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Bucks advance to NBA Finals with win over Hawks – TSN

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ATLANTA (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks are headed back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974.

They didn’t even need two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to lock up their spot.

Khris Middleton scored 32 points, including a run of 16 straight points in a decisive third quarter that carried the Bucks to a 118-107 victory over the upstart Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night.

Milwaukee won the series 4-2, advancing to face the Suns in the NBA Finals. Game 1 is Tuesday night in Phoenix.

Trae Young returned to the Hawks lineup after missing two games with a bone bruise in his right foot, but the young star never got anything going. After both teams struggled to find the range in the first half, the Bucks suddenly couldn’t miss in the third quarter.

Especially Middleton.

Atlanta actually had a chance for its first lead of the game when Young’s behind-the-back pass gave Kevin Huerter an open look from 3-point range.

The shot rimmed out, and Middleton quickly ripped off the next 13 points to suddenly push the Milwaukee lead to 60-45.

Young broke up the one-man onslaught with a driving basket, but Middleton responded with a 3-pointer that gave him 16 straight points.

Middleton finished the quarter with 23 points, nearly outscoring the Hawks all by himself. Atlanta had 29 points in the period as Milwaukee headed to the final quarter with a commanding 91-72 lead.

Jrue Holiday added 27 points for the Bucks.

Cam Reddish, who missed much of the season with an Achilles injury, came off the bench to spark the Hawks. He scored 21 points — making six of seven 3-pointers — as the Hawks sliced a 22-point deficit down to six in the closing minutes.

But the Bucks finished it off, rekindling memories of the franchise’s early years when Milwaukee quickly became the center of the NBA world with a team led by two of the game’s greatest players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson.

In Milwaukee’s third season in the league, the duo led the team to its only NBA title in 1971. The Bucks returned to finals three years later, only to lose to the Boston Celtics in seven games.

Robertson retired after that season and Abdul-Jabbar was dealt a year later to the Los Angeles Lakers, ending Milwaukee’s run as an elite franchise.

Now, the Bucks are back in the finals with a whole new group of stars. As they proved In the last two games against the Hawks, they’re certainly more than the Greek Freak.

With Antetokounmpo sidelined for the last two games of the series with a hyperextended left knee, the Bucks turned to his supporting cast to finish off Atlanta. Brooks Lopez had 33 points in Game 5, and three other starters scored at least 22.

Middleton and Holiday carried the load in the deciding game.

Despite a disappointing finish, the Hawks stamped themselves as a future force with a young group that knocked off the New York Knicks and t he top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers to surprisingly advance to the conference finals.

Mired at 14-20 when they fired coach Lloyd Pierce shortly before the All-Star break, Atlanta went on a run under interim coach Nate McMillan that carried the Hawks to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

The Hawks didn’t stop there, advancing to the conference finals for only the second time with Young leading the way.

After missing Games 4 and 5 with a bone bruise in his right foot, Young was cleared to play shortly before the game. The crowd went nuts when he was the introduced as the final member of the starting five.

“He’s baaaaack!” the public-address announcer screamed.

But, clearly, he wasn’t all the way back.

After a nearly week-long layoff, Young seemed tentative and all out of sorts. Sure, he flashed a bit of his old form on a couple of bursts to the basket, but five points in the first half was not at all what the Hawks had come to expect from their breakout star.

Young finished with just 14 points on 4-of-17 shooting.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 and his work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Canada's Damian Warner extends decathlon lead with another Olympic best – CBC.ca

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Canada’s Damian Warner picked up right where he left off in the decathlon. Now, he’s two events away from a gold medal.

The London, Ont., native recorded an Olympic best — his third through eight events in Tokyo — with a time of 13.46 seconds in the 110-metre hurdles on Thursday in Japan. He then posted the third-farthest discus throw in the field at 48.67 metres and cleared a personal-best 4.90 metres in pole vault to maintain his spot atop the decathlon standings.

Warner now sits at 7,490 points, comfortably ahead of 21-year-old Australian Ashley Moloney in second (7,269).

“You go through the whole battle of the decathlon and when you finally finish and you get the result you’re looking for, there’s no greater feeling. If I finish this off, this is a dream come true,” Warner said.

The Canadian said he was particularly pleased with his pole vault, giving credit to his coaches for helping him improve one of his weaker events.

“They’ve been persistent and stuck with me, and I think there’s a lot more bars in my future, but I’m really happy with how today went and it’s time to finish this thing off,” Warner said.

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Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

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WATCH | Warner clears personal-best 4.90 metres in pole vault:

London, Ont., native Damian Warner stays in first place after 8 events in the decathlon with a personal best 4.90m in pole vault. Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., holds on to third place with a vault of 5.00m. 4:32

Fellow Canadian Pierce LePage, a 25-year-old making his Olympic debut, was fifth in Warner’s hurdles heat, seventh overall in discus and eighth in pole vault, but still managed to hold on to his third-place standing entering the day.

LePage’s 7,175 points put him just ahead of decathlon world-record holder and reigning silver medallist Kevin Mayer of France, who is sitting fourth at 7,129.

“If you’re doing not bad in most of your decathlon then you know something good is going to happen at the end,” LePage, of Whitby, Ont., said.

WATCH | Warner wins 110m hurdles:

Damian Warner of London, Ont., won the 110m hurdles portion of the decathlon by running to an Olympic best time of 13.46 seconds. After six events Warner sits in first place, with fellow Canadian Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., in third place. 5:39

In hurdles, Warner sped to the front of the pack quickly and never relinquished his lead, despite knocking a gate over in the process. He waved and said hi to partner Jen Cotten, their son Theo and his mom after he crossed the finish line.

Despite the Olympic best, Warner himself has done better, setting the world-best of 13.36 seconds at the Hypo-Meeting in Austria in May. That time helped the Canadian set a national record of 8,995 points overall — the fourth best in history.

LePage, of Whitby, Ont., posted a time of 14.39 seconds in the hurdles. His personal best is 14.05. He threw 47.14 metres in discus, also well off his personal best of 50.28.

Warner also fell short of both his career best (50.26) and season best (48.74) in discus, with his first throw standing as his top result.

Pole vault has previously caused Warner problems, like at the 2019 Commonwealth Games when he failed to record a height. But the 31-year-old persevered after missing his first two attempts at 4.90 metres to clear his third. Moloney, who cleared five metres, only gained 30 points on the Canadian in the event.

LePage, who said the heat in Tokyo was more excruciating for the pole vault because of the length of the event, also cleared five metres.

“Want to do better in all three [events] but they weren’t too off where I wanted to be. That pole vault was something I’ve never experienced before — really hot out there. But nothing you can do besides look forward to the next two events and make up those points,” he said.

Javelin,1,500m still to come

The decathlon wraps up with javelin and the 1,500-metre beginning Thursday at 6:15 a.m. ET.

Thursday’s results extended Warner’s lead in the competition where the top-ranked decathlete is eyeing his first Olympic gold medal. Warner earned bronze at the 2016 Rio Games.

Warner is coming off an extraordinary winter that saw him train in an empty, unheated hockey arena that his coaches converted to a multi-events facility after COVID-19 shut down the University of Western Ontario fieldhouse. He and his coaches built a long jump pit, brought in a pole jump pit, built a throwing circle and laid down a 40-metre section of track.

On Wednesday in Tokyo, Warner tied his decathlon world-best in the 100-metre, then put down a long jump of 8.24 metres, 0.04 off his world best and an Olympic record in the sport.

WATCH | Warner ties 100m world best:

Damian Warner of London, Ont., matched his world decathlon best time of 10.12 seconds in the 100-metre portion of the Olympic men’s decathlon. Fellow Canadian Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., finished third overall with a time of 10.43. 4:43

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Canada's Vincent-Lapointe wins silver in C-1 200m – Yahoo Canada Sports

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TOKYO — Laurence Vincent-Lapointe’s long, winding road to the Tokyo Olympics has led her to the podium. 

The Canadian canoeist won silver in the final of the women’s C-1 200-metre race at a sweltering Sea Forest Waterway on Wednesday. 

The 29-year-old paddler from Trois-Rivières, Que., finished the sprint in a time of 46.786 seconds. 

“I pushed until the end,” Vincent-Lapointe said. “No matter how many people I thought were catching up to me, I was just like, ‘No, no, no. You cannot drop, you cannot let go. Just push until the end.’

“It’s just crazy. I have 13 world championships, but this silver at the Games is so different.”

Nevin Harrison (45.932) of the United States took the gold, while Ukraine’s Liudmyla Luzan (47.034) claimed bronze in temperatures that felt like a staggering 44 C with the humidity on a windy Tokyo Bay. 

Katie Vincent of Mississauga, Ont., finished 8th with a time of 47.834 seconds. 

“We push each other a lot, especially on the water,” said 25-year-old. “That teamwork goes a long way on a day like today. I’m disappointed I can’t be on the podium.

“But to see a Canadian flag rise today is a huge plus and something I think all Canadians in the paddling community will remember.” 

A dominant canoeing force for more than a decade, Vincent-Lapointe had to wait for the sport’s international federation and the International Olympic Committee to make room for women to race at the Olympics. 

That finally happened in Japan. 

She had won a combined six world titles in C-1 and C-2 500 metres by the time women’s canoe was added to the Olympics in 2017 ahead of the Tokyo Games, and went on to win five more by the end of 2018. 

But then her life and career descended into controversy. 

Vincent-Lapointe had an “adverse analytical finding” in July 2019 during an out-of-competition drug test. She was suspended and missed the 2019 world championship, but battled for reinstatement. 

The International Canoe Federation cleared her to compete in January 2020, accepting that Vincent-Lapointe was the victim of third-party contamination of a banned substance. 

The ICU believed her assertion that a trace amount of ligandrol was transferred to her via her ex-boyfriend’s body fluids. 

“I had the feeling I would make (the Olympics),” Vincent-Lapointe said. “In my head … I was like probably, ‘Fake it ’til you make it.’ In my head I was trying to convince myself, ‘You’re going to be at the Games, you’re going to be at the Games.’

“Even the darkest moments I just clung to it, to that feeling. It was so relieving when I finally got my spot in. It was just like, ‘All right, I had the right to believe in myself that I would make it to the Games.’ But once I came here I was like, ‘All right, you made it to the Games, now do your best.'” 

And while COVID-19 was a devastating gut-punch to sports and society around the world, it gave Vincent-Lapointe an opportunity to get back in the groove. 

Missing the 2019 worlds, however, meant she still had to qualify for Tokyo, and the global pandemic didn’t allow her to travel to North American qualifying events. 

Vincent-Lapointe also lost to Vincent in the women’s C-1 200 metres at March’s national trials in Burnaby, B.C. 

Canoe Kayak Canada declined to send paddlers to international World Cups this spring because of the pandemic, but ultimately awarded Vincent-Lapointe an Olympic quota spot following a performance review. 

Next up for Vincent-Lapointe and Vincent is the women’s C-2, where they are medal contenders, on Friday and Saturday. 

In other races involving Canadians on Thursday, kayakers Brian Malfesi of Maple Ridge, B.C., and Vincent Jourdenais Ste-Basile-le-Grand, Que., were sixth in the ‘B’ final of the men’s K-2 1,000 metres, while Toronto’s Nicholas Matveev was sixth in the ‘B’ final of the men’s K-1 200 metres. 

But the day — clearly — belonged to Vincent-Lapointe.

“Going through all I had to go through the last two years, if you’d ask me if I’d do it again, even knowing a silver medal comes at the end of this, I’m not sure I would say yes,” she said in French. “It was extremely difficult. 

“Everybody told me this week that with all I went through, I must be mentally the strongest here.”

Now she has a silver medal to prove it.

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Canada’s Damian Warner sets Olympic record, claims decathlon gold in Tokyo – Sportsnet.ca

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Damian Warner became the first Canadian to ever win gold in the decathlon in Tokyo on Thursday, setting an Olympic record in the process as the only athlete to eclipse the 9,000-point plateau at the Games.

The 31-year-old capped off the arduous 10-discipline event with a fifth-place finish in the 1,500-metre race, cementing his place in history with a total of 9,018 points. No other Canadian, and only three other athletes ever, have broken the 9,000-point barrier in a decathlon.

The previous Olympic record was 8,893 points, shared between Ashton Eaton of the United States (2016) and Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic (2004). Kevin Mayer, who won silver in this year’s Games, holds the world record of 9,126 points.

“It’s been a long two days,” Warner said after the race. “When you go through the whole battle of the decathlon and finally finish and you get the result you were looking for, there is no greater feeling. This is a dream come true.”

Canada had two men in the decathlon. Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., competing in his first-ever Olympics, finished fifth after 10 events with a personal-best score of 8,604.

Warner, who won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was a force to be reckoned with at Tokyo. He set Olympic decathlon records in the long jump and 110-metre hurdles, and tied his decathlon world mark in the 100 metres. He also set a personal best in the pole vault.

Warner crossed the finish line of the 1,500 metres in four minutes 31.08 seconds. The time and fifth-place finish gave him 738 points in the final event, enough for the Olympic record.

“When I came around 1,200, I think I was 3 seconds off the pace and I was just like ‘if I’m gonna get those 9000 points I have to go now,'” Warner said after the race. “I just gave it everything I had. It wasn’t pretty, but we got the job done.”

In the track and field community, Olympic decathlon winners are considered the “world’s greatest athlete” and, draped in the Canadian flag with a broad smile on his face, Warner was met by his peers with congratulations befitting that description.

“By definition, he’s Canada’s greatest ‘Athlete,'” Adam van Koeverden, an Olympic gold medalist in sprint kayaking who is now an MP, tweeted. “Extraordinary achievement!”

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