Giannis Antetokounmpo puts up 25 and 11, Greece improves to 2-0 in EuroBasket

Greece v Italy: Group C - FIBA EuroBasket 2022
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Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Tyler Dorsey scored 23 and Greece (2-0) held off a furious rally by Italy in the final minutes to win 85-81.

Greece led 75-60 midway through the fourth quarter, but Italy (1-1) got as close as 84-81 on a layup by Simone Fontecchio with 35 seconds left.

But Italy’s comeback stalled there. The Italians missed two potentially game-tying 3-pointers in the final 7 seconds and Dorsey made a free throw with two-tenths of a second remaining to seal the win.

Fontecchio led Italy with 26 points. Achille Polonara scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Stefano Tonut scored 13.



Ukraine held the lead for all of 55 seconds in its EuroBasket game against Estonia on Saturday.

They were the final 55 seconds.

Illya Sydorov’s layup gave Ukraine its first lead of the game, and the war-torn nation’s team moved to 2-0 in the European championship tournament by topping Estonia 74-73 in a Group C matchup.

“It’s a super important game for us,” Sydorov said. “The main goal, why we get this win, is because we fight until the end and we stayed together for all four quarters.”

It was a massive victory for Ukraine, which has its three toughest games of Group C play — against Croatia, Italy and Greece — still looming.

But it’s likely that Ukraine already has done enough to earn a spot in the second round, regardless of what happens in those three remaining contests.

And that is an enormous lift for a team carrying the weight of representing a country that has been devastated by the war that Russia started by invading nearly seven months ago.

“Our main goal was to beat Great Britain and Estonia,” Sydorov said. “We all understand the main part was to win both games, and we did, and we’re very happy about it.

Svi Mykhailiuk led Ukraine with 18 points. Volodymyr Herun scored 12 and Sydorov added 11.


Croatia outscored Great Britain 35-9 in the third quarter, building a 35-point lead, and cruised to a win.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Dario Saric and Ivica Zubac each scored 15 for Croatia (1-1), while Mario Hezonja finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Myles Hesson scored 18 and Patrick Whelan finished with 14 for Great Britain (0-2).



At Cologne, Germany, Luka Doncic had an easy 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting and defending EuroBasket champion Slovenia (2-0) never trailed.

Klemen Prepelic had 14 points and four players — Edo Muric, Jaka Blazic, Ziga Dimec and Vlatko Cancar — each had 11 for Slovenia, which led by as many as 30 points.

Zoltan Perl scored 18 and Mikael Hopkins added 14 for Hungary (0-2).


France rallied from a 13-point deficit and took the lead for good on Evan Fournier’s 3-pointer with 3:08 remaining.

Fournier led all scorers with 27 points for France (1-1).

Jonas Valanciunas scored 15 for Lithuania (0-2), which got 14 from Rokas Jokubaitis, 13 from Marius Grigonis, 12 from Ignas Brazdeikis and nine rebounds from Domantas Sabonis.


Germany used an 18-0 run spanning the second and third quarters to erase what was an 11-point deficit and take the lead for good.

Franz Wagner and Dennis Schroder each scored 18 for Germany (2-0), which got 14 points from Johannes Thiemann and 13 from Andreas Obst.

Dzanan Musa scored 30 and Jusuf Nurkic added 21 for Bosnia and Herzegovina (1-1).



Bojan Dubljevic scored 21 points and Montenegro (1-1) led nearly the entire way against Belgium (1-1).

Kendrick Perry scored 19 and Vladimir Mihailovic added 14 for Montenegro, which survived getting outscored 20-8 in the fourth quarter.

Retin Obasohan led all scorers with 25 for Belgium, and Manu Lecomte scored 10.


Cedi Osman scored 25 points, Alperen Sengun added 20 and Turkey (2-0) used an 18-6 run in the fourth quarter to pull away.

Shane Larkin had 13 points and nine assists for Turkey. Aleksandar Vezenkov led Bulgaria (0-2) with 28 points, while Chavdar Kostov scored 15 and Dee Bost finished with 12 points and 13 assists.


Willy Hernangomez scored 14 points, Jaime Pradilla added 12 and Spain (2-0) used a balanced attack on the way past Georgia (0-2).

Spain used 12 players; nine of them had at least seven points.

Rati Andronikashvili led Georgia with 13 points.



At Prague, Sasu Salin scored 18 points, Lauri Markkanen added 17 and Finland (1-1) had no problem with Poland (1-1).

Elias Valtonen scored 12 for Finland. Mateusz Ponitka and Michal Sokolowski each had eight points for Poland.


Two-time reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Serbia (2-0) led by as many as 23 in its win over the Czech Republic (0-2).

Vasilije Micic scored 13 for Serbia, Vanja Marinkovic had 11 and Nikola Kalinic added 10.

Vit Kerjci and Vojtech Hruban had 13 points apiece for the Czech Republic.


Israel used a 33-16 run over the final 13 minutes to erase a deficit and remain unbeaten (2-0).

Deni Avdija scored 21 points, Yam Madar added 14 and Roman Sorkin had 10 for Israel, which prevailed despite shooting only 39%.

Worthy De Jong scored 12 for the Netherlands (0-2), which was outrebounded 39-28.

Kevin Durant drops 30, Suns win fourth straight beating shorthanded Nuggets


PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns are starting to string together some wins now that Kevin Durant is healthy.

Even so, they’re far from a well-oiled machine.

Durant scored 30 points, Devin Booker added 27 and the Suns won their fourth straight game by beating the short-handed Denver Nuggets 100-93 on Friday night.

The Suns improved to 5-0 with Durant in the lineup despite nearly blowing a 27-point lead. Phoenix traded for the 13-time All-Star in a deadline deal back in February.

“I like how we played in the first half, but it was a bad second half for us,” Durant said. “We just let our foot off the gas a little and they were playing extremely hard. … We’ve just got to do a better job of sticking with it.”

The Nuggets rested a big chunk of their starting lineup, including reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, guards Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and forward Michael Porter Jr. But they still showed fight after trailing 60-40 at halftime.

“I am immensely proud,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “You are down 27 points on the road, second half, second night in a row. Every reason just to roll over and play dead and get ready for Sunday at home. Guys just wouldn’t do it.”

The Suns pushed their advantage to 27 midway through the third quarter, but the Nuggets pulled to 84-74 heading into the fourth quarter. Denver cut it to 97-93 in the final minute, but Josh Okogie nailed a corner 3 to seal it for the Suns. Okogie had 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including four 3-pointers, and Chris Paul had 13 assists.

Aaron Gordon had 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists to lead the Nuggets. Bruce Brown scored 16 points and Reggie Jackson had 13. The overmatched but feisty Nuggets got 22 points from the bench.

“It was our energy and our effort,” backup guard Peyton Watson said. “We know we were missing guys but that doesn’t change the culture here. We always want to play hard, get stops.”

Durant shot 11 of 15 from the field in a dominant performance two days after a rough shooting night in his home debut against Minnesota. The 34-year-old star has battled knee and ankle injuries over the past few months, but appears to be getting healthy as the Suns continue to cling to the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Suns scored just 16 points in the fourth quarter on Friday, but managed to hang on for the victory.

“We’re trying to find that rhythm and trying to get wins at the same time,” Booker said.

Damian Lillard says Trail Blazers shut him down, talks loyalty to Portland


Players feel the wrath of fans for load management in the NBA, but more often than not it’s a team’s medical and training staff — driven by analytics and the use of wearable sensors — that sit a player. Guys don’t get to the NBA not wanting to compete.

Case in point, Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers have shut him down for the rest of the season, but he told Dan Patrick on the Dan Patrick Show that it was a team call, not his.

“I wouldn’t say it’s my decision at all. I think maybe the team protecting me from myself… Every time that I’ve had some type injury like that kind of get irritated or aggravated or something like that, it’s come from just like a heavy load, and stress, and just, you know, going out there and trying to go above and beyond. So, you know, I would say just; there is something there, and also them just trying to protect me from myself as well.”

Maybe it’s a little about protecting Lillard at age 32 — who played at an All-NBA level this season — but it’s more about lottery odds.

Portland and Orlando are tied for the league’s fifth and sixth-worst records. The team with the fifth worst record has a 10.5% chance at the No.1 pick, the sixth worst is 9%. More than that, the fifth-worst record has a 42% chance of moving up into the top four at the draft lottery, for the sixth seed that is 37.2%. Not a huge bump in the odds, but the chances are still better for the fifth seed than the sixth, so the Trail Blazers as an organization are going for it.

Lillard also talked about his loyalty to Portland, which is partly tied to how he wants to win a ring — the way Dirk Nowitzki and Giannis Antetokounmpo did, with the team and city that drafted them.

“I just have a way that I want to get things done for myself… I just have my stance on what I want to see happen, but in this business, you just never know.”

Other teams are watching Lillard, but they have seen this movie before. Nothing will happen until Lillard asks for a trade and he has yet to show any inclination to do so.

But he’s got time to think about everything as he is not taking the court again this season.

Seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge officially retires

Indiana Pacers v Brooklyn Nets
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LaMarcus Aldridge retired once due to a heart condition (Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome), back in 2021. That time it didn’t take, he came back to the then-a-super-team Nets and showed there was something in the tank averaging 12.9 points (on 55% shooting), 5.5 rebounds and a block a game. However, the Nets did not bring him back this season (leaning into Nic Claxton) and no other offers were forthcoming.

Friday, Aldridge made it official and retired.

Aldridge had a career that will earn him Hall of Fame consideration: 19.1 points a game over 16 seasons, five-time All-NBA, seven-time All-Star, and one of the faces of the Portland Trail Blazers during his prime years in the Pacific Northwest. Teammates and former coaches (including Gregg Popovich in San Antonio) called him a consummate professional after his initial retirement.

This time Aldridge got to announce his retirement on his terms, which is about as good an exit as there is.



Report: NBA minimum draft age will not change in new CBA, one-and-done remains


While the NBA — representing the owners — and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) continue last-minute negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) before an opt-out deadline Friday night at midnight, one point of contention is off the table:

The NBA draft age will not change in the new CBA, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The NBA one-and-done rule will remain in place.

The NBA one-and-done rule is unpopular with fans and college coaches (and, of course, players coming up). NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had worked to eliminate that restriction saying it was unfair, but he could not get it done.

There wasn’t much motivation from either side to make a move. From the players’ union perspective, lowering the draft eligibility age to 18 would bring more young players in to develop in the league and take away roster spots from veterans (and the union is made up of those veterans, not undrafted players). The union has suggested ways to keep veterans on the roster (possibly a roster expansion) as mentors, but a deal could not be reached. As for the teams, plenty of GMs would prefer an extra year to evaluate players, especially with them going up against better competition in college/G-League/Overtime Elite/overseas.

There are other impediments to a CBA deal, such as the details around a mid-season NBA tournament, the configuration of the luxury tax, veteran contract extension language, a games-played minimum to qualify for the league’s end-of-season awards.

If the sides do not reach a deal by midnight, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league would likely opt out of the current CBA, meaning it would end on June 30. The two sides would have until then to reach a deal on a new CBA to avoid a lockout (although they could go into September before it starts to mess with the NBA regular season calendar and not just Summer League).