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Lopez scores playoff career-high 33 points as Bucks push Hawks to brink – Sportsnet.ca

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MILWAUKEE — Even without two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks figured out a way to end their recent habit of slow starts.

Now they’re just one win away from finishing off the Atlanta Hawks and earning their first NBA Finals berth in nearly half a century.

Brook Lopez scored a playoff career-high 33 points to lead a balanced attack and the Bucks never trailed in a 123-112 victory over the Hawks on Thursday night that gave them a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

“It’s exciting. But it’s obviously not done,” Lopez said. “We need to bottle that energy and effort we had tonight and do it again in two days.”

The Bucks haven’t reached the NBA Finals since 1974. They won their lone NBA title in 1971.

Milwaukee regained the lead in the series by grabbing a 30-10 lead Thursday and never trailing. That marked a notable change after the Bucks erased an early 15-point deficit in a 113-102 Game 3 victory and never led in a 110-88 Game 4 loss.

“It was one of the main priorities, just to be aggressive out of the gate, be the aggressor, be more aggressive than they were,” Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said. “We felt like those games in Atlanta, whether it was energy from the crowd or whatever it was, they swung and punched us in the mouth. We didn’t want to take any chances. We wanted to come out strong and hit first.”

Game 6 is Saturday in Atlanta, with the winner of the series facing the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals.

Four of the Bucks’ starters had at least 22 points: Lopez, Khris Middleton (26), Holiday (25) and Bobby Portis (22). Middleton also had 13 rebounds and eight assists. Holiday had 13 assists and six rebounds.

They all stepped up their game while Antetokounmpo watched from the bench with a hyperextended left knee. Each team was missing its biggest star, as Atlanta’s Trae Young sat out a second straight game due to a bone bruise in his right foot.

Young got hurt when he accidentally stepped on an official’s foot along the sideline in Game 3. Antetokounmpo landed awkwardly after trying to block Clint Capela’s dunk attempt in Game 4.

Just as the Hawks’ role players delivered with Young sidelined in Game 4, Antetokounmpo’s teammates came through Thursday.

Portis took Antetokounmpo’s spot in the starting lineup and had the Fiserv Forum fans chanting “Bobby! Bobby!” on multiple occasions, continuing something that started during Milwaukee’s Game 2 blowout victory. Portis’ 22 points were a playoff career high.

“Knowing the situation we were in, one of the best players in the world went down on our team,” Portis said. “So other guys had to step up. Guys stepped up and played their role to a ‘T.’”

Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Hawks with 28 points. Atlanta also got 19 points each from John Collins and Danilo Gallinari, and 17 from Lou Williams.

The Bucks never trailed and led by as many as 20 in the first quarter, making most of their shots and getting second-chance opportunities on their rare misses. The game was nearly eight minutes old by the time Cam Reddish got Atlanta’s first defensive rebound.

“They were the more physical, more aggressive team from start to finish tonight,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said.

Milwaukee led 36-22 after a first quarter in which the Bucks outscored the Hawks 28-8 in the paint. They ended the game with a 66-36 edge in the paint.

Atlanta cut the lead to 65-59 when Bogdanovic hit a 3-pointer to open the third-quarter scoring, but that’s as close as the Hawks would get in the second half.

“We didn’t match their intensity, their energy,” Gallinari said. “We definitely need to start the game better.”

This marked the second straight game in this series without any lead changes. The Hawks never trailed in Game 4.

TIP-INS

Hawks: McMillan said he expects Young to be a game-time decision on Saturday. … Capela was in the starting lineup after being listed as questionable before the game due to inflammation in his right eye. Capela took an inadvertent elbow to the face from Milwaukee’s Sam Merrill late in Game 4. He had six points and eight rebounds.

Bucks: During his pregame availability, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer offered no update on when Antetokounmpo might be able to return. Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo did some work in the weight room and training area but wasn’t with his teammates on the court Thursday morning. ? The Bucks made their first two 3-point attempts but missed their next 12 and finished 9 of 29.

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Canada earns first medal in Tokyo with silver in women’s 4×100 freestyle swimming – Sportsnet.ca

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Canada has earned its first trip to the podium at the Tokyo Olympics, claiming silver in the women’s 4×100-metre swimming freestyle relay Saturday night.

Penny Oleksiak, the decorated swimmer who anchored the Canadian women to the nation’s first medal of these Games, earned her fifth career trip to the podium in the process, tying the all-time record for a summer Olympian from Canada. Rower Lesley Thompson-Willie and sprinter Phil Edwards are Canada’s other two five-time summer Games medalists.

“I think it’s kind of crazy,” Oleksiak said after the race. “I think we were all hopeful that we would get a medal. We didn’t know what medal it would really be. I think we all just wanted one. For it to be a silver, it’s pretty crazy I think.”

Kayla Sanchez, Maggie Mac Neil and Rebecca Smith rounded out Canada’s medal-winning crew. Sanchez took the lead position in the final, giving Mac Neil and Smith a chance to inch Canada closer to its eventual silver.

Then, in the final length, Oleksiak took over, propelling Canada out of what could have been a fourth-place finish and onto the podium.

“I just knew I wasn’t going to touch third,” Oleksiak said. “And when I make a decision in the race I have to execute it, so I wanted a silver medal for these girls and I wanted it so bad I wouldn’t accept anything else.”

Taylor Ruck, the fifth member of the team, didn’t swim in the final but competed in the preliminary heats and also received a medal.

Earlier in the night Mac Neil, who replaced Ruck in the final, placed third in her semifinal of the women’s 100-metre butterfly, earning a place in Sunday’s final and a chance to earn an individual medal for Canada.

In that semifinal, Mac Neil, the 2019 world champion and Canadian record holder in the event, posted a time of 56.56 seconds. She finished behind world record holder and Olympic champion Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, and Yufei Zhang of China, who finished first with a time of 55.89 seconds.

“I know from experience my second swim is usually better because I’m warmed up already,” Mac Neil said. “I was really looking forward to it. Having these girls with me definitely gave me that extra boost to get silver.”

The Australian women’s team earned gold in Saturday’s 4×100-metre freestyle, shattering the previous world record with a time of 03:29.69. Canada managed to beat out the USA by a mere three one-hundredths of a second, as the Americans finished with bronze.

The Canadian relay team secured its place in tonight’s final by posting the third-fastest time in yesterday’s semifinal with a combined time of three minutes 33.72 seconds, narrowly behind the Netherlands and Australia.

This relay team kicking off the nation’s Olympics success isn’t new. Five years ago, during the Rio Games, it was the Canadian women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team that earned Canada’s first medal with a bronze.

Canada’s women will seek to secure a podium position in all three relay events during the Tokyo games after achieving three bronze medals during the world championship in South Korea two years ago.

“I have a lot of faith in these people,” Sanchez said. “If you want someone to anchor it’s Penny. And if you want someone to swim second it’s Maggie. And Rebecca is a great trainer and consistent. We just did what we needed to do.”

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Tokyo 2020: Canada wins first medal after swimming to silver in women's 4×100 freestyle relay – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Canadian Press


Published Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT


Last Updated Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT

TOKYO — Canada has its first medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay team raced to silver.

Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez of Toronto, Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., and Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., finished in a time of three minutes 32.78 seconds as Canada picked up a medal in the event for a second straight Games.

Australia won gold in a world-record time of 3:29.69, while the United States finished third in 3:32.81.

Oleksiak swam the anchor leg and narrowly beat out American Simone Manuel at the wall.

Canada’s women are looking to duplicate the success they had in the pool at the 2016 Rio Games, where they picked up six medals.

Earlier on Sunday, Mac Neil also advanced to Monday morning’s 100-metre butterfly final. The 21-year-old world champion in the event posted the sixth-fastest time in the semifinals.

An hour after qualifying for the butterfly final, Mac Neil drew into the relay lineup for Taylor Ruck who swam the heat for Canada. The women posted the third-fastest time in the preliminaries.

Sanchez led off the final followed by Mac Neil and Smith with Oleksiak bringing the team home.

Oleksiak and Ruck won a pair of freestyle relay bronze medals as 16-year-olds in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.

They teamed with Sandrine Mainville and Chantal Van Landeghem in the 4 x 100 to win Canada’s first medal of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Oleksiak also swam the anchor leg in Rio.

Canada’s women aim for the podium in all three relays in Tokyo after earning three bronze at the world championship in Gwangju, South Korea two years ago.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2021.

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The Edmonton Oilers select big German defender Luca Munzenberger at #90 overall – Edmonton Journal

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The Edmonton Oilers trading down on Day #1 of the NHL draft was converted not 24 hours later into Defenceman Luca Munzenbeger.

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Gotta love the name! Munzenberger is an 18-year old out of Dusseldorf, Germany. He has a late (November) 2002 birth date.

He’s a big, left-handed shot at 6’3, 194 LBS.

Munzenberger spent the majority of 2020-21 with Kolner Junghaie of the DNL U20. In 6 games he went 1-2-3 and served as Team Captain. His time in junior versus pro left open the door for him to play in college. Munzenberger also played for Team Germany at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton (0-0-0 in 5GP). More on that in a minute…

Munzenberger is considered to be an excellent PK man, but possesses a big shot which makes him a threat from the point as well. Scouts say he has a soft set of hands and makes an effective first-pass out of his own zone. Those who have seen him play, namely amateur scout Brock Otten, describe the kid as a “suffocating physical defender” with a mean streak. He’s an above-average skater for his size with a massive stride and a big wingspan. He’s effective at clearing the slot and his reach helps him get to pucks ahead of attackers. In my own viewing of his highlights from the WJC’s, Munzenberger closes quickly and effectively on the opposition along the walls. The foot-speed, reach and size are visibly key tools in his ability to break up the cycle.

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A side note from that tournament that may indicate the quality of his intangibles: Munzenberger was in COVID quarantine at the very beginning ot the WJ’s, but emerged from that status prior to Christmas and rebounded with a strong performance. That would seem to speak to the kid’s resilience. The young man in a foreign country responded to a stressful situation and considerable uncertainty extremely well.

Draft analyst Steve Kournianos says of him: “A big bodied vacuum cleaner on defence… He has ideal size but the mobility and agility to cover faster players… He plays a mean, physical brand of hockey and can be considered a throwback… He has soft hands and delivers clean passes to any area in the offensive zone, but what makes Munzenberger dangerous is his lethal shot — he owns a bomb of a shot, not only for its velocity but for the sheer power he generates with little backswing. His wrister is just as nasty.”

It is fair to consider this pick as somewhat “off the board”. Elite Prospects had him at #214. No other service had him listed at all. One wonders if fellow countryman Leon Draisaitl had and offered any insight on the player to the Oilers draft team? He and his father surely know of every sharp prospect in that nation.

Munzenberger is committed to NCAA University of Vermont in 2022-23 which offers another interesting tidbit. Todd Woodcroft is the coach of that program, the brother of Bakersfield Condors bench boss Jay Woodcroft.  So, there may well be some added insight from that connection.

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