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What to watch for as Suns host Bucks in Game 5 of NBA Finals on Sportsnet –



Game 5 of the NBA Finals goes at 9 p.m. ET Saturday night on Sportsnet.

The series is all evened up at 2-2 following a pair of stirring performances from the Milwaukee Bucks over the last two games to get right back into things after going down 2-0 to the Phoenix Suns to open the Finals.

Now a best-of-three, Saturday’s Game 5 is a pivotal game that will see the winner on the brink of winning it all in Game 6.


Here’s three things to keep in mind before you take in Game 5 on Saturday night.

Past adversity has appeared to temper Bucks for this moment

The Bucks have had their fair share of playoff heartbreaks over the past few years.

In 2019, they had a 2-0 series lead over the Toronto Raptors in the conference finals, but then proceeded to drop four straight. Then, last year in the bubble, Milwaukee went down 0-2 to the Miami Heat in the second round and were never able to recover as the team went down quietly in five games.

Those two experiences, in particular, have haunted the Bucks, and have been used as supposedly definitive proof that this is a team that simply can’t get the job done, no matter how much talent on the roster.

This year’s been different, though.

Twice now in the playoffs, we’ve seen Milwaukee come back from down 0-2 to even up a seven-game series — first against the Brooklyn Nets in the second round and now against the Suns in the Finals – and the biggest reason why appears to have stemmed from some past experiences members of this team have been through that have humbled them.

In particularly, those past playoff failure have appeared to really get through to Milwaukee superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and taught him how to navigate the post-season.

“I think I would say life,” said Antetokounmpo when asked about what’s taught him how to handle his ego in such an even-keeled way at just 26 years of age. “Usually, from my experience, when I think about like, ‘Oh, yeah, I did this, I’m so great, I had 30, I had 25, 10, 10,’ whatever the case might be, you’re going to think about that [and] usually the next day you’re going to suck, you know? Simple as that. The next few days you’re going to be terrible.

“I figured out a mindset to have that when you focus on the past, that’s your ego. ‘I did this, We were able to beat this team 4-0. I did this in the past. I won that in the past.’ When I focus on the future, it’s my pride. ‘Yeah, next game, Game 5, I do this and this and this. I’m going to dominate.’ That’s your pride talking. It doesn’t happen. You’re right here.

“I kind of try to focus on the moment, in the present. That’s humility. That’s being humble. That’s not setting no expectation. That’s going out there, enjoying the game, competing at a high level.”

Can the Suns correct their turnover woes of late?

Over their past two games, the Suns haven’t looked like themselves.

Usually a low-mistake team, the Suns have committed 32 turnovers over their last two games, 10 more than the 22 they committed over their first two games.

The Bucks’ defence has been a cause of this, but there have been unforced errors sprinkled in that simply can’t happen and Phoenix knows this.

“When you turn the ball over that many times with our group, it’s not something you typically see,” said Suns head coach Monty Williams. “[The Bucks] got hands on ball a few times, but a lot of it was things that, like I said at the end, we can correct.”

Williams is naturally confident his team can shore things up, but it’s one thing to have confidence things will turn around and actually seeing it happen all in practice, especially when your All-NBA point guard has been struggling.

After a solid Game 1 performance, Chris Paul has been off all series long. He’s uncharacteristically turned the ball over 15 times alone over the last three games and a major reason for that has been the defence of Jrue Holiday, whose size, length and strength have appeared to really bother Paul, not that anyone on the Suns will admit to it.

“A blip on the screen. That’s how I would term it,” said Williams of Paul’s turnovers problems of late. “You’re not going to see Chris have those kinds of games frequently. I’ve been around him long enough, I’ve coached against him enough. That’s how I would term it: a blip on the screen or the radar.”

Added Paul himself: “It’s something I don’t dwell on. Even though it may be an anomaly, it happens. I turned the ball over hella times before. End of the day, we got to win the game. Me turning the ball over is not giving us enough shots at the basket. I’ll figure it out.”

For the Suns’ sake, let’s hope this relatively unconcerned attitude about Paul’s issues taking care of the ball really is just an anomaly and he gets back on track beginning with Saturday’s Game 5.

This has been a home-dominated series

As the old saying goes, “a series doesn’t start until the home team loses.”

Well, in that case, despite four games having gone by, this is a series that hasn’t really begun yet because the home teams have dominated thus far.

Maybe it’s because these are both fanbases absolutely starved for a championship – neither market has won a major sports title since the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV in 2010. Between these two teams specifically, only the Bucks have won an NBA championship way back in 1971 when Lew Alcindor, better known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Oscar Robertson were playing for the team. But the energy from both home crowds during these Finals has been absolutely electric and has likely made communication difficult for the opposing side.

Because of how dominant the home side has been in this series, however, coming into Game 5 it feels like there’s a little more pressure on the Suns to hold serve on Saturday night. Those “Bucks in six” chants at Fiserv Forum at the end of Game 4 were sounding quite menacing and that’s because there’s been no better team at home this post-season than Milwaukee. If Phoenix can’t take Game 5 on Saturday, you have to like the Bucks’ chances to close things out at home on Tuesday.

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Senators' playoff push takes huge hit with Chychrun lower-body injury – CBC Sports



Senators defenceman Jakob Chychrun will be sidelined multiple weeks due to a lower-body injury, head coach D.J. Smith told TSN 1200 in Ottawa on Saturday.

Smith also announced forward Ridly Greig will miss the remainder of the regular season due to a sternum injury.

Both players were injured during the Senators’ 7-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Chychrun did not participate in practice Friday, and Smith told reporters that the defenceman “tugged something there a little bit, we’ll see how he reacts to treatment here.”


The Senators (35-32-5) have 10 games remaining in the regular season, which ends April 13 at Buffalo. Ottawa is five points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference entering play Saturday.

Chychrun, who turns 25 on Friday, has recorded five points in 12 games with the Senators since being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes on March 1. He had seven goals and 28 points in 36 contests this season with the Coyotes.

Chychrun has 62 goals and 175 points in 385 career outings with Arizona and Ottawa since being selected by the Coyotes with the 16th overall pick of the 2016 NHL draft.

Greig, 20, has six points in 16 games this season, his first in the NHL. He was drafted by the Senators with the 28th overall pick in 2020.

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Canadiens Forward Mike Hoffman Calls Out Department Of Safety



Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman is not a happy camper.

The 33-year-old forward took to Instagram to discuss the recent one-game suspension of Boston Bruins forward A.J. Greer.

Hoffman, freshly decorated with a gnarly battle scar after the ridiculous cross-check by Greer during Thursday night’s matchup between the Canadiens and the Bruins, expressed his concern with the lack of consistency from the NHL’s Department Of Player Safety.

“I’ve gotten a two-game suspension for cross-checking a guy in the back of the helmet,” said a wound-muffled Hoffman. “A full-blown, intentional cross-check to the face? One game. Hmmm.”


Hoffman’s message was clear: the standard has dropped in recent years, especially if we compare the decision made on Friday to the decision made in 2016 when Hoffman was suspended for two games after his cross-check rode up Logan Couture’s back and hit him in the helmet.

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That’s not to say Hoffman did not deserve a suspension. If anything, the ruling at the time was a step toward erring on the side of caution when brain injuries were in play, putting an onus on player safety in a spot that oftentimes forgets about the well-being of its employees.

Greer’s cross-check, on the other hand, was about as blatant as it gets, leaving a trail of blood behind the Canadiens forward as he quickly exited the ice.

There was some tomfoolery prior to the faceoff, perhaps even a little kerfuffle, but there’s no justifying a blatant cross-check which resulted in an injury.

By handing down a one-game suspension, the Department of Player Safety deemed Greer’s attack three times less severe than accidentally spitting on an opponent, which carries a three-game suspension in the NHL.

Hoffman returned to the game in the third period sporting a full birdcage, and though he did not miss significant time, he clearly did not appreciate the lack of safety provided by the NHL’s Department Of Misnomers.


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Szeryk, Jutanugarn, Shin share lead at Superstition Mountain



GOLD CANYON, Ariz. (AP) — Jenny Shin of South Korea had a run of five straight birdies to close out her front nine on the way to a 5-under 67 on Friday and shared the lead with Maddie Szeryk of Canada and Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand after two rounds of the LPGA Drive on Championship.

Jutanugarn raced up the leaderboard, following an opening 67 with a bogey-free 7-under 65 that included an eagle and five birdies. Szeryk pieced together a round that included an eagle and six birdies, including one on her final hole, while Shin used seven birdies to offset two bogeys to get to 12-under 132 at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in the LPGA’s first full-field event of the year.

American Lilia Vu shot a 6 under and was a stroke off the lead, while South Korea’s Na Rin An (67) and American Alison Lee (69) were tied for fifth place at 10 under.

No. 3-ranked Jin Young Ko, a winner two weeks ago in Singapore, had a second-round 65 and was among eight players tied for seventh place at 9 under on the crowded leaderboard.


The event marks the debut of the tour’s new cut policy. The cutline after 36 holes includes the top 65 players and ties advancing to the weekend. Previously, the top 70 players and ties advanced to the final rounds.

The cutline fell at 3 under, with 76 players advancing. Two of the big names missing the cut included three-time major winner Anna Nordqvist of Sweden and two-time major champion Brook Henderson of Canada, both at 1 under.

Shin, looking for her first win since 2016, overcame a sluggish bogey-birdie-par-bogey start to the second round and then went on a birdie tear on Nos. 14 through 18, her front nine, to get to 11 under. She went bogey free on her back nine and added a birdie at the par-4 third hole to get to 12 under.

Shin said she was surprised by unexpected swirling wind at the start of her round, and didn’t immediately realize her string of birdies.

“The bogey on the first hole didn’t help,” the 30-year-old said. “I was like, ‘Oh, no. Here we go again.’ I stayed calm. I try not to get in my head too much. … So I didn’t know I was doing five in a row until I just checked the scorecard. So it’s a good thing that I didn’t know.”

The highlight of Jutanugarn’s round was her eagle at No. 7, where she hit a good drive that finished on the cart path. After a drop, she got a favorable bounce on her second shot that settled on the back of the green, and she made the putt for an eagle 3.

“The next two days just trying to go out and have fun and do what I should do, what is under my control,” the 2013 rookie of the year and two-time tour winner said. “I think, of course, it’s more fun when you feel like you’re in contention.”

The 26-year-old Szeryk, in her second year on tour after a rookie campaign that included making five cuts in 14 events in 2022, sees being tied for the lead after 36 holes — and whatever follows — as a learning experience.

“It’s so amazing to be back in this position because I love being out here and I’m just so thankful to God to have another opportunity to be out here and to really compete with the best players, she said. “But I’m just on such a high.

“Just really excited for what the weekend has in store. … But it was great to see those putts go in and make those birdies coming down the stretch.”

Second-ranked Nelly Korda, the highest-ranked player in the field with No. 1 Lydia Ko not competing, followed an opening 70 with a 66 and was among those tied for 15th at 8 under.

Also at 8 under was Yuka Saso, but her route to a tie for 15th was highlighted by her first albatross, when she made a 2 on the 492-yard, par-5 second hole.

Saso used a hybrid from 217 yards ou t on her second shot and knew the approach was online with the pin.

“I mean, we didn’t really know where it landed and where it finishes, so we were just walking to the green and everyone started clapping,” she said. “But my ball wasn’t on the green so I was like, why are they clapping? Is it over? Why is everyone clapping if it’s not on the green?”

It turns out her playing partner, Sei Young Kim, looked into the hole and let her know it was in.

“It was one of my dreams to get one, but we all know how hard it is to get one,” Saso said. “They say you’re lucky if you ever get one in your golf career. I guess I was very lucky to have it.”


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