Giannis Antetokounmpo insisted there is no pressure on the Milwaukee Bucks despite allowing the Toronto Raptors to tie their Eastern Conference Finals series on Tuesday.

The Bucks held a 2-0 lead after the opening pair of games in Milwaukee, but Toronto - after a thrilling double overtime win in Game 3 - levelled the series at 2-2 with a 120-102 victory at Scotiabank Arena in Game 4.

Milwaukee trailed by 10 points at the half and were unable to overturn that deficit, with Antetokounmpo blaming a poor third quarter for their inability to produce a turnaround.

"Obviously I think we started aggressive, in the third quarter we came out flat," Antetokounmpo said. 

"It's something we can get better at, something we can fix, it's something that we've been doing all season.

"Usually in the third quarter we come out and we're aggressive, making shots, moving the ball but we weren't able to do it.

"But at the end of the day we're not going to lose our confidence, hopefully when we get back home we can execute better in the third quarter and the whole game."

Performing in the third will be pivotal for the Bucks not only in this series but also if they do make it to the NBA Finals, where a Golden State Warriors team renowned for game-changing third-quarter runs will be the opposition.

But Antetokounmpo does not believe there is any extra burden on the Bucks after this loss, adding: "There's no pressure, obviously we've got to take care of [our] home [matches], it's our job but I don't think there's pressure. We've just to go out there and have fun, play good basketball, be us, and try to win.

"Just got to play with more energy, execute better, but our feeling is the same, doesn't change, they did their job. They protected home and we've got to do our job now.

"Got to give them credit, obviously they are doing a great job defensively, helping one another, closing the drive lanes, using their hands in the passing lanes but we've got to execute better, got to take better care of the ball.

"We've been playing good basketball the whole year, if you lose one or two games it's not the end of the world."

Manchester City star Raheem Sterling wants to hold talks with the Football Association (FA) and Premier League about tackling racism.

England forward Sterling has this season been vocal on the issue since suffering alleged racist abuse from Chelsea fans during a 2-0 loss in December, criticising the media's coverage of black players and speaking out in support of other footballers that have been targeted.

The 24-year-old in April backed an anti-racism manifesto that included demands for harsher punishments and greater representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic people at a governance level throughout football.

Sterling, who, along with Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi, was also subjected to racist chanting during a Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro in March, hopes to have an opportunity to have a dialogue with English football's governing bodies during the close season.

"With football you can get caught up in training every day and games every two to three days so you don't really have a lot of time to be out speaking to people," said Sterling at the Wall Street Journal's Future of Everything Festival.

"But in my off-time, holidays if I can get to speak to the FA and people in the Premier League and see how we can look about doing things better in the future for sure I will be there in person to try and do that."

Sterling reiterated his desire to see a nine-point deduction handed to clubs whose fans are found to have racially abused players.

"There needs to be stricter punishments. If I go to a football game and I support Manchester United for example I do not want to be the person that lets my team down by saying silly remarks in the stadium," he said.

"If your team is going to be deducted nine points from them winning the league you are not going to say these racist remarks.

"Fining someone or fining a club £5,000 or fining a fan £300 doesn't do anything."

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet credited the birth of his second child for helping him return to form after the worst shooting slump of his playoff career, as they levelled the Eastern Conference Finals with the Milwaukee Bucks.

VanVleet flew to Illinois on Monday to witness the birth of his son Fred Jr, before hurrying back to Toronto for the Raptors' 120-102 Game 4 victory over the Bucks, which tied the series at 2-2.

The 25-year-old went seven for 44 and three for 25 from three-point range since the start of the Conference semi-finals with the Philadelphia 76ers.

However, in Game 4 he went five for six shooting and nailed all of his three-point attempts as he, Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka added 48 points from the bench.

"It makes you tired," VanVleet said of the arrival of his second child. "It gives you a little perspective, I guess, on life.

"I had a lot of time to think. Had to sit at the hospital all day, had a lot of time to think, obviously a plane ride back.

"It just changes the way you're looking at things. You are not so down on yourself about everything."

The bench's performance took the strain off Kawhi Leonard, with Toronto able to level things up despite the former San Antonio Spurs star tallying just 19 points after racking up 36 in their Game 3 win.

"We know we have to be better," VanVleet added. "We see all the stuff. We understand what the narrative has turned into, that it is kind of 'Kawhi Leonard and The Backup Singers.'

"We understand that. Sometimes it has been like that, and there's other stuff that goes into that. There's give and take there. But we have to do the same s*** again in Game 5."

The Raptors are aiming to make the Finals for the first time in franchise history, with defending champions the Golden State Warriors awaiting the winner of the series.

Leonard said of the production his team-mates delivered: "It was big time. Everybody contributed, knocking down shots, playing great defense.

"[I] feel good. Keep going, keep fighting. We have a chance to make history."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains the "perfect match" for Manchester United and should be treated with patience at Old Trafford, according to Robin van Persie.

United appointed Solskjaer on an interim basis following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho in December and he lost just one of his first 17 matches at the helm, reigniting a push for a top-four finish in the Premier League and recovering from a 2-0 deficit against Paris Saint-Germain to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Norwegian was consequently handed a three-year contract but oversaw a dismal end to the campaign, winning just twice more as the Red Devils had to settle for a place in the Europa League next season.

Van Persie, part of the last United side to win the Premier League under Alex Ferguson in 2012-13, believes Solskjaer deserves more time due to his history with the club.

"I think it's the perfect match, it's just they're having a bad spell," Van Persie told BBC Sport.

"Back in the day it was normal for a manager to get time. Nowadays if you lose six games, you're out. Is that the solution? Give someone time, especially if it's a kid from the club.

"It's funny because when he started everyone was so positive, they were winning and they made a miracle by beating PSG.

"Everyone was screaming like, 'Give the guy a permanent deal'. And then since that permanent deal the luck went away a little bit; they've been losing more games than they want to.

"But he got a three-year deal and everyone should look at the bigger picture. His presence, the way he presents the club, is the proper way in my opinion. He's positive, he wants to achieve big things with the club and that is the only way forward.

"He's a man of the club, he played there for more than 10 years, he won the Champions League - actually his goal got them the Champions League [in 1998-99] - so he has a big part over the years at the club.

"He's been a coach of the reserves, he is Manchester United. Similar, in a different way, to Ferguson. He was Manchester United and Solskjaer is Manchester United as well.

"Everyone has that at a certain time. He had a fantastic first period - now the last 12 games have been tough. Okay, but next season they have to pick themselves up and go again."

The New York Yankees are on a roll in MLB, continuing their run of good form on Tuesday.

New York scored six runs in the first three innings and cruised to an easy 11-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

They have now won seven of their past eight games.

Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier went two for four with five RBIs in the victory while Gary Sanchez drove in four runs, including a first-inning homer.

Domingo German picked up the win for New York after allowing two earned runs over five innings. David Hale was credited with the save after he pitched four innings of one-run ball.

Stevie Wilkerson hit a three-run homer for the Orioles.

The Yankees and Orioles will play the third game of their four-game series on Wednesday.

 

Marvellous Marquez

German Marquez threw eight scoreless innings and struck out seven in the Colorado Rockies' 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Chad Wallach put the Marlins ahead with a double in the 11th inning. Miami held on to beat the Detroit Tigers 5-4.

Mets win despite Familia struggles

Mets reliever Jeurys Familia allowed two runs and recorded just one out against the Washington Nationals. New York, however, still managed to win 6-5.

Eric Thames was 0 for four with two strikeouts in the Milwaukee Brewers' 3-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

 

Soto, Trout go deep

The Nationals' Juan Soto hit a huge home run against the Mets.

Mike Trout did likewise for the Los Angeles Angels.

Tuesday's results

Oakland Athletics 5-3 Cleveland Indians
New York Yankees 11-4 Baltimore Orioles
Chicago Cubs 3-2 Philadelphia Phillies
Colorado Rockies 5-0 Pittsburgh Pirates
Toronto Blue Jays 10-3 Boston Red Sox
Miami Marlins 5-4 Detroit Tigers
New York Mets 6-5 Washington Nationals
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-3 Tampa Bay Rays
Cincinnati Reds 3-0 Milwaukee Brewers
Texas Rangers 5-3 Seattle Mariners
Houston Astros 5-1 Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres 3-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants 4-3 Atlanta Braves
Minnesota Twins 8-3 Los Angeles Angels

 

White Sox at Astros

Houston have defeated Chicago in the first two games of this series and have won 12 of their past 13 overall. The Astros will send Gerrit Cole (4-4, 3.56 ERA) to the mound while the White Sox will counter with Ivan Nova (2-4, 7.42 ERA).

The Toronto Raptors are putting together a quality run in the NBA playoffs.

Toronto's 120-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday tied the Eastern Conference Finals at 2-2.

Here are three takeaways from the Raptors' second consecutive win.

 

Toronto are learning not to rely on Kawhi Leonard

Leonard suffered an apparent leg injury in the Raptors' Game 3 victory and he lacked aggression in Game 4.

The Raptors star scored 19 points on six-of-13 shooting. Before Tuesday, he had not attempted fewer than 18 shots in the series against the Bucks. Leonard has only attempted fewer than 13 shots once in the postseason so far – against the Orlando Magic in the first round.

However, Milwaukee continued to double team Leonard, and his decoy role helped Toronto's bench explode for 48 points. The Raptors role players cannot be afraid to shoot the ball down the stretch if they want to advance to the NBA Finals, so this could be a blessing in disguise.

Kyle Lowry is in attack mode 

Lowry needs to assert himself early and often for the Raptors, and he did just that.

The point guard was the most important part of Toronto's offense, as he shot a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line and recorded a team-high 25 points.

When Lowry is scoring on all three levels and bringing his usual peskiness on the defensive end, he gives the Raptors their best chance to come out on top.

Milwaukee need to convert free throws

The Bucks lost by 18 points, and they left nine at the free-throw line.

Milwaukee only attempted one fewer free throw than the opposition, but shot an underwhelming 65.4 per cent to Toronto's 88.9.

Giannis Antetokounmpo missed four of his 10 attempts from the line, and he will likely shoot plenty more moving forward as the centerpiece of the Bucks' offense.

Getting back in Fiserv Forum could help Milwaukee's struggles, though.

Game 5 will take place in Milwaukee on Thursday.

The Toronto Raptors levelled the Eastern Conference Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

Toronto topped Milwaukee 120-102 to knot the series up at 2-2 and they got help from everywhere.

Six Raptors were double-digit scorers. Kyle Lowry led the way with 25 points while Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka were essential bench contributors.

Kawhi Leonard still showcased his authority in the paint despite battling an apparent leg injury. He was also able to lean on the support of his team-mates.

Toronto's bench outscored Milwaukee's 48-23.

Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo combined for 55 points on 62.5 per cent shooting for Milwaukee.

But six of the Bucks' players shot less than 40 per cent from the floor, which did not help Milwaukee's two All-Stars.

Toronto are out of the 0-2 hole they dug themselves to start the series. Now, they have a chance to win on the road in Milwaukee on Thursday.

The St Louis Blues are finally heading back to the Stanley Cup Finals.

St Louis closed out the San Jose Sharks with a 5-1 win in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals at the Enterprise Center on Tuesday.

David Perron put the Blues ahead early in the first period and Vladimir Tarasenko made the score 2-0 about 15 minutes later.

Dylan Gambrell cut the Sharks' deficit in half a little less than seven minutes into the second period.

But, Brayden Schenn answered with a goal of his own to extend St Louis' lead to 3-1 and they pulled away from there to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1970.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Blues and Boston Bruins is set for Monday.

 

Here are five facts to know about the Blues snapping their 49-year Stanley Cup Finals drought.

- St Louis last played in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1970 and they have never won a title. The Blues reached the championship round every year from 1968-70, but have never won a game and were swept in all three of those series.

- The Blues played the Bruins the last time they reached the Stanley Cup Finals. The team they will face this time around? The Bruins. Boston swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals.

- It seemed unlikely St Louis would even make the playoffs this season as the team were last in all of the NHL on January 2. However, the Blues turned it around and became just the 35th team in league history to reach the postseason after ranking last at any point after their 20th game, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

- 'Play Gloria' became the Blues' rallying cry in early January as the team began to work their way back into contention. St Louis fans will hope to hear it a few more times.

- St Louis were on the ropes in the Western Conference Finals as the Sharks held a 2-1 lead after the series' first three games. The Blues, however, won the next three matchups and outscored San Jose 12-2 during that time frame to advance. 

Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny blasted UEFA after Henrikh Mkhitaryan opted to miss the Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku.

Political tensions between Azerbaijan and Mkhitaryan's native Armenia will see the midfielder left out by head coach Unai Emery, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

Koscielny slammed the decision to play the final in Baku, which will host the decider on May 29.

"I am not very happy," the defender told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Firstly because we need to leave one player here, because he can't play in the final.

"I think UEFA needs to know about the different problems they can have with the politics in the country.

"When one country has a problem with another they should not give the final to that country.

"For us it is difficult because we want to have 'Micki' with us. He is an important player for us."

Mkhitaryan has played 11 games in the Europa League this season, providing three assists.

Vicente del Bosque defended the standard of Spanish football after LaLiga clubs missed out on European success.

Both European finals will be played between English clubs, with Liverpool and Tottenham meeting in the Champions League and Chelsea facing Arsenal in the Europa League decider.

But former Spain and Real Madrid coach Del Bosque defended Spanish clubs, pointing to their recent record in Europe.

Madrid or Barcelona have won the past five Champions League titles, while Atletico Madrid or Sevilla have claimed four of the previous five Europa Leagues.

"Well, if you saw the last 20 years, the Spanish clubs have won 50 per cent of the Champions League titles," Del Bosque said on Tuesday.

"Also, we've had very good performances of Sevilla and Atletico, who win the Europa League.

"Villarreal, Deportivo La Coruna and others contributed to a great hegemony of Spanish football during the past two decades."

Chelsea recruit Christian Pulisic is eager to reach the same heights as star Eden Hazard at the Premier League giants.

Pulisic, 20, agreed to a reported €64million move from Borussia Dortmund in January before finishing the season on loan at the Bundesliga club.

The United States international may get a chance to play alongside Hazard, although the Belgian star is linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

However, Pulisic said he wanted to match Hazard, who has helped Chelsea win two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, an EFL Cup and a Europa League.

"It is incredible to see what Eden can do. He is a guy to look up to and what I would love to become," he told the BBC.

"It is definitely a goal. Any player would be dumb not to want to be in the same team as him."

Chelsea, who face Arsenal in the Europa League final on May 29, finished third in the Premier League, but they were 25 points behind second-placed Liverpool.

But Pulisic believes his team can close the gap to Liverpool, and champions Manchester City.

"We are a confident group of guys," he said.

"Liverpool and City are two great teams who had great seasons but I have seen Chelsea compete against big teams and do well against them this season.

"We want to go in with a winning mentality and compete with them right away."

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant is not sure where he will be playing next season, according to his manager.

The 30-year-old, who is expected to become a free agent this offseason, has widely been linked to the Knicks and one rumour surfaced earlier this week that said he already had a handshake deal in place with New York.

But, Durant's manager, Rich Kleiman, said on Tuesday that was not the case.

"That is 100 per cent undecided," Kleiman said at the Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival.

"I'm waiting on Kevin. That's the truth. I think there's a feeling that this thing is like war games and everybody is playing chess years out. But, when somebody gets to the level of basketball that he's at, you can't juggle focus like that. There's so many things he's juggling. He's not scripting his future while he's playing the way he plays and practices the way he practices.

"I think it's frustrating, honestly, at times. But, I get it. I do get it … He really doesn't know and I really don't know."

Durant has not played since straining his calf in Golden State's Game 5 win over the Rockets in the second round.

The Warriors went on to close out Houston in six games before sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals.

"His health is good," Kleiman said. "When you have an injury that's real, and it's a real injury, for him, he's got to be Kevin Durant. He has about the highest pain threshold of someone I know, so, when he misses time, it's because the injury is real. It's a real injury and I hope we can see him next week, or two weeks from now."

The 10-time All-Star has won a pair of NBA titles, along with two Finals MVP awards, since he joined Golden State before 2016-17. He averaged 26 points and 6.4 rebounds for Golden State this season.

Golden State will play the winner of the series between the Bucks and Toronto Raptors for the championship. Milwaukee hold a 2-1 lead in that matchup heading into Game 4 on Tuesday.

Green Bay will have a new offense in 2019 and Aaron Rodgers is still trying to figure it out.

The Packers quarterback said on Tuesday the new formations are "different", but he was confident he can figure it out in the coming months.

"I've got to be honest, I don't know the whole offense yet," Rodgers told a news conference.

"I've been studying it but the difference between understanding it on paper and actually getting reps in it – the minicamp, those two days, and then the two days [of practice] that we've had so far is not a great sample size to tell you everything about the offense.

"It's going to be different. It's going to look different formationally and the motions and some of the things that we're doing. But I think it's an offense that I can infuse creativity and put my stamp on."

Green Bay brought in former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur after they fired Mike McCarthy last season. McCarthy had coached Rodgers since his rookie season in 2005.

LaFleur wants to be as hands on as possible to help his quarterbacks learn a new system.

"That's the approach that we're going to take right now," LaFleur said.

"It's hard for me to think too far in advance, but I just think that's what's the most beneficial at this stage."

LaFleur has also spent time with the Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons. He will call the plays for the Packers from day one.

Needless to say, Rodgers will likely need plenty of repetitions to warm up and make adjustments.

The two-time MVP has played limited preseason snaps in recent years, but acknowledged that could be subject to change soon.

"I think this is a year where I'm probably going to play more than 20 [preseason] snaps, I would assume," Rodgers said.

Rodgers struggled with a knee injury for the majority of last season, but he still threw for 4,442 yards and 25 touchdowns. However, the Packers finished the year 6-9-1 and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

John Beilein believes he has a great opportunity with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Beilein explained his decision to leave Michigan after 12 seasons to become the next coach of Cleveland at his introductory news conference on Tuesday.

"I left the greatest university in the world, a place that was special to [wife] Kathleen and I and our entire family to come to some place I think was equally as special," Beilein told reporters.

"I see a lot of the potential and the high, high ceiling with the Cavs organisation that I saw at the University of Michigan.

"I love the young roster. I love the draft picks and the potential we have for flexibility now and in the future. I texted Kathleen as we were interviewing a potential candidates at the combine and I just texted her, 'I love this'. I love being a part of this."

Beilein led the Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament nine times and reached the championship game twice during his time at the school.

But, he will take over a Cavaliers team that had much less success last season.

Cleveland were one of the worst teams in the NBA in 2018-19 and finished with a 19-63 record.

"Every single time that we've decided to do this, some people would say with every job, and probably with this one, 'What are you crazy? Why are you doing that?' And I say exactly that, opportunity and challenges go hand in hand," Beilein said.

"So, when we can be in these situations, it's so gratifying [to] turn a program [around].

"Rebuild is not a word we're going to use here, I saw it more as a renaissance. Look at all those banners up there. It's been done before. Why can't it be done again?"

The Cavaliers hold the fifth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

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