphia Eagles ahead of the 2021 campaign, endured a nightmare as the Colts missed out on the playoffs by losing 26-11 to the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend.

He was sacked six times in a second successive defeat that brought Indianapolis' season to a halt with a 9-8 record.

Ballard on Thursday stated that it is too early to say what changes could be made after the Colts' failure to feature in the postseason.

"When we made the decision, after Philip [Rivers] retired and we made the decision to make a move on Carson, at the time of the decision we felt good about it and I still don't regret the decision at the time," Ballard said.

"Sitting here today, just so y'all know, I won't make a comment on who is going to be here next year and who is not going to be here next year. That's not fair to any player."

Ballard added: "I'd like to quit Band-Aiding it. I'd like for Carson to be the long-term answer or find somebody who will be here for the next 10-12 years.

"Sometimes it doesn't work out that way. I can dream about it, wish about it, do everything I can to figure out the solution, but you do the best with what you can do at the time."

Ballard suggested Wentz had been too eager to create moments of magic.

He said: "Make the layups. Make the layups. Make the layups. Carson wants to win. He has a will to win.

"Sometimes when you carry the burden where you think you have to make a big play all the time. Sometimes let the team help you, make the layups, make the layups."

Ballard stressed that Wentz is by no means the only player under scrutiny.  

"At the end of the day, I think we have a lot of really good players and really good pieces," Ballard said. "You have to get stability at the quarterback position.

"That position has to play up to his potential to help the team win. I'm not blaming this all on Carson. I'm not, because everybody else has to do their job, too.

"But the hyper-importance of that position, it's real. You have to get consistency there. The years we've gotten it we've been pretty good, and we thought we had it until the end of the season. Something we have to continue to work through."

Wentz ranked 18th in the league for completions (322) in the regular season, from 516 attempted passes (a completion percentage of 62.4, the 25th best in the NFL).

His tally of 27 touchdown passes was bettered by only nine other quarterbacks, though Wentz' total was six fewer than ninth-placed Kirk Cousins in that regard. His seven interceptions tied for 29th in the competition.

Wentz threw for 3,563 yards, the third-best total of his NFL career.

A "detailed analysis" of the controversial ending to last month's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has started, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has confirmed.

Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth title when he was beaten by Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the final lap of the season-ending grand prix on December 12.

Mercedes were furious with how race rules were applied in a safety-car situation and challenged the result, believing Hamilton was unfairly prevented from winning the race and the championship when Verstappen passed him with only a few corners remaining.

The German constructors launched two challenges that were both rejected by the FIA, with Mercedes giving notice of an intention to appeal. However, the team eventually decide not to proceed down that route following discussions with F1 and the FIA.

On Thursday, the FIA released a statement via Twitter outlining the next steps in their analysis of the situation, saying: "Following the decision of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 15 December 2021, the FIA administration, under the leadership Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has started the detailed analysis of the events of the last Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"The FIA President launched a consultation with all F1 teams on various issues, including this one.

"On January 19, an item on the agenda of the Sporting Advisory Committee will be dedicated to the use of the Safety Car. The following stage will be a shared discussion with all F1 drivers.

"The outcome of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission in February and final decisions will be announced at the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain on 18 March."

There has been recent speculation since the end of the season that Hamilton could retire from motor racing, with the 36-year-old and his team left distraught by the outcome, and reports suggest that the Briton is waiting to see the outcome of an inquiry.

Damian Lillard will be out for at least six weeks after the Portland Trail Blazers star underwent abdominal surgery.

The point guard had been increasingly troubled by a long-standing injury and decided to take action after playing in a 139-106 thrashing at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers on New Year’s Eve.

Portland on Thursday confirmed Lillard had been operated on by Dr William C. Meyers at The Vincera Institute in Philadelphia to "repair a core injury causing chronic abdominal pain."

The Trail Blazers are 10th in the Western Conference at 16-24 and must now do without six-time NBA All-Star Lillard for at least a month and a half.

The 31-year-old told Blazers.com: "Last year it was pretty bad.

"Going from that long season, playing a few months without Nurk [Jusuf Nurkic] and without CJ [McCollum] and having to play more minutes, then coming off a short summer after the bubble season where I was hurt in the bubble and going into last year and then not having a break after last year just training for the Olympics, going to the Olympics.

"At the Olympics it was as bad as it'’s been and I was just like 'Man, this is a real issue.' There was really no time for me to do it. I just decided to rest.

"I took like 30 days where I didn't do nothing and I felt a lot better coming into camp. I felt fresh, I had been working out and stuff, it hadn't been giving me any trouble because I was coming off such a long break.

"And then the second that we started camp I felt good the first day, day and a half. Then I started to feel it again and I was like 'Man, I thought the rest would help for a longer period of time.' But it didn't."

Lillard added: "I know [surgery] is ultimately going to be what's best for the team, too. I'd rather be selfish for the team, what I see for our organisation and where I want it to go.

"It makes no sense to keep doing it the way we was doing it. It's like, alright, take a step back to take how many steps forward. It's just what had to happen."

Key man Lillard is averaging 24 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists from 29 games this season

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi will switch to four-wheel racing to drive for Team WRT in the GT World Championship.

Rossi ended his incredible MotoGP career last November, finishing 10th in his final race at the Valencia Grand Prix.

The Italian icon, a seven-time world champion in the premier class, hung up his gloves at the age of 42.

But Rossi has agreed to take on a new racing challenge, having tested with Team WRT in Valencia last month.

He will be an official Audi sport driver, taking part in a 10-round competition striving to win the Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup.

Rossi said: "I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS programme.

"Everybody knows that I have always been a great car racing fan and that I have always been interested in racing on four wheels once my MotoGP career would come to an end.

"Now I am completely available to devote myself to a car racing programme at a high level and with the right professional approach.

"Team WRT is the perfect fit I was looking for and I am anxious to start this new adventure in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with them."

Eddie Hearn expects Anthony Joshua to announce who his new trainer will be either at the end of this month or early in February.

Joshua decided to shake things up after losing his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

Eddy Reynoso, Virgil Hunter and Anthony Wilson are among the trainers Joshua could recruit, while Floyd Mayweather has been giving the Briton advice ahead of an eagerly anticipated rematch with Usyk that has not yet been confirmed.

Hearn, Joshua's promoter, told iFL TV: "I think AJ will make an announcement when camp starts, which I guess will be end of January, early February.

"He's worked hard to get it right. A lot of people have said, 'do you think it's risky to bring in a new trainer?'

"I flip that and say, 'do you think it's risky to not be comfortable with your set-up or your surroundings?'"

Hearn says having a new face in Joshua's corner will not mean there is no role to play for his long-time trainer Robert McCracken.

"He'll always be involved in some way," Hearn said of McCracken.

"He's more than just a trainer to Anthony Joshua... he's a mentor, an advisor.

"Those two will always talk – in what capacity, I don't know. I'll leave that to AJ to announce. But there will certainly be additions to the training team."

Joshua was outclassed by Usyk, suffering the second defeat of his professional career after he was also surprisingly dethroned by Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.

Novak Djokovic put the Australian Open at risk and has made other participants "look like fools" by turning up for the tournament unvaccinated, according to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

World number one Djokovic was paired with Miomir Kecmanovic in Thursday's draw for the opening round, but it remains uncertain whether he will even take part in the first grand slam of the year.

The Serbian was last week given a medical exemption to enter Australia, despite not being vaccinated, only for border officials to block it upon his arrival.

Djokovic was detained for four days while waiting to appeal the case on Monday, which went in his favour at Melbourne Circuit Court.

He has since started training ahead of the Australian Open, which begins next Monday, though immigration minister Alex Hawke may yet cancel his visa for a second time.

The 34-year-old is also being investigated for breaching isolation rules in December after testing positive for COVID-19.

And as a decision regarding whether he can stay in Australia and defend his title is dragged out, Tsitsipas has become the highest-profile tennis figure to criticise Djokovic for his conduct.

"He has been playing by his own rules," world number four Tsitsipas told Indian outlet WION.

"No one would have thought: 'I can come to Australia unvaccinated and not have to follow the protocols they gave me'.

"For Novak it worked another way. It takes a lot of daring to do. Putting a Grand Slam at risk – I don't think many players would do that."

Tsitsipas, who was defeated by Djokovic in last year's French Open final, added: "There are two ways to look at it.

"One way is that almost every single player has been vaccinated and did what they had to do in order to come and play in Australia.

"We have all followed the protocols to come and compete in Australia and been very disciplined in that.

"It seems like not everyone is playing by the rules of how Tennis Australia and some governments have been putting things.

"A very small minority chose to follow their own way. It makes the majority look like they are all fools."

Djokovic has spent the past four days training on court in preparation for the Australian Open, which he has won a record nine times, including in each of the last three years.

But weighing in on the debate on Thursday, Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said the 20-time grand slam winner must "abide by the rules" if he is to remain in the country.

"You have to be frank – the vast majority of Australians said they didn't like the idea that another individual, whether they're a tennis player or the king of Spain or the queen of England, can come up here and have a different set of rules to what everybody else has to deal with," Joyce said.

"Let's see where it goes from here… I've made my views clear. I might not agree with the fact that I have to be tested to go from New South Wales into Queensland but I do [it’. Why? Because that is the law.

"He is no better. He is still a child of God like the rest of us, isn't he? So he has got to abide by the laws."

Daria Kasatkina reached her second semi-final in as many weeks with a straight-sets victory over Garbine Muguruza at the Sydney Tennis Classic on Wednesday.

The world number 26, who was defeated by Amanda Anisimova in the Melbourne Summer Set 2 semi-finals last week, beat second seed Muguruza 6-4 6-4.

Kasatkina held throughout the opening set, landing 67 per cent of her first serves, and saw the job through in the second despite a couple of early breaks for Muguruza.

It is the Russian's first win over a top-five opponent since beating Caroline Wozniacki at the 2018 French Open.

She will now face fifth seed Paula Badosa, who saw off Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-3 in an entertaining match lasting two hours and 35 minutes.

The other semi-final in Sydney will be contested between Anett Kontaveit and Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced past Ons Jabeur and Caroline Garcia respectively.

Krejcikova proved far too strong for Garcia, prevailing 6-0 6-2 in 70 minutes, while Kontaveit was in action for just 43 minutes before being handed a walkover win in her match.

Jabeur had targeted "payback" against Kontaveit after her quarter-final opponent pipped her to the final WTA Finals spot in November, but injury cost her the chance to do so.

Having lost the first set 6-4, Jabeur – who eliminated Petra Kvitova in the previous round – felt unable to continue due to a lower back injury.

At the Adelaide International 2, three of the five Americans in action made it through to the semi-finals.

Alison Riske's clash with compatriot Madison Brengle ended early due to the latter retiring with the first set level at 3-3. Tamara Zidansek awaits Riske after beating Lauren Davis 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (9-7).

Coco Gauff and Madison Keys will meet in the other semi-final, meanwhile, following victories over Ana Konjuh and Ludmilla Samsonova in two and three sets respectively.

Andy Murray strode through to the semi-finals at the Sydney Classic after opponent David Goffin was forced to retire with an injury.

Murray won the opening set 6-2 before eighth seed Goffin, who had been receiving treatment on his knee, determined he could no longer continue.

It is the first time the 34-year-old Murray has reached a semi-final on the ATP Tour since winning the European Open title in October 2019.

Though not ideal circumstances, Murray will at least be glad of the extra rest after his three-hour encounter with world number 23 Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round. The Scot has also been drawn to play Basilashvili in the first round of the Australian Open.

Murray will face Reilly Opelka in the last four in Sydney after the American beat compatriot Brandon Nakashima 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 to advance.

Top seed Aslan Karatsev was made to work for his win against Italy's Lorenzo Sonego but secured a 6-3 3-6 6-2 victory to book his semi-final place against Briton Dan Evans, who defeated American Maxime Cressy 6-4 7-6 (7-5). Cressy reached the final of the Melbourne Summer Set tournament last week.

At the Adelaide International 2 event, third seed Karen Khachanov tumbled out after losing in straight sets to Arthur Rinderknech, the Frenchman coming through a 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 winner.

Rinderknech will face compatriot Corentin Moutet in the semi-finals after the qualifier overcame Thiago Monteiro 6-4 6-4.

Fourth seed Marin Cilic battled to beat American Tommy Paul 6-4 2-6 6-3, and a test awaits against Thanasi Kokkinakis who defeated fellow Australian Aleksandar Vukic 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2.

James Harden is excited by what could be as he along with team-mates Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined to score 61 points in the Brooklyn Nets' 138-112 victory against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

Harden managed a double-double of 25 points and a season-high 16 assists, while Durant scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Nets to a comfortable victory at United Center.

Kyrie Irving, who can only play on the road due to COVID-19 vaccine laws in New York, added nine points in his third game back for the Nets.

Speaking after the victory, which took the Nets to a 26-14 record for the season, Harden was asked about his on-court relationship with Durant and Irving.

"We're that good," Harden emphasised. "We have a chance to be that good. We just haven't had enough of it. Last year I think we had 15 games maybe together, and this year only two.

"It felt good tonight on both ends of the ball, to be locked in on the same page and, offensively, sharing the basketball and making each other better."

Durant also faced the media after another stellar showing, having now scored at least 25 points in 12 straight games, and the 11-time NBA All-Star made clear that he is not concerned with what people on the outside think of his team.

"We're trying to make no statements to the league," Durant said. "I mean, who cares what they think? We know what we bring to the table, and it's all about us. But I'm sure people were watching the game tonight."

Meanwhile, the Bulls became the first team in NBA history to win by 45+ points one day and then lose by 25+ the next, having beaten the Detroit Pistons 133-87 on Tuesday.

Coach Billy Donovan praised his team for a run that has seen them reach a 27-12 record so far, acknowledging that they were second best on the day, particularly in the third quarter when the Nets scored more than twice the number of points managed by the Bulls (39-19).

"I think you own it," Donovan said. "I think our guys have worked hard up to this point to be where we are in the standings, and with that there's a greater responsibility."

Shaquille O'Neal has confirmed he has sold his stake in the Sacramento Kings in order to pursue other business interests.

The NBA legend, who spent the majority of a decorated career at the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat, became a partial owner of the Kings in 2013.

However, he confirmed on Twitter on Wednesday that he has been required to sell according the NBA rules due to his desire to begin a new business venture.

"As a result of a new business endeavour, I was required by NBA rules to sell my interest in the Sacramento Kings," the 49-year-old posted. 

"I want to thank the fans, the city of Sacramento, Vivek Ranadive and the entire Kings organization for our great partnership.

"I loved being an owner of such a forward-thinking organization and I hope to be back someday. Till we meet again..."

The four-time NBA champion made the announcement shortly before his former Lakers were beaten 125-116 by the Kings in Sacramento.

Novak Djokovic has been drawn against Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round of the Australian Open as the defending champion awaits to hear if he can stay in the country.

World number one Djokovic was last week given a medical exemption to enter Australia, despite not being vaccinated, only for border officials to block it upon his arrival.

The 20-time grand slam winner was detained for four days while waiting to appeal the case on Monday, which went in his favour at Melbourne Circuit Court.

Djokovic has since started training ahead of the Australian Open, which begins next Monday, though immigration minister Alex Hawke may yet cancel his visa for a second time. 

A decision on whether Djokovic can compete in the first grand slam of the year, which he has won a record nine times, could be made on Thursday.

Should he be given the all clear to take part, Djokovic will face compatriot Kecmanovic in the first round at Melbourne Park.

Thursday's draw, which was delayed by one hour and 15 minutes for unspecified reasons, also saw fellow 20-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal paired with Marcos Giron.

Nadal is in the same half of the draw as Djokovic, meaning the pair could meet in the semi-finals, while third seed Alexander Zverev is also in the top half.

Second seed and 2021 finalist Daniil Medvedev is in the bottom half along with Stefanos Tsitsipas and will take on Henri Laaksonen first up.

In the women's draw, Australia's world number one Ash Barty will begin her quest for glory on home soil against a qualifier.

The top seed is on a collision course with defending champion Naomi Osaka, who goes face-to-face with Camila Osorio in round one on her return from a four-month break.

Reigning US Open winner Emma Raducanu is up against Sloane Stephens, who won the New York major in 2017, while Storm Sanders awaits second seed Aryna Sabalenka.

James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined to score 61 points as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Chicago Bulls 138-112 in a table-topping Eastern Conference clash.

Durant's game-high 27 and Harden's double-double of 25 points and a season-high 16 assists inspired the Nets to a routine victory at United Center.

Kyrie Irving, who is barred from playing home games, added nine points in his third game back for the Nets, but it was Durant who stole the show with 17 points in the third.

The 11-time NBA All-Star has now scored at least 25 points in 12 straight games and in the process denied the Bulls a first regular-season sweep of the Nets since 1997-98.

After seeing off the Detroit Pistons 133-87 on Tuesday, the Bulls become the first team in NBA history to win by 45+ points one day and then lost by 25+ the next.

Kings snap losing streak against Lakers

LeBron James' 34 points were not enough as the Los Angeles Lakers fell 125-116 to the Sacramento Kings, who snapped a five-game losing streak in the process.

On their worst run of the season, the Kings regularly found themselves trailing and were six down at half-time before taking control in the third quarter.

Russell Westbrook's missed 3-pointer paved the way for Chimezie Metu to make a clutch 3-pointer with 46.7 seconds remaining and Tyrese Haliburton rounded off the scoring.

The Lakers, who saw James score 31 or more for the 11th time in 12 games in the injury absence of Carmelo Anthony, have now lost two in a row and are 21-21 for the season.

Heat's run goes on

The Miami Heat may have six players on their inactive list, but they won for a third game running with a 115-91 victory against the Atlanta Hawks.

Tyler Herro had a game-high 21 points and added 11 assists as the Heat, now 26-15 for the season, kept within touching distance of the Eastern Conference leaders.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks' six-game winning streak was brought to an end with a 108-85 loss to the New York Knicks.

RJ Barrett's 32 made him the youngest player in franchise history with consecutive 30-point games as the Knicks won for a fourth time in five games.

Thursday's clash between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors was already an enticing one, but will arguably now be even more intriguing with two of the NBA's best heading into it on the back of defeats.

Reigning champions Milwaukee sit fourth in the Eastern Conference on 26-17 after back-to-back defeats on the road to the Charlotte Hornets, while the 30-10 Warriors were beaten at the Memphis Grizzlies last time out.

The star duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry will be the main attraction, as both usually are wherever they go, sitting fourth (966 points) and second (993 points) respectively in the league for points scored this season.

Golden State, currently second in the Western Conference, will be the favourites on Thursday, and despite their setback in Tennessee on Tuesday, Steve Kerr's men have been boosted by the timely return to action of Klay Thompson.

The 31-year-old tore an anterior cruciate ligament in 2019 before tearing his Achilles tendon during his recovery, but came back in style as he played his first game in over 940 days in style as he shot 17 points from just 20 minutes in the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, before managing another 14 in similar court time in Memphis.

Curry will, as ever, be the Warriors go-to man. He managed a triple-double of 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the defeat to the Grizzlies, though surprisingly, hit just two of his nine three-point attempts at FedExForum.

He recently broke the all-time three-point record in the NBA and still leads the league by a distance in successful shots from downtown, with 186 to his name this season, well clear of Buddy Hield (154) and Fred VanVleet (134), having even played six fewer games than Hield.

The Warriors are expected to be without Draymond Green, who played just seven seconds of Sunday's win against the Cavaliers before withdrawing with a calf issue he apparently sustained in the warm-up and then missing the defeat in Memphis.

Green has the highest number of defensive rebounds for the Warriors this season (219) and is 22nd in the league overall.

The Bucks could also still be missing a key player in Jrue Holiday, who was sidelined from Monday's loss to the Hornets with an ankle injury.

Holiday has missed the last three games, but when he has been able to take to the court this season has often shone, averaging 18.4 points per game, including shooting 40 in the December defeat at the New Orleans Pelicans.

Despite Curry so often catching the eye with threes, where Golden State often win games is in the paint and in the restricted area, currently leading the league for highest team field goal percentage in both (60.1 and 64.4). The Bucks are eighth and seventh in the league in the respective areas, with percentages of 56.8 and 61.0.

However, in Antetokounmpo, the Bucks boast a player who leads the league in field goals made in the paint (266) and in the restricted area (228), so if they can get it to the Greek often and in space, he could just beat the Warriors at their own game.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS

Milwaukee Bucks – Khris Middleton

Middleton is in a solid run of form, which is a good thing for a player who has clustered his best work throughout this season. The 30-year-old began the season by scoring 20 or more points in three of his first four games, before a period out through illness.

He returned and took eight games to manage over 20 points again, before doing so for seven in a row. After missing three more games with a knee issue, Middleton has come back to score 20 or more in eight of his last 10 outings, and will back himself to do so again here.

Middleton got the most points and assists for his team last time out (27 and 11), and is third in the league for most field goals made from the baseline (37) behind only Kevin Durant (64) and DeMar DeRozan (45).

Golden State Warriors – Klay Thompson

Although it was technically a work event, there was a party atmosphere as the Warriors welcomed Thompson back to the court on Sunday against the Cavaliers, and while his numbers were impressive enough for someone who has spent the best part of three years sidelined, it is the less tangible positive vibes his return has brought that could be the difference-maker for Golden State.

Prior to his comeback on Sunday, Thompson boasted a career average of 19.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, while shooting at 45.9 per cent from the field and 41.9 from three-point range.

He may only get 20 minutes, as he has done in his two games back so far, but his sheer presence on the court could be enough to inspire his team-mates, such is the obvious delight among his fellow Warriors that he is finally fit and playing again.

 

KEY BATTLE – Rebounds to give Bucks an edge?

Milwaukee leads the Eastern Conference in rebounding, averaging 47.1, while Antetokounmpo boasts the third-highest number of defensive rebounds in the East this season with 325.

Golden State are fourth in the Western Conference for rebounds at 46.1, but as mentioned, look set to be without their stats leader in defensive rebounds in Green. The best offensive rebounders in both teams are Bobby Portis and Kevon Looney, who both have 97 to their name this season.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

This is their first meeting since April 2021, which the Warriors won 122-121, but the Bucks have won four of the previous six games between the two dating back to March 2018.

Eric Weddle is coming out of retirement to rejoin the Los Angeles Rams for the NFL playoffs.

The former All-Pro safety's agent, David Canter, on Wednesday revealed that Weddle will return to the Rams almost two years after calling time on his career.

With Jordan Fuller out for the season due an ankle injury and Taylor Rapp in concussion protocol, Los Angeles have turned to a familiar face for the postseason.

The 37-year-old Weddle quit following the 2019 season after just one campaign with the Rams, who take on the Arizona Cardinals in a wild-card clash at SoFi Stadium on Monday.

A six-time Pro Bowler, the veteran had brought his playing days to an end following 13 seasons in the league.

Weddle has tallied 29 interceptions, five defensive touchdowns, eight forced fumbles and 1,179 tackles in 201 career games.

He spent nine seasons with the then-San Diego Chargers, before joining the Baltimore Ravens and the Rams.

Novak Djokovic has been labelled "selfish" by Joao Sousa for arriving at the Australian Open unvaccinated, but uncertainty still surrounds the Serbian's participation in the event. 

World number one Djokovic was last week given a medical exemption to enter Australia, despite not being vaccinated, only for border officials to block it upon his arrival.

The 20-time grand slam winner was detained for four days while waiting to appeal the case on Monday, which went in his favour at Melbourne Circuit Court.

Djokovic has since started training ahead of the Australian Open, which begins on January 17, though immigration minister Alex Hawke may yet cancel his visa for a second time.

Should the 34-year-old be given the green light to compete at Melbourne Park, however, world number 140 Sousa says it will not sit right with others taking part.

"I respect that he fights for what he believes and I can be empathetic with what he is going through in Australia," Sousa is quoted as saying by Portuguese outlet Bola Amarela.

"But it's a bit selfish from him to arrive here as the only player unvaccinated. It's tough for us players to accept that."

Djokovic has been widely criticised for appearing on social media to mingle with the public in a series of appearances after returning a positive COVID-19 test on December 16.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Djokovic accepted he had made "an error of judgement" going ahead with an interview with French publication L'Equipe around that time.

Franck Ramella, the French journalist who conducted the 33-minute interview while Djokovic was COVID-19 positive, confirmed the tennis star wore a mask the whole time.

A decision on whether Djokovic can defend the title he has won a record nine times could be made on Thursday, when the draw for the main tournament is scheduled to take place.

Andy Murray drew on his never-say-die attitude to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in a late-night thriller and book a quarter-final berth at the Sydney Tennis Classic.

The former world number one lost the first set despite leading 4-1 and 5-2, and was pegged back again having broken for a 3-2 lead in the second.

But Murray is renowned for being a fighter on court and so it proved again as the three-time grand slam winner defeated his Georgian opponent 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 in a match that finished after midnight in Sydney.

It marked further joy for Murray against world number 23 Basilashvili, an opponent he defeated in four sets in the first round of Wimbledon last year.

Murray's fellow Briton Dan Evans continued a perfect start to 2022 as he breezed past Pedro Martinez 6-2 6-3 in 85 minutes without facing a break point.

Top seed Aslan Karatsev defeated Miomir Kecmanovic 7-5 6-4 for his first win of the year, while Reilly Opelka (4), Lorenzo Sonego (5) and David Goffin (8) – who is Murray's last-eight opponent - all coasted through in straight sets.

However, Fabio Fognini (7) was a seed who did fall, as he lost 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (8-6) to American Brandon Nakashima.

At the Adelaide International 2 tournament, top seed Gael Monfils – who triumphed at last week's Adelaide event – withdrew with neck pain in the deciding set of his second-round tie against Thiago Monteiro.

John Isner (2) also bit the dust against wildcard and home favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis with each set going to a tie-break.

Karen Khachanov (3) and Marin Cilic (4) safely made it through in straight sets against Gianluca Mager and Jaume Munar respectively, but Marton Fucsovics (8) was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Frenchman Corentin Moutet.

Tommy Paul, Arthur Rinderknech and Aleksandar Vukic all progressed.

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