NBA

Bucks star Giannis lauds Jazz: They make it look easy

By Sports Desk February 13, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo was full of admiration for the Utah Jazz after his Milwaukee Bucks were on the end of a 129-115 loss to the Western Conference leaders. 

The Jazz improved to 21-5 as four players racked up 25 points or more for the first time in franchise history, with Rudy Gobert (27 points), Joe Ingles (27), Donovan Mitchell (26) and Jordan Clarkson (25) all hitting the mark. 

It represents a sixth win on the bounce for the impressive Jazz, whose 26-game record is the best in their history. 

For his part, Antetokounmpo contributed 29 points and 15 rebounds, but Milwaukee (16-10) slipped to back-to-back defeats. 

However, the 26-year-old insisted there was no shame in losing to the best team in the Western Conference, showering his opponents with praise in the process.

"It's okay, it's nothing to be upset about. It will be hard, especially when you play the best team in the West," Antetokounmpo said. 

"They're moving the ball, they're fighting, they play for one another, they know their role. 

"Whatever they do, they are doing it hard. 

"It just looks fun. Like when I watch them play, it looks fun, it looks easy, it looks simple. 

"For sure, they look like us last year, and man, when you're at that point and you're playing with that confidence, you're hard to beat for sure."

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    Hwang Hee-chan scored a stoppage-time winner to beat Portugal 2-1 and put South Korea through to the last 16 of the World Cup at the expense of Uruguay in a dramatic conclusion to Group H.

    The Taeguk Warriors appeared to be heading out as they looked set to draw while Uruguay led Ghana elsewhere, but Hwang netted at the end to complete an incredible turnaround.

    Ricardo Horta had put Portugal in front early on, but they failed to heed the warning posed by Kim Jin-su's disallowed goal soon after, with Kim Young-gwon deservedly getting South Korea back on level terms.

    Portugal – who won the group anyway – coasted through the second half and South Korea took full advantage, with Hwang landing the decisive blow to spark bedlam and send Uruguay packing.

    South Korea's feeble start suggested they were there for the taking, with Horta applying an easy finish to take a fifth-minute lead after Diogo Dalot breezed past Kim Jin-su and cut the ball back.

    Kim Jin-su scored what he thought was the equaliser 12 minutes later, tapping in on the rebound after Diogo Costa saved Cho Gue-sung's header, but it was ruled out for offside.

    Portugal's lead was wiped out before the half-hour, though.

    Ronaldo shied away from a corner delivery, which struck him, and Kim Young-gwon was on hand to steer home.

    Portugal's captain then missed completely missed his kick from close range early in the second half, the subsequent offside flag doing little to spare his blushes.

    A second half generally lacking quality appeared to be petering out.

    But then captain Son Heung-min darted towards the Portugal goal, awaited support, and calmly fed Hwang through a defender's legs, Hwang slamming past Costa to secure progress in astonishing fashion.

     

  • Flick must go after Germany's 'pathetic' World Cup exit, says Hamann Flick must go after Germany's 'pathetic' World Cup exit, says Hamann

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    The Netherlands would love to start playing well, but beating the United States and reaching a World Cup quarter-final is their primary focus.

    This has so far been an underwhelming tournament from the Oranje, although they still advanced top of Group A with two wins and a draw from their three matches.

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    Discounting penalty shoot-outs, Van Gaal is unbeaten in his 10 World Cup matches as a coach. Only Felipe Scolari (12) and Mario Zagallo (11) have enjoyed longer undefeated streaks to start their finals careers.

    The coach appears to have his players on board, as Marten de Roon said: "We are searching, that is clear. We hope it gets better, we all hope so.

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    "I don't mind becoming a world champion without having played a good match. The positive is that we haven't lost. That may also give us the confidence that it can only get better."

    The Dutch have reached at least the quarter-final in four of their last five appearances at the World Cup, exiting in the last 16 in 2006.

    Meanwhile, the United States have lost three of their four last-16 matches, winning only in 2002 against Mexico.

    They have only won one of five meetings with the Netherlands – all in friendlies – although that victory was in their last such clash in 2015.

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    Netherlands – Cody Gakpo

    All the talk going into the tournament was around one forward in Memphis Depay, but the Netherlands have a new star. Gakpo put Oranje 1-0 up in all three group games, with David Villa in 2010 the last player to open the scoring in four matches at a single World Cup.

    United States – Christian Pulisic

    Pulisic expects to be fit for this match despite his injury against Iran, and his return will be welcomed. The winger has scored twice as many goals (22) for the USMNT as any other player in Gregg Berhalter's squad.

    PREDICTION

    The Netherlands may not be playing well, but the supercomputer expects their winning habit to continue. They are 51.9 per cent favourites for this one.

    The United States have a 22.0 per cent chance, while a draw that would spell penalties has a 26.1 per cent likelihood.

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