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Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots 85%, scores 47 in rout of Portland Trail Blazers

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Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 47 points while missing just three shots as the Milwaukee Bucks snapped the Portland Trail Blazers‘ four-game winning streak with a 127-109 victory Friday night.

Jrue Holiday added 22 points and 10 assists for the Bucks, who led by 24 points during the third quarter.

The game featured two of the league’s best scorers: Damian Lillard was averaging 29.8 points, second in the NBA, while Antetokounmpo entered fifth with 28.3.

But Antetokounmpo had the hot hand Friday, making all 18 of his shots inside the 3-point arc. He ties Wilt Chamberlain for the most 2-point field goals made without a miss, according to ESPN’s Stats and Information.

An early 11-0 run helped the Bucks jump to a 19-7 lead. Milwaukee led by 14 points during the opening half, but the Blazers closed the gap to 60-53 before heading into the break.

Lillard’s 3-pointer got Portland within 60-58 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks wouldn’t let the Blazers get any closer. Holiday’s basket extended Milwaukee’s lead to 86-70, and the Bucks capped the quarter with an 11-1 run.

The Bucks dominated in the paint all night, and no one more so than the two-time MVP. Antetokounmpo outscored the Trail Blazers 47-46 from two-point range and the free-throw line, the first player ever to accomplish that feat, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Blazers bench struggled, going 0 for 16 from the field through the first three quarters. Anfernee Simons hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth to end the drought.

Milwaukee was coming off a 112-97 victory at the Lakers on Wednesday, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Blake Griffin debuts “McLovin”-themed Air Jordans

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Along the French Riviera in Monaco during the summer of 2019, Blake Griffin and the entire Jordan Brand roster of athletes, designers and execs gathered for their annual extravagant team trip, a longtime bonding tradition led by Michael Jordan.

Some 5,500 miles away from their usual Beaverton, Oregon, product meeting location, Griffin sat down with designers and had a few ideas that he wanted to see come to life on his “player exclusive” sneakers for the upcoming season.

He wanted a shoe inspired by one of his favorite movies.

Jordan color designer Kelsey Amy and the team got to work, creating a Hawaii driver’s license graphic based off the 2007 movie “Superbad” and the character Fogel’s iconic liquor store scene with a fake ID in hand.

Initially designed for the Air Jordan 34, while Griffin was still on the Detroit Pistons, the theme was carried over onto this year’s Air Jordan 35, after Griffin missed most of the 2019-20 season due to injury and was unable to break out the sneakers.

Styled in white and blue hues and originally made just for Griffin in his size 16, the tongue’s license details include his birthday, height, weight, hair and eye colors. The toe of each shoe is accented with “Chikka Chikka,” a line from the quirky Fogel character after he gets hold of the “McLovin” license. The address leads to Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena.

Of course, the updated ID doesn’t even have a first name, it just says “McGriffin.”

“They’re honestly so fly,” Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who played the Fogel/McLovin character, told ESPN. “My buddy sent them to me last night and I was stoked, but didn’t expect the internet world today to be this into it!”

Now with the Brooklyn Nets, Griffin debuted the shoes Wednesday night along with the team’s gradient fading blue Classic Edition jerseys in a home win against the San Antonio Spurs. He chipped in 13 points in 20 minutes, including a driving dunk.

“Superbad” co-writer and fellow co-star Seth Rogen, “Officer Michaels” in the movie, also caught wind of the themed sneakers.

“[It’s] super cool and flattering people are still into this movie and character almost 14 years later,” added Mintz-Plasse. “Plus the shoes are SICK. Not just a gimmick.”

Once the sneakers caught fire online, the brand and the original McLovin quickly got in touch.

“I got a pair comin’!” he said.



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Alex Rodriguez group to purchase Minnesota Timberwolves for $1.5 billion, sources say

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Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has reached a verbal agreement on a $1.5 billion sale of the team to former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and e-commerce mogul Marc Lore, sources told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

NBA approval of the deal was still pending, and neither side has publicly announced an agreement.

The two sides had entered an exclusive 30-day negotiating window April 10 that expired without an agreement, though the sides continued to negotiate in good faith, sources previously told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Taylor previously said a deal was contingent on Lore and Rodriguez keeping the team in Minnesota. The team has a lease at the Target Center through 2035, but the buyout is just $50 million.

Lore and Rodriguez are 50-50 partners. They tried to buy the New York Mets last year but were beaten out for the Major League Baseball club by hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.

Any sale of an NBA club must be approved by the league’s board of governors, which could come later Thursday. The Timberwolves would become the second NBA franchise sold this season. Gail Miller and her family struck an agreement in October to sell the Utah Jazz to Ryan Smith, a deal that was finalized after board of governors’ approval in December.

Taylor, 80, a lifelong Minnesotan who bought the Timberwolves in 1994 for $88 million to save them from moving to New Orleans, has said he will continue to run the club for two more seasons until a handover in 2023. The Minnesota Lynx WNBA team is included in the sale.

“They’ve asked that I would be there for any decisions that would need to be made. I would enjoy that. I love teaching people,” Taylor said an interview last month. “These are a couple of very bright guys, and I think it could be helpful to the club and I think I could be helpful to them so that they feel confident once they take over 100%.”

Lore and Rodriguez met with Timberwolves personnel and toured team facilities in Minneapolis last month.

Rodriguez, 45, hit 696 home runs over 22 major league seasons with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. His last season on the field was 2016, marking the end of career that was tainted by performance-enhancing drug use he later admitted to. Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating MLB policy.

Lore, 49, became Walmart’s e-commerce chief in 2016, when the retail giant bought his Jet.com startup in an attempt to boost online business. Lore notified Walmart on Jan. 31 of his intent to leave the company. He will continue to serve in a consulting role as a strategic adviser through September.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown undergoes wrist surgery, expected to resume activities in 3 months

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Boston Celtics All-Star guard Jaylen Brown underwent successful wrist surgery Wednesday and is expected to return to basketball activities in approximately three months, the team announced Thursday.

This timeline for Brown would have him ready to return to the court in time for training camp.

The Celtics announced Monday that Brown, who averaged a career-high 24.7 points on 48.4% shooting, had a torn scapholunate ligament in his left wrist and would miss the remainder of the season.

Boston is familiar with the procedure as guard Romeo Langford had it Sept. 22. Langford was ready to make his debut in mid-March before he contracted COVID-19 — about 5½ months after the surgery.

Brown’s injury adds to what has been a frustrating season for the Celtics, who are officially headed to the play-in tournament.

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