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LA Clippers’ Paul George ‘trying to figure out’ how to manage toe injury

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LOS ANGELES — Paul George said the toe injury he has in his right foot has flared up again and that the LA Clippers are trying to figure out if it will linger the remainder of the season.

George returned on Thursday after missing two games with what was listed as right foot soreness. The Clippers’ All-Star guard shot 5-for-15 and had 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the Clippers’ 101-94 loss to the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.

“It is a day-to-day process, but I’m doing better,” George said after logging 31 minutes.

“We are trying to figure it out now,” George added when asked if this injury could linger this season. “Honestly, we’re trying to get on top of it now. Hasn’t seemed to go away yet. But at this point it is just managing the soreness and swelling.”

George missed seven consecutive games in mid-February because of what was diagnosed as a bone edema injury in his right toe. He said he had difficulty pushing off on the toe injury. He returned and played in 16 of his next 17 games before sitting out two games this week.

George was initially listed as out for the game against Denver on the injury report the day before. But the Clippers upgraded him to questionable on Thursday and he returned after going through his pregame warmup.

George said the injury has impacted his ability to finish on drives. He started off this season strong and was an All-Star. But the toe injury has limited his explosion.

“There really is no pop on the right foot, because I can’t really bend my toe and I had it flexing all the way on that second toe,” he said. “Just figuring it out. I got to figure it out. Most importantly, if I can play and playing with minimal pain, that is what I am going for. But we got to figure it out though.”

The Clippers (32-18) dropped their second straight game after winning six in a row. Like last season, the Clippers have had difficulty developing chemistry and continuity due to constant disruption from injuries, a lack of practice time and not enough consistent time together.

Patrick Beverley has not played in 11 straight games because of a knee injury. Serge Ibaka (back) missed his 10th consecutive game, and Rajon Rondo (adductor) hasn’t played since joining the Clippers in a trade last week.

The team has looked tired and out of sorts the past two games, which finished a stretch that saw it play six games in nine nights.

“I mean, it’s no pity party,” George said. “Nobody is going to feel sorry for us because we have guys out. We got to find the way to get the job done, and I think we have been doing that up until the last two games before we had some slippage.”

“Hopefully at some point we will have a full healthy team,” George added. “For us it is just building habits and creating an identity which you always want to do. As well as we have played this year, the identity of this team, we are still trying to solidify that. At some point we got to find who we are and stick to that as a team.”

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Gains sizable in NBA Finals ratings from last year, but fourth-lowest average since 1997

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NEW YORK — Television ratings for the NBA Finals and playoffs posted sizable increases over last year. But that was the only good news for the NBA as far as viewer numbers.

According to Nielsen, the NBA and ABC on Wednesday, the six-game series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns averaged 9.91 million viewers, a 32% increase over last year’s series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, which also went six games. However, the average makes it the fourth-lowest since 1997.

The Lakers-Heat series — which was played in October in the Orlando bubble after the coronavirus pandemic pushed the season back five months — averaged only 7.45 million.

San Antonio‘s 2007 four-game sweep of Cleveland (9.29 million) and the Spurs’ six-game victory over New Jersey in 2003 (9.83 million) are the other series to average fewer than 10 million since 1997.

The numbers were also down 34.5% compared to two years ago, when the TorontoGolden State series averaged 15.14 million.

Milwaukee’s 105-98 victory over Phoenix on Tuesday night attracted the most viewers in the series, averaging 12.52 million. The audience peaked between 11:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. EDT at 16.54 million. Only two games in the series averaged 10 million or more.

This year’s playoffs averaged 4.25 million, up 35% over last year but down 18% compared to 2019.

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Two shootings leave 3 wounded in Milwaukee during celebration of Bucks’ NBA championship

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MILWAUKEE — Two shootings in downtown Milwaukee early Wednesday as crowds celebrated the Milwaukee Bucks‘ first NBA championship in 50 years left three people wounded, police said.

The shootings both happened about 12:42 a.m. at two locations near Water Street, police said in a statement. TV station WISN had a reporter broadcasting from the scene when multiple shots were heard, prompting people to flee.

The shootings were across the Milwaukee River from Fiserv Forum, where the game was played, and the Deer District plaza, where a crowd of roughly 65,000 had gathered for an outdoor watch party. The area where the shootings took place is on a street heavily populated with bars and restaurants.

During Tuesday night’s game, a police officer was trampled by people trying to get into the Deer District watch party after the area had reached capacity, Milwaukee police Capt. Jesús Ortiz said in an email. The officer didn’t sustain any major injuries but reported being in general pain, Ortiz said.

Following one of the shootings, a 22-year-old man had non-life-threatening injuries, police said, and a suspect was in custody.

In the other shooting, which police said happened simultaneously, a 19-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man had non-life-threatening injuries. One person was in custody and other suspects were being sought, police said.

The two shootings, which were in the immediate area of the celebrations, likely were what was heard during the TV coverage, Ortiz said.

The celebrations came after Giannis Antetokounmpo capped one of the greatest NBA Finals ever with 50 points as Milwaukee beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 to win the series 4-2.

Fans who packed the streets surrounding the arena had cheered and danced all night as they watched the game on giant video screens, and the massive crowd erupted in jubilation as the game ended. A few fans climbed light poles in the plaza and others jumped off a bridge into the nearby river as fireworks exploded above the arena.

Joy Smith, 50, of Milwaukee, danced after the final buzzer. “Milwaukee is underrated, but we proved to the world we could do it,” she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Another fan, Sabrina Holland, 37, of Milwaukee, called it “epic.” She said: “Everyone who’s anyone is here.“

Before the game, and at the city’s request, Gov. Tony Evers mobilized 150 National Guard members to help in Milwaukee with traffic control and public safety.

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Sports world reacts to Milwaukee Bucks winning first NBA title since 1971

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The Milwaukee Bucks are the 2020-21 NBA champions and have snapped a 49-year title drought, the league’s fifth longest entering this season.

This ring proved to be hard-fought as Milwaukee is just the third team in Finals history to win four straight after trailing 2-0, joining the 2006 Miami Heat and 1977 Portland Trail Blazers. Giannis Antetokounmpo joined Bob Pettit as the only players in NBA history to score 50 points in a finals clincher.

As the franchise and fans celebrate their long-awaited championship, let’s relive some of the best social media moments from the Bucks’ title-clincher.

Antetokounmpo joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in Bucks history to be named Finals MVP. He and his teammates had several notable viewers excited to share their congratulations.




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