#SportsReport: Bucks Wins NBA Title; Sweden Stuns U.S. In Olympic Soccer
It had been been 50 years since the Milwaukee Bucks last won an NBA championship. Fittingly, their two-time NBA most valuable player scored 50 in last night's clincher. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 50 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks as the Bucks beat the Suns, 105-98 to win the series 4-2. He shot 16 for 25 from the field and made an unbelievable 17-of-19 free throws after entering the game shooting under 56% from the line in the postseason. The Greek Freak was named the NBA Finals MVP following his remarkable performance. Khris Middleton delivered 17 points and Bobby Portis had 16 off the bench for Milwaukee, which hadn't won the title since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson carried the 1971 squad. The Bucks are the fifth team to win the NBA Finals after trailing 2-0 and the first to do it by winning the next four games since Miami against Dallas in 2006.
The Bucks started strong and enjoyed a 29-16 lead heading into the second quarter. But the Suns dominated the reset of the half, outscoring Milwaukee, 31-13 to carry a five-point advantage into the locker room. Chris Paul scored 26 points to end his first NBA Finals appearance in his 16th season. Devin Booker added 19 points but shot just 8 for 22 and missed all seven 3-pointers after scoring 40 points in each of the last two games.
The Tokyo Olympics finally open on Friday, but some competitions have already started. Sweden has once again stunned the U.S., this time with a 3-0 victory in the women’s soccer tournament. The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world and the favorites to win in Tokyo, were riding a 44-match unbeaten streak. But Sweden, ranked No. 5, has been the U.S. team’s nemesis of sorts in recent years. The Swedes bounced the Americans from the 2016 Brazil Games in the quarterfinals, for the earliest U.S. Olympic exit ever. The U.S. came out stale Wednesday, with its best chance of the opening half coming in the final moments when Rose Lavelle’s shot hit the post. Coach Vlatko Andonovski made changes for the second half, subbing in Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz for Sam Mewis.
In other Olympic news:
The Tokyo Games got underway when Japan pitcher Ukiko Ueno started Australia's Michelle Cox with a ball to open the women's softball tournament Tuesday. Japan is defending softball gold medalist after upsetting the U.S. in the 2008 final. Softball and baseball were dropped for 2012 and 2016 and restored for these Olympics. The Japanese won the game, 8-1. Cat Osterman dominated as the United States began its quest to regain the Olympic softball gold medal, pitching one-hit ball over six innings and striking out nine in a 2-0 shutout of Italy. Michelle Moultrie singled in a run in the fourth inning for the top-ranked U.S.
Officials say a Ugandan athlete who fled during pre-Olympics training in western Japan last week has been found and is being interviewed by police. Police are asking the 20-year-old what happened since he fled his hotel in the Osaka prefecture Friday, leaving behind a note saying he didn't want to return to his country. He left behind his luggage and a note saying he wanted to stay in Japan and work.
The Yankees earned their third straight win by belting four home runs in a 6-4 downing of the Phillies. Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Estevan Florial each hit solo homers as the Yanks prevented the Phils from cutting their 2 ½-game deficit in the NL East. Aroldis Chapman worked the ninth for his first save in over a month despite allowing Andre McCutchen's solo shot.
Elsewhere in baseball:
The Reds' four-game skid is over after Joey Votto and Aristides Aquino went deep on consecutive pitches to power them past the Mets, 4-3. Jonathan India slammed his first career leadoff homer, a no-doubt shot to center that glanced off the batter's eye. Wade Miley shook off Pete Alonso's first inning home run to pitch into the seventh, giving up two runs and seven hits.
Josh Bell hit his 100th career home run and the Nationals picked up their third straight win by defeating the Marlins, 6-3. Miami led in the sixth before pinch-hitter Yadiel Hernandez Trea Turner and Juan Soto delivered RBI singles. Adam Duvall's three-run homer gave the Marlins a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth.
The Houston Astros have maintained their 3 1/2-game lead over Oakland in the AL West. Jose Altuve celebrated the 10th anniversary of his major league debut with homers in his first two at-bats to jumpstart the Astros' 9-3 pounding of the Indians. Altuve smacked his seventh leadoff homer of the season to put Houston ahead to stay. Kyle Tucker added a two-run homer as the Astros broke the game open with a six-run fifth that made it 8-0. Luis Garcia continued his strong season, scattering three hits over six scoreless innings of the Astros' third win in a row.
The Athletics completed a two-game sweep with a snappy 6-0 shutout of the Angels. Matt Olson homered for the second straight day and added an RBI single. The blast left him tied for fourth in the majors with 25. James Kaprielian had another strong performance, scattering five hits and striking out seven over six innings to lower his ERA to 2.65. Ramon Laureano hit a two-run double while the Athletics scored three times in the sixth inning to take control.
Marco Gonzales got his first win in three months by allowing two runs over five innings of the Mariners' 6-4 victory at Colorado. The Mariners started the inning with four straight hits, the last being Cal Raleigh's two-run double that tied the game. Dylan Moore put them ahead with a two-out, two-run homer off Germán Márquez, who had his first home loss since May 4.
Francisco Mejía drove in five with a two-run homer and a bases-loaded triple to highlight the Rays' attack in a 9-3 romp over the Orioles. Randy Arozarena also homered to help Tampa Bay climb within one game of the AL East-leading Red Sox. Baltimore ace John Means returned from a shoulder injury and allowed five runs and seven hits over five innings of his first start since June 5.
Jose Abreu doubled and tripled early before his three-run blast capped a five-run eighth that sent the White Sox past the Twins, 9-5. Abreu's 18th home run of the season occurred shortly after the Twins seized their first lead in the top of the inning on a two-run home run by Jorge Polanco off reliever Ryan Burr. Yoan Moncada clubbed a two-run home run, his third round-tripper in his last four games after going 26 games without one.
The Tigers picked up their fifth straight win as Robbie Grossman and Eric Haase homered in a 4-1 decision over the Rangers. Tarik Skubal got the win, giving up one run on four hits in six innings. The Rangers have lost seven straight games and have been outscored 43-3 in their five games since the All-Star break, including three straight shutouts before Tuesday.
Ryan O'Hearn and Jorge Soler homered for the Royals in a 5-2 win over the Brewers. Mike Minor allowed one earn run and five hits in six innings, snapping a personal four-start losing streak. Manny Pina hit a two-run single for the Brewers, who moved up the start time four hours so fans could watch the Bucks host the Suns in the NBA Finals.
Javier Baez laced a two-run single and Ian Happ added a two-run double during a six-run ninth that pushed the Cubs past the Cardinals, 7-6. Chicago was able to come back against St. Louis closer Alex Reyes, who converted his first 22 saves opportunities this season. Nolan Arenado, Jose Rondon and Tommy Edman homered for St. Louis, which had won three in a row.
Touki Toussaint allowed one run and three hits over 6 1/3 innings of his season debut to pitch the Braves past the Padres, 2-1. Toussaint was back from a right shoulder strain and retired the first seven batters he faced before walking Victor Caratini in the third. Freddie Freeman smacked a tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning, giving him five round-trippers in his last seven games.
Pinch-hitter Will Smith crushed a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to complete the Dodgers' comeback in an 8-6 stunner against the Giants. Chris Taylor powered the rally with the third multi-homer game of his career belting a solo shot in the fifth and a two-run drive an inning later. Alex Dickerson, Mike Yastrzemski, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Thairo Estrada went deep for the Giants, who went ahead 6-1 before their lead in the NL West dropped to one game over Los Angeles.
Josh VanMeter had a triple and a double while the Diamondbacks erupted for eight runs in the seventh inning of an 11-7 win against the Pirates. Josh Reddick's two-run single broke a tie with two out in the seventh before Arizona won its third in a row, the Diamondbacks' longest winning streak since April. John Nogowski hit his first major league home run and Gregory Polanco also went deep for Pittsburgh, which led 5-1 after 4 1/2 innings.
The Red Sox-Blue Jays game in Buffalo was postponed by rain and will be made up as part of an August 7 doubleheader. The makeup game will be played in Toronto.
In MLB news:
The Oakland City Council has approved preliminary terms for a new $12 billion waterfront ballpark project for the Athletics. However, it's unclear if the vote will be enough to keep the baseball team at the negotiating table instead of leaving the San Francisco Bay Area city. A's President Dave Kaval said the financial terms do not work for the team and isn't pleased the ballclub has been kept out of the loop on negotiations. The Athletics have played at the antiquated Coliseum since moving from Kansas City after the 1967 season. They have made unsuccessful attempts to build ballparks in Santa Clara and San Jose, and are prepared to negotiate a move to Las Vegas if they can't work out an agreement in the Bay Area.
Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo says he doesn't plan on having infielder Starlin Castro back with the team this season. Castro was placed on administrative leave July 16 by Major League Baseball under its domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. Rizzo didn't say if his statement on Castro was based on the whether the process will play out in time or not.
Tigers starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss much of the 2022 season. Turnbull threw a no-hitter against the Mariners on May 18 and was 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA in nine starts this season. He last pitched on June 4, then went on the injured list with a strained forearm.
New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp was in what's described as a "horrific" bicycle accident over the weekend and is in critical condition. A Denver TV station (9News) reported Monday night that Knapp was hit by a vehicle while riding his bike in California. The nature of Knapp's injuries was not immediately known. ESPN says the accident happened Saturday near his home in Danville, California. The 58-year-old Knapp was hired by Jets coach Robert Saleh in January as the pass game specialist. His focus is on the development of quarterback Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall draft pick.
In other NFL news:
Tom Brady had some fun with President Joe Biden as he and his Super Bowl-champion Buccaneers were honored at the White House on Tuesday. Brady compared those backing former President Donald Trump's false assertion that he won the 2020 election to people who couldn't believe the underdog Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in February. Brady also played off Trump's derisive "Sleepy Joe" nickname for Biden when talking about a time last season when he forgot what down it was.
Rams running back Cam Akers is out indefinitely after tearing his Achilles tendon in an offseason training session. Akers was expected to be the Rams' starter after coming on late in his outstanding rookie season. Akers had 272 yards from scrimmage in the Rams' two playoff games last season.
The Jets have signed rookie guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, the 14th overall pick in the NFL draft in April. He received a four-year, $15.9 million contract with an $8.9 million signing bonus.
Veteran defensive end Alex Okafor has signed a one-year deal to return to the Chiefs. The 30-year-old Okafor has 30 sacks and 183 tackles in eight NFL seasons, including the past two with the Chiefs.
The Steelers have added depth by signing linebackerMelvin Ingram and offensive lineman Chaz Green. The 32-year-old Ingram was a three-time Pro Bowler during his nine seasons with the Chargers. Ingram had 49 sacks with Los Angeles.
Running back Travis Etienne, cornerback Tyson Campbell and left tackle Walker Little have signed four-year rookie deals with the Jaguars. The Jaguars now have their entire 2021 draft class under contract, including quarterback and No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame says the 19 members of those combined classes who will be giving enshrinement speeches this summer have been asked to limit their remarks to six minutes. An Academy Awards-style musical cue will end each speech at eight minutes if necessary.
The University of North Carolina is believed to be the first school in the nation to launch a group licensing program for current athletes. Under the program, athletes will receive a cut of net revenue for merchandising opportunities pursued by The Brandr Group with products that include the school's official trademarks and logos. Participating in the voluntary program won't restrict individual endorsement deals.
NASCAR team owner Jack Roush has introduced driver Brad Keselowski as a new partner in Roush Fenway Racing. The 2012 Cup champion is leaving Team Penske because he wanted an ownership role in an organization as part of his legacy in NASCAR. With Roush Fenway, Keselowski will not only drive the No. 6 Ford next season but have a considerable role off the track.
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