Toronto Raptors make history with first NBA final

The Toronto Raptors have made history by becoming the first Canadian team to reach the NBA final after rallying past the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 in Game 6. 

The Raptors came back from a two-game deficit in the best-of-seven basketball series to win the Eastern Conference 4-2 for the first time in franchise history on Saturday night.

They will open the NBA final at home on Thursday night against six-time champions Golden State Warriors.

American Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, seven in the fourth quarter and finished with a career-best 17 rebounds and seven assists to lead the home side to victory.

“It’s still surreal to me right now,” Leonard said. “But this is what we’ve been striving for all season. It’s not over yet.”

There were jubilant scenes at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday night as fans gathered to celebrate.

Pascal Siakam added 18 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet scored 14 for the Raptors.

“Kawhi stays level-headed all the time,” Lowry said. “He brought that pedigree with him.”

“He inspired us tonight with monster rebounds,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse added. “It wasn’t going well for us, it was kind of a frustrating night. … But we kept playing.”

Lowry has been through many playoff failures in seven years with the Raptors.

“It means a lot to me,” Lowry said. “We beat a really good team in Milwaukee. But I’m not satisfied yet. Our goal is to win the NBA championship.”

Most Valuable Player candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds for the Bucks, who had the NBA’s best record (60-22) during the regular season.

Brook Lopez added 18 points with nine rebounds and three blocks, Khris Middleton had 14 points, Ersan Ilyasova 13, and Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill 10 each.

“This hurts,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “But what they did in the playoffs tonight against a really good Toronto Raptors team, and to get to the Eastern Conference finals, the regular season, a special season for us. We feel like we’re just getting started.”

The Warriors had swept the the Portland Trail Blazers 4-0 in the Western Conference to reach their fifth consecutive NBA final.  

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Phil Neville: England women’s win over Denmark ‘messy’

Highlights: England 2-0 Denmark

England women boss Phil Neville called his team’s friendly win over Denmark “messy” – and said it was partly down to camping with the Royal Marines.

The Lionesses laboured to a 2-0 victory on a poor pitch at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium thanks to goals from Nikita Parris and Jill Scott.

Neville anticipated difficulties after a tough week of training that included a night in a forest with the Marines.

“We half expected that performance to be a little bit leggy,” he said.

“We trained them hard and had the team bonding day where they only got one or two hours’ sleep.

“There was a little bit of fatigue and the pitch was really energy sapping.”

Euro 2017 champions Denmark – who are ranked 17th in the world, 14 places below England – had chances at the start of both halves before Parris’ goal in first-half stoppage time eased nerves.

Scott’s header came following the break as England gradually improved after their first-half performance left Neville underwhelmed.

“I was bored watching it in the first half,” Neville added.

“The disappointment was we didn’t play with any rhythm; we played stand-still football. When we got into areas, we looked so excitable and made the wrong decision.

“It looked messy and there was no composure on the pitch. A few of those players needed that jolt.”

Neville admits he was ‘bored’ in first half of England win

‘An emotional strain on Parris’

Neville praised Parris after she scored her 12th England goal at the end of a week in which she joined European champions Lyon from Manchester City.

The former Manchester United and Everton defender acknowledged that the upheaval had had an impact on the 25-year-old Liverpudlian’s frame of mind.

“The kid’s has had such a big 10 days in her life – the girl from Toxteth is now going to live in France,” he said.

“She’s changed clubs and it’s the first time she’s moved away from home. It’s a big emotional strain on anyone, so we wanted to protect her – but she’s a goal threat.

“We have to protect her over the next 10 days to get back to the levels we know she can. We need to protect the jewels we have.”

Neville also confirmed that Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton and Fran Kirby will face New Zealand on Saturday in their final warm-up game.

“I’ve played in pre-tournament games,” said Neville, who went to three European Championships with England as a player.

“You stand in front of the players and say ‘let’s get going’ but they’ve got half a mind on Scotland in Nice. My job is to motivate the team but I’m not daft.

“Four or five tackles we went into, we didn’t come out of because they’re thinking of England v Scotland so it’s human nature.

“I was ready after the SheBelieves Cup. These games are a bit of nuisance because you want the players to come through unscathed.”

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

Women’s World Cup
Host nation: France Dates: 7 June – 7 July 2019
Coverage: BBC website will have live text commentaries on all England and Scotland matches and you can listen to commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, online and on the Red Button

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In Japan, Trump praises Kim Jong Un, rails against U.S. border wall ruling

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe

President Donald Trump walks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before playing a round of golf at Mobara Country Club on Sunday in Chiba, Japan. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

white house

Trump’s tweets came hours before he met with close ally Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his four-day state visit.

President Donald Trump on Sunday took time out on his state visit to Japan to re-affirm his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and rail against a U.S. judge for partially blocking his border-wall funding plan.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me,” Trump wrote in a tweet posted before 6 a.m. local time.

Story Continued Below

Trump’s tweets came hours before he met with close ally Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his four-day trip to Japan to discuss North Korean engagement, ongoing trade negotiations and to meet with Japan’s newest emperor Naruhito.

North Korea launched several suspected short-range missiles earlier this month, which Trump has dismissed as “very standard” following a series of personal negotiations with the authoritarian leader.

Japan relies heavily on American forces to defend itself, and has repeatedly raised concerns over North Korea’s missile tests, saying they are a violation of U.N. resolutions. Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, this week echoed that position.

On Saturday, Trump arrived aboard Air Force One at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo before meeting with Japanese business executives, where he talked about the strong relationship between the two countries and the future of trade relations.

“Japan has had a substantial advantage for many, many years, but that’s OK, maybe that’s why you like us so much,” Trump said, adding that in the future it will be “a little bit more fair, I think.”

Trade negotiations between the two countries have been a major factor in the U.S.-Japan relationship after Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership early in his presidency. Last week, Trump delayed auto tariffs for six months while the administration pursues trade deals with Europe and Japan.

Later Sunday, Trump met with Abe in Chiba, where they played golf and will attend a sumo wrestling championship, before going to dinner with the prime minister and his wife, Akie.

On Monday, Trump will meet with Emperor Naruhito, the first foreign leader to do so since he assumed the throne.

Earlier Sunday, at 4:35 a.m. local time, Trump lambasted a Friday ruling by Calif.-based U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam halting a $1 billion transfer from Pentagon counterdrug moneys aimed at funding parts of border-wall construction and maintenance in Texas and Arizona.

“Another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us on a section of the Southern Wall that is already under construction. This is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking. We are asking for an expedited appeal!” Trump wrote.

About a half hour later in a barrage of tweets and re-tweets, Trump thanked actor Jon Voight, re-tweeted Fox News host Jesse Watters and railed against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett for committing what Trump claims is a hate crime.

Smollett was accused of staging an attack in Chicago where two men wearing MAGA hats yelled homophobic and racist remarks, but his case was dismissed by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

In his later North Korea tweet, Trump also said he “smiled when [Kim] called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?”

North Korea has labeled Biden, the former vice president and Democratic candidate for president in 2020, a “fool of low IQ” and an “imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being” after he called Kim a tyrant during a recent speech, according to the Associated Press. Trump fixed the spelling of Biden’s name in a later tweet.

Trump has held two summits with Kim in Singapore and Hanoi, Vietnam. Trump tweeted in April that a third summit “would be good” while writing glowingly of their relationship. North Korea this week said it would not be open to further talks until the U.S. changes its position on nuclear disarmament.

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England v Australia warm-up: Steve Smith hits ton as Aaron Finch’s side earn narrow win

Highlights: Smith hits century as Australia beat England in warm-up
World Cup warm-up, Southampton
Australia 297-9 (50 overs): Smith 116, Warner 43, Plunkett 4-69
England 285 (49.3 overs): Vince 64, Buttler 52, Behrendorff 2-43
Australia win by 12 runs
Scorecard

England fell to a 12-run defeat by Australia in a thrilling World Cup warm-up match in Southampton after Steve Smith’s first century since being banned for his part in the ball-tampering scandal.

Smith hit 116 off 102 balls in an impressively composed innings to steer his side to 297-9.

James Vince and Jos Buttler struck fine fifties to seemingly put England on course for victory, only for Australia to regularly peg the hosts back.

Needing 15 off the last over, England lost their two final wickets to end a disappointing and disjointed chase.

England, who also sustained a series of injury worries, face Afghanistan in another warm-up on Monday before facing South Africa in Thursday’s World Cup opener.

Defending champions Australia begin their campaign against Afghanistan on 1 June after a warm-up match against Sri Lanka on Monday.

England unusually fall short

‘It was so difficult!’ – Curran takes a stunning catch to dismiss Carey

Even in an unofficial match with relaxed rules – Australia named a team of 12 and England were able to bring in substitutes for injured players – the hosts were expected to comfortably chase down a target of under 300.

The pitch offered some variable bounce, with both openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow caught off miscued shots, and off-spinner Nathan Lyon was especially canny – but England will be frustrated to have fallen short, even if the result is not likely to have much of an impact on their World Cup campaign.

Having to miss Hampshire’s One-Day Cup defeat by Somerset at Lord’s, Vince emulated England’s usual number three Joe Root with an innings of deft accumulation, clips through mid-wicket and mid-on accompanying his trademark cover drives.

Buttler changed the tempo of the chase in the 27th over by smacking Nathan Coulter-Nile for 24 off six balls, including two brilliant sixes down the ground and over square leg.

He surged to 52 off 30 balls, only to fall to the next delivery when he tamely chipped Coulter-Nile to Usman Khawaja – before Vince guided the ball straight to Lyon in the trap at short third man for 64.

Big-hitting Buttler smashes five boundaries in an over

Moeen Ali (22) fell slogging to leg-spinner Adam Zampa and Tom Curran was dismissed cheaply, before Chris Woakes countered with 40 and Liam Plunkett struck 19.

But once both had departed, Adil Rashid and Jofra Archer – who were both only batting because of injuries – had no chance, and clearly hampered Archer was run out trying for two in the game’s final act.

Injury worries for England

A day after England were relieved to find Eoin Morgan’s small finger fracture will not keep him out of Thursday’s World Cup opener against South Africa, they had several injury concerns arise in Southampton:

  • Fast bowler Mark Wood is the only major worry, having felt discomfort in his left foot and going off, unable to finish his fourth over. England are awaiting results of a scan.
  • Substitute fielder Archer took a blow attempting to make a diving stop on the boundary but later returned to the field.
  • Liam Dawson split the skin on his right ring finger and did not bat as a precaution.
  • Chris Woakes played solely as a batsman to rest his long-standing knee issue and was only starting because of Morgan’s injury.

Rashid’s existing shoulder injury prevented him from fielding, meaning 42-year-old assistant coach Paul Collingwood spent long periods in the field.

Root was also called into action despite not being due to play following the death of his grandfather two days ago.

Smith and spinners supreme

‘Incredible’ six sets up Smith century against England

Smith played a superb anchor innings, moving to off to clip away anything on his pads, or angling the bat to guide the ball either side of point.

He hustled between the wickets to ensure he kept his strike-rate up near a run a ball, before a late flourish saw him hit a six over point and another with a pre-meditated scoop over the keeper.

A customary tap into the leg side brought up his hundred, marked with a fairly muted celebration as applause and boos blended, before he finally fell to a contentious decision – the third umpire deciding that his chip to Tom Curran had not hit the pitch first.

Such knocks will have limited effectiveness if the other batsmen cannot kick on – Alex Carey’s 30 off 14 balls the only fluent innings elsewhere – while Australia still look unsure of their best line-up, though it proved enough here.

That was also due to Lyon’s miserly spell of 1-37 off 10 overs that ensured England never got away, ably supported by Zampa’s 1-54.

Seamers Kane Richardson and Marcus Stoinis also executed superbly in a tense finale and, with fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc to return, this will surely give Australia confidence they can defend totals that look under par.

Flying run out, record hat-trick & calamity drop – five epic World Cup moments

‘England will be disappointed’ – what they said

Former England spinner Graeme Swann on Test Match Special: “England would have wanted to win.

“None of them were bowled out. They all got out. 10 batsmen had a chance to win the game and none of them did it. That will be a talking point in the debrief.”

England batsman James Vince: “We’re disappointed not get over the line but it is a warm-up game and a lot of the guys got something out of it. The wicket was a bit two-paced but I managed to get a few runs to my name which was nice.”

On Jos Buttler’s innings: “He took all the pressure off us. He hit something like 50 off 30 balls to bring the rate back down to a run a ball. We should have kept a few more wickets in the hutch afterwards but that innings from Jos was outstanding.

Australia captain Aaron Finch: “Our fielding was sloppy, it was not the standard we want to set for ourselves. But overall the way we batted was a good effort.

“It just shows the importance to have that in-batter. I thought Steve Smith played a really impressive knock.

“The wicket got a bit slower and drier. Nathan Lyon bowled a beautiful spell, great line and length. Overall it was a pretty good wicket, with just enough there for everyone.”

ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019
Dates: 30 May – 14 July, 2019
Live coverage: Ball-by-ball commentary on Test Match Special, plus text commentary, clips and highlights on the BBC Sport website

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Glasgow Warriors 10-18 Leinster: Holders win Pro14 final at Celtic Park

Leinster had beaten Scarlets in last season’s final
Pro14 final
Glasgow Warriors (10) 15
Tries: M Fagerson, Stewart Cons: Hastings Pens: Hastings
Leinster (15) 18
Tries: Ringrose, Healy Cons: Sexton Pens: Sexton 2

Leinster held off Glasgow Warriors at Celtic Park to retain the Pro14 title.

Matt Fagerson’s try gave Warriors the lead but Garry Ringrose pounced to cross after Stuart Hogg’s kick had been charged down.

Cian Healy powered over Leinster’s second try and Johnny Sexton’s kicks guided them to victory.

Hogg went off injured in his final Glasgow appearance before team-mate Grant Stewart got a late try but it was not enough for Dave Rennie’s side.

Adam Hastings missed the conversion on Warriors’ second try and they could not get the try they needed in the final few minutes to snatch the win and their first trophy since 2015’s Pro12 title.

Referee Nigel Owens yellow-carded a player from each side with Kyle Steyn for the hosts and the visitors’ Rob Kearney spending time in the sin bin in the second half.

Hogg (third from left) has been with Glasgow since 2010

Glasgow cannot maintain good start

For Exeter-bound Hogg, it was the most disappointing of farewells, his final ended prematurely just after the hour when Rob Kearney clattered into him in the air. The Leinster full-back avoided a red card, to the outrage of the home support, but Hogg did not get a similar reprieve. His time as a Warrior ended there and then. Soon, the final would come to a close with Leinster winning yet another title.

Rugby people piled into one of the great Scottish footballing citadels in vast numbers, the throngs descending on the east end of Glasgow despite the rain that fell in sheets for much of the evening.

Glasgow might have had home city advantage, but Leinster, with their Lions and their Grand Slammers and their multiple titles, were undoubted favourites. The feeling was that Glasgow had to take their recent coruscating form in the Pro14 and then up it a level to get through the reigning champions, they had to match them physically and punish them remorselessly when the chances arose.

In front of the greatest support they had ever had as Warriors, their mission began well. Leinster started slowly, Glasgow began quickly. The visitors lost a lineout midway through the half and they were made to pay for it. The Warriors worked their downfield, got quick ball when they needed it most and after Scott Cummings took them to striking distance of the Leinster line, Fagerson dived across it.

The Celtic Park crowd roared once and then twice when Hastings made it 7-0. Then, an almighty groan. Within two minutes they had coughed up the softest score, Hogg getting charged down by Luke McGrath with the breaking ball bouncing kindly for Ringrose to score.

Against a backdrop of boos for taking too long to get his kick away, Sexton missed the conversion – his second miss of the final. Hastings put over a penalty after more Glasgow pressure that was sparked by Steyn and Hogg. So far, so good for the challengers.

Leinster make experience count

Around that 25-minute mark everything changed in this final. Glasgow suffered the horrendous blow of having Fraser Brown stretchered off, then they conceded a second try, a product of relentless forward waves and culminating with Healy barging over. Sexton’s conversion made it 12-10. Sexton’s penalty soon after, as Leinster’s scrum got on top, made it 15-10.

Leinster are not normally in the business of giving up leads in big games like this, unless the opposition happens to be the mighty Saracens. Once ahead they tend to stay ahead. They squeeze the life out of the opposition, breaking their spirit.

That process carried on early in the new half. Another deluge from the heavens greeted the restart, a debilitating factor for a team like Glasgow that wants to run with abandon. They had got themselves on the front foot only to spill it in attack, an error that Leinster fed off.

Ringrose counter-attacked, James Lowe following in his wake. Steyn got done for lying on Lowe, giving up not just a penalty but getting a yellow card into the bargain. A double whammy that became a triple whammy when Sexton banged over a penalty minutes later to make it an eight-point game.

Sexton (left) missed his first two kicks but was successful with his next three

Leinster’s muscles pinned Glasgow on their own five-metre line for an age, scrum following scrum as the minutes ticked by. This had become the final that Leinster had wanted; a points advantage, all the possession, all the territory, Glasgow’s dangerous runners silenced, the 47,128 crowd, a new record, all but silenced.

The very breath was being drained from the night. When that siege was eventually lifted and Glasgow got out of their own 22 there was a moment of high controversy. Hogg went up to field a high ball and Kearney went clattering into him in the air. Hogg fell to earth and, briefly, he looked like he had been knocked out.

The crowd roared for a red card. Referee Owens deliberated, watched the incident again, and gave a yellow. A cop-out. That was Hogg’s night and Glasgow career done. He stood up and wobbled. He could not reappear after that.

Glasgow exacted a revenge of sorts when with five minutes left they engineered space up the right wing for the improbable finisher, Stewart, to run in from the 22m line. It was a brilliant score that made it 18-15. Hastings could not reduce the gap with the conversion and Glasgow could not find another gap in the Leinster defence or the field position to boot over a kick to take it to extra-time. The serial winners had done it again.

Line-ups

Glasgow Warriors: Hogg, Seymour, Steyn, Johnson, van der Merwe, Hastings, Price, Bhattie, Brown, Z. Fagerson, Cummings, Gray, Harley, Gibbins, M. Fagerson.

Replacements: H. Jones for Hogg (66), P. Horne for Johnson (56), G. Horne for Price (58), Kebble for Bhattie (52), Halanukonuka for Z. Fagerson (67), Gordon for Harley (52). Not Used: Stewart, Wilson. Sin Bin: Steyn (49).

Leinster: R. Kearney, Larmour, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe, Sexton, L. McGrath, Healy, Cronin, Furlong, Fardy, Ryan, Ruddock, van der Flier, Conan.

Replacements: R. Byrne for Sexton (73), McCarthy for L. McGrath (77), E. Byrne for Healy (63), B. Byrne for Cronin (64), Porter for Furlong (64), Molony for Ruddock (79), Deegan for van der Flier (74). Not Used: O’Loughlin. Sin Bin: R. Kearney (66).

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