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Golden State Warriors suffer ‘humiliating’ 53-point loss to Toronto Raptors



The Golden State Warriors suffered one of the most “humiliating” losses in franchise history Friday night during a 53-point defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors — a team that came into the game having lost 13 of its last 14 games.

“You saw it,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the 130-77 loss. “We just got destroyed. Not a whole lot to be said. Humiliating for everybody involved.”

The Warriors, who trailed by as many as 61 points in the second half, set some dubious marks in a game where both Stephen Curry (tailbone soreness) and Draymond Green (left finger sprain) sat out.

The Raptors outscored the Warriors by 51 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, the largest point differential over a two-quarter span within a game in NBA history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The Warriors became the fourth team in the last 25 seasons to trail by at least 60 points in a game, according to ESPN Stats and Information. The Raptors’ 53-point margin of victory is also tied for the third largest in league history by a team that is 10 or more games below .500.

“I just think the game went south on us quickly and we got demoralized,” Kerr said. “I think without Steph and Draymond out there I think we were a little bit rudderless when things went south. We didn’t have the internal fight that we needed to kind of get over the hump.”

That was evident in a variety of different areas, but offensively, the stat that may be most jarring for the Warriors is the fact that they became the only team in the last 25 years to lose a game by at least 50 points and not score a fastbreak point. They only had one fastbreak attempt the whole game and missed it. It’s a huge reason why Kerr was so frustrated with his team’s lack of ball movement.

“Our team has been built on sharing the ball,” Kerr said. “When you move the ball in this game, that’s when the magic happens, when you build an energy, a karma, the shots tend to go in if you move the ball and you share it. And I just saw one possession after another tonight that was one pass and a shot. We’ve got to play for each other and I didn’t think we did that tonight.”

The Warriors, now 23-26, sit in 10th place in the Western Conference and have struggled all season to find consistency. Last week veteran Kevon Looney acknowledged that Curry and Green shared messages for their teammates about looking within and trying to play better. After Friday’s embarrassing performance, veteran Kent Bazemore said injured former All-Star Klay Thompson shared some frustrating thoughts with several teammates after the game.

“It’s a hard pill for them to swallow,” Bazemore said of the Warriors’ three core players. “We’re talking about — and Klay is back there as well, these guys [have] five straight Finals appearances. This is by any means not acceptable by them at all. This hurts them more than anything. Klay was fired up after the game. And this has been the toughest two years watching his guys out there, and him not being able to help. So I think it’s lit a fire up under him, and Steph and Draymond, they know how important they are to us.”

For Thompson, the loss was even tougher to watch given that he is currently rehabbing an Achilles injury that has forced him to miss his second straight season. Bazemore said Thompson’s message to a few teammates was simple in its point.

“He was just kind of going off about how he missed the game and how it’s just not acceptable to lose this way,” Bazemore said. “He’s fired up, man. It’s hard watching, regardless if you’re playing or not playing.”

The good news for the Warriors is that Curry is expected to be back on Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks. Green’s status remains unclear given that he was initially expected to play on Friday but after trying to warm up he told the coaching staff that he couldn’t catch the ball with his left hand because of the finger injury. Green told Kerr he could play, but the veteran coach made the decision for Green to sit.

As the Warriors wait for their stars to heal, they’ve got a looming issue with the young center they were hoping would help them this season. 20-year-old big man James Wiseman had another rough night against the Raptors, struggling on both ends of the floor, which has been an ongoing theme since the All-Star break. Kerr said that the Warriors would like to simplify parts of the game plan for Wiseman so that he could build his confidence back up.

“As a young player, a lot of guys try to do too much,” Kerr said. “I think that’s what’s happening with James right now. I think he’s such a gifted guy, and he’s always been able to do whatever he wanted on the floor, but the NBA, the game happens so fast that you just have to sort of strip it down to ‘let’s be good at the things that I can be good at right now and then my game will expand as we go forward.’ And that’s what we’re trying to share with James and teach him.

“But the only way to learn that is to feel it and he’s feeling it. So he will grow from here and we’ll stay positive with him, we’ll try to peel things back and keep things really simple and help him build his confidence over the last quarter of the season.”

As the Warriors hope to see more development down the stretch from the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft, they do so with a group that hit the low point of its season on Friday night. Kerr is hopeful that his team will bounce back after two straight defeats, but he also understands that each individual player has to find his own motivation to get things back on track before it’s too late.

“As a coach, you try to navigate the season with your team as best you can,” Kerr said. “So there’s times for humor, there’s times for joy, there’s times for serious discussion and soul searching. This is a time for soul searching for sure.”

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



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



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



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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