‘Nothing to recover’: Nadal dismisses doubts over foot injury

Rafael Nadal has played down concerns over the chronic foot issue that resurfaced in Rome last week as he prepares to launch his bid for a 14th French Open title.

The Spaniard limped to a third-round loss to Denis Shapovalov at the Italian Open, but practiced in front of thousands of fans at Roland Garros on Wednesday without any obvious discomfort.

“There is nothing to recover,” Nadal told reporters Friday. “What happened in Rome is something that happened very often in my practices.

“I was suffering after that for a couple of days, but I feel better. That’s why I’m here.”

Nadal began the year with a 20-match winning run, capturing a second Australian Open title to claim a record 21st Grand Slam and move ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

The 35-year-old then missed six weeks with a rib injury sustained during his run to the final in Indian Wells, where he suffered his first loss of the season to Taylor Fritz.

Nadal complained of a recurring foot problem in Rome, but he appears confident it can be managed in Paris.

“The pain is there always. It’s not going to disappear now. It’s about if the pain is high and strong enough to allow me to play with real chances or not,” he said.

“It’s something that I live every day with, so it’s nothing new for me and is not a big surprise.

“So I am here just to play tennis and to try to make the best result possible here in Roland Garros. And if I don’t believe that this thing can happen, probably I will not be here.”…

Everton storm back to avoid relegation

The Toffees saved themselves from relegation and secured another season in the Premier League, as they came back to beat the Eagles 3-2 at Goodison Park on Thursday. The victory puts Everton on 39 points, 16th in the Premier League table, four points clear of 18th-place Leeds United with one game left to play. Everton will be in the top flight of English football next season, for the 69th straight season (1954). Jean-Philippe Mateta put Crystal Palace ahead after 21 minutes, followed by the second from Jordan Ayew in the 36th. Michael Keane pulled a goal back for Everton not long after halftime, before Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewis each scored inside the final quarter-hour. Play was briefly halted after hundreds of Everton fans stormed the field at Goodison Park following Calvert-Lewin’s goal, in the 85th minute.

Everton vs Crystal Palace final score, stats, results

Final score: Everton 3, Crystal Palace 2

Goal scorers: Everton (Keane 54′, Richarlison 75′, Calvert-Lewin 85′), Crystal Palace (Mateta 21′, Ayew 36′)

Shots: Everton 12, Crystal Palace 7

Shots on target: Everton 6, Crystal Palace 5

Possession: Everton 43%, Crystal Palace 57%

3 things we learned – Everton vs Crystal Palace

1. Relegation battle down to two teams: Exhale, Everton fans, for you are safe from relegation. It’s now down to Burnley (35 points – GD -18) and Leeds (35 points – GD -38), as we head to Championship Sunday with oh so much still to play for.

2. Breaks go against Everton early: With precious little doubt, Ayew should have been sent off for a dangerous scissor tackle on Anthony Gordon in the 34th minute, thus he wouldn’t have been on the field to score his goal barely 45 seconds later. When you’re teetering on the edge of relegation, it’s hard not to see a moment and decision like that as anything but a bad omen. 3. Everton find joy after going direct: For 45 minutes, Everton were incredibly poor in possession (35 percent, while completing just 67 percent of their passing …

Celtics dominate Heat in Game 2 to tie series

It shouldn’t come as shocking, but the return of Marcus Smart and Al Horford paid dividends for the Celtics. Both players missed Game 1 of the series, with Smart dealing with a foot sprain and Horford in protocols. Their presence in this game was felt immediately, and they both made a big impact in the box score. Smart played 40 minutes, finishing with 24 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists, three steals, one block, and five triples. He started off slow with his shooting, but he was able to shoot 6-for-11 in the second half, including four of his triples. Smart’s control of the game helped Boston lower their turnovers from 16 in Game 1 to just nine in Game 2. Obviously the Defensive Player of the Year’s impact doesn’t always show up in the stat sheet (though it did in this game). He made even more plays that made a huge difference in the game that won’t appear in a box score. Horford has been a steady veteran for the Celtics all year, and that proved to be a factor in this game. He didn’t shine with his numbers (10/3/3/1/1 line on 4-for-4 FGs), but Horford did play a critical role in this game on both ends. We’ve seen him fill it up throughout the postseason, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see bigger numbers from him as the series progresses.

Derrick White missed this game due to the birth of his child (big congrats!), but Boston’s bench didn’t miss a beat. Grant Williams returned to a bench role, which didn’t slow his production in the slightest. He finished with 19 points on 5-for-7 shooting with two triples and four rebounds. He also finished as a +37, which was second on the team to Payton Pritchard, who finished as a +39. Pritchard finished with 10 points and two triples in 23 minutes.

Boston’s pair of star wings didn’t disappoint. Jayson Tatum finished with a 27/5/5 line with four triples, while shooting 8-for-13 from the floor. After turning it over seven …

Golden State Warriors Sail Past the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals

The Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks kicked off their Western Conference Finals series in San Francisco for Game 1 on Wednesday night and after a slow start, the Warriors were definitely the better team on the night.

The Warriors were not one of the favorites to come out of the West at the beginning of the season, but a hot start to their 2021-22 campaign ensured they returned to their status as one of the most feared teams as Steph Curry also found some of his MVP form.

Curry did not have his best shooting night against the Mavs, but finished with 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds as the Dubs cruised to a 112-97 win to take a 1-0 lead.

The Mavericks learned pretty quickly in this game that they will need to learn to defend space better as the Warriors are a much better 3-point shooting team than the Phoenix Suns.

Luka Doncic, who has almost single-handedly willed his team to this stage of the playoffs, had an off-night, ending Game 1 with 20 points (6-of-18 from the field) and seven rebounds. The Warriors held him to just 16.7 percent shooting on contested field-goal attempts – a career playoff low for the Slovenian.

Only one game separated the teams in the regular season, and it’s because of the Warriors’ 53-52 edge in wins — rather than the Mavericks’ 3-1 triumph in the season series — that Golden State has earned the home-court advantage in this best-of-seven series.

Mavs’ coach Jason Kidd will have a couple of days to figure out what adjustments he needs to make to get Doncic back in his groove, and to help his team (hopefully) steal a win at Golden State before heading back to Dallas.

The Sporting News tracked all of the action from Game 1.

Warriors vs. Mavericks score

Game 1 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Warriors 28 26 34 24 112
Mavericks 18 27 24 18 87

Warriors vs. Mavericks series schedule

Here is the full schedule for the …

Eintracht Frankfurt Win final Europa League in Penalties Shootout

Rafael Borre scored a 70th-minute equalizer and the shootout-sealing penalty kick as Eintracht Frankfurt won its first Europa League crown in 42 years on Wednesday in Seville, Spain.

The win means the 11th-place side in the Bundesliga is going to the UEFA Champions League group stage. The same honor is denied of Rangers.

Aaron Ramsey was the only player to miss his penalty, the Welsh midfielder not hitting the frame as Eintracht made all five of theirs after 120 minutes of play ended 1-1.

Rangers held the lead through Joe Aribo’s early second-half goal, but could not hold it for more than a dozen minutes.

Kevin Trapp made an incredible save deep in extra time to get the tie to penalty kicks, where no keeper was able to stop a penalty.

Eintracht Frankfurt won the Europa League for the first time since their triumph over Borussia Monchengladbach in the all-German 1979-80 final.

Eintracht most recently won the German Cup in 2017-18, while Rangers were runners-up in the 2007-08 UEFA Cup competition

NYCFC product James Sand was on the field for the losing effort, while fellow USMNT player Timothy Chandler was an unused sub for his long time club.

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Rangers final score, stats

Eintracht Frankfurt 1, Rangers 1 (Eintracht wins 5-4 in pens)

Scorers: Aribo (57′), Borre (69′)

Shot attempts: Eintracht 22, Rangers 14

Shots on target: Eintracht 4, Rangers 6

Possession: Eintracht 48, Rangers 52…

Reds survive early scare to keep Premier League title hopes alive

Man City made its move, and Liverpool responded in kind, ensuring the Premier League title race will come down to the final day of the season.

After City barely survived against Newcastle, needing a three-goal comeback to secure all three points, Liverpool also fell behind early but managed to grind out a victory on the season’s penultimate matchday. Now, with the Reds sitting a point adrift at the top of the table, the two teams will look to better the other’s result on Sunday.

Nathan Redmond put Southampton up early and put Liverpool’s title chase on life support with a deflected strike 13 minutes in. The hosts were dangerous in spurts, but had to fend off waves of high Liverpool pressure and attacking flow.

Liverpool found an equalizer through Takumi Minamino, making his first Premier League start for Liverpool after a loan spell at Southampton last season. Then, after halftime, the Reds broke the deadlock as Joel Matip looped an awkward but effective header into the back of the net off a corner.

Now, with Liverpool chasing an historic quadruple, Jurgen Klopp essentially has two finals to look forward to as the season comes to a close: one in the Premier League against Wolves and one in the Champions League against Real Madrid. The only wrinkle is Man City must slip for Liverpool to have a chance to claim them both.

Southampton vs. Liverpool final score

1H 2H Final
Southampton 1 0 1
Liverpool 1 1 2

Goals:
13th min — SOU — Nathan Redmond
27th min — LIV — Takumi Minamino
67th min — LIV — Joel Matip

Commentary:

FULL-TIME: Southampton 1-2 Liverpool

The Reds’ second-string lineup manages a come-from-behind victory and ensures the title race will come down to the final day of the season. It’s not exactly the ideal finish for Liverpool, but it’s enough for now.

Jurgen Klopp clearly prioritized the Champions League with his starting lineup, and the minimum job required was achieved. Southampton gave it a real go at times, troubling the Reds on …

Jimmy Butler scores 41 as Miami Heat take Game 1 from short-handed Boston Celtics

Jimmy Butler scored 41 points, and the Miami Heat turned things around with a huge third quarter on the way to beating the short-handed Boston Celtics 118-107 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night.

Tyler Herro scored 18 and Gabe Vincent added 17 for the Heat, who outscored Boston 39-14 in the third quarter. Butler had 17 alone in the third, outscoring the Celtics by himself over those 12 minutes.

Max Strus scored 11 and Bam Adebayo added 10 for Miami.

Jayson Tatum scored 29 for the Celtics, who were without starters Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (health and safety protocols). Jaylen Brown added 24 for Boston, which got 18 apiece from Robert Williams III and former Oregon Ducks star Payton Pritchard.

Game 2 is Thursday.

Boston led by 13 in the first half and took a 62-54 lead into halftime. Whatever Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said during intermission clearly worked.

A 22-2 run was how Miami started the second half, the run punctuated by steals that led to baskets on three consecutive possessions. Strus had one, the next two by Butler pushed the lead out to 76-64, and the Heat were off and running.

The lead reached 96-76 when Herro was fouled on a three-point try and made all three free throws early in the fourth.

Boston had a run left; a 10-0 spurt cut the deficit in half, and a three-pointer from Tatum made it a nine-point game — outcome still very much in doubt — with 7:35 left.

But the Heat had a response. PJ Tucker answered Tatum’s three with one of his own. Brown then connected from deep to get Boston within single digits again, only to have that one answered by a three from Strus.

Some of the plans that both sides had for Game 1 were thrown away about 3½ hours before game time, when the Celtics revealed that Smart and Horford wouldn’t be playing. Smart’s absence was somewhat expected because of a mid-foot sprain he suffered in Game …

Gunners beaten again in top-four collapse

The Magpies dealt perhaps the final blow to the Gunners’ top-four hopes with a 2-0 victory at St. James’ Park on Monday.

Arsenal’s (66 points) second defeat in five days sees them slip to 5th in the Premier League table, two points behind north London rivals Tottenham (68 points), with one game left to play. Arsenal will host relegation-battling Everton, with Tottenham visiting already-relegated, last-place Norwich City at the same time on Championship Sunday.

Newcastle (46 points), meanwhile, have jumped from 14th to 12th with the victory. A top-half finish is still on the table for the Magpies, who trail 9th- and 10th-place Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion (48 points each) by two.

Newcastle vs Arsenal final score, stats, results

Final score: Newcastle 2, Arsenal 0

Goal scorers: Newcastle (White 55′ – OG, Guimaraes 85′), Arsenal (None)

Shots: Newcastle 16, Arsenal 11

Shots on target: Newcastle 4, Arsenal 2

Possession: Newcastle 51%, Arsenal 49%

3 things we learned – Newcastle vs Arsenal

1. Occasion too big for Arsenal: Just as was the case in the north London derby on Thursday, the pressure of being favorites — the expectation, and the fear of “blowing it” — appeared far too much for this young Arsenal side, who were consistently nothing short of brilliant in the run-up to the run-in. But, on Monday, they were slow in thought and in action, timid in their approach, increasingly shorthanded in their numbers as the game wore on and, ultimately, second-best to a side that just a few months ago was a legitimate relegation candidate. With three games to go in the season, they held a four-point lead. With one game to go, they trail by two. Only a Tottenham loss to Norwich will give Arsenal a final shot at Champions League qualification.

2. Arteta’s project still right on schedule: Without any European football this season, Mikel Arteta was able to put all of his focus and energy into preparing for Premier League games for the whole week, rather than all of …

Disney debuts official trailer for ‘Rise’ movie on Giannis Antetokounmpo

Starring real-life brothers Uche Agada and Ral Agada as Giannis and Thanasis respectively, the Disney film follows the lives of the Antetokounmpos, an immigrant family from Nigeria struggling to make a life for themselves in Greece amid daily threats of deportation.

While Charles (Dayo Okeniyi) and Vera (Yetide Badaki) Antetokounmpo sail their family’s daily storms, Giannis and Thanasis would play basketball with a local team. The boys soon discover their great Basketball talents rising to world champions.

Production for the Akin Omotoso directed film kicked off last year with Disney announcing in October that Giannis would serve as executive producer for the Bernie Goldmann produced title.

I am thrilled and honored that Disney+ is bringing my family’s story to people all over the world,” the Milwaukee star said.

My hope is that it will inspire those in similar circumstances to keep the faith, stay true to their goals and not to give up on striving for a better life.”

The official synopsis for the trailer reads: “After emigrating to Greece from Nigeria, Vera and Charles Antetokounmpo struggled to survive and provide for their five children, while living under the daily threat of deportation.

With their oldest son still in Nigeria with relatives, the couple were desperate to obtain Greek citizenship but found themselves undermined by a system that blocked them at every turn.

When they weren’t selling items to tourists on the streets of Athens with the rest of the family, encouraged by their father, the brothers would sneak away to play basketball with a local youth team.

Latecomers to the sport, they discovered their great abilities on the basketball court and worked hard to become world class athletes. With the help of an agent, Giannis entered the NBA draft in 2013 in a long-shot prospect that would change not only his life but the life of his entire family.”

A two-time NBA MVP, Giannis is currently one of the most celebrated Basketball stars of the decade. In 2021, he led the Milwaukee to a championship.

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Iga Swiatek beats Azarenka at Italian Open for 25th straight win

Top-ranked Iga Swiatek was tested before pulling out a 6-4, 6-1 victory over former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka to reach the Italian Open quarterfinals on Thursday and extend her winning streak to 25 matches.

Azarenka took a 3-0 lead before Swiatek won five straight games in a grueling first set that lasted 1 hour, 20 minutes.

The defending champion in Rome, Swiatek is attempting to win her fifth straight tournament.

The last player to win more consecutive matches was Serena Williams, who had a streak of 27 in a row over 2014 and 2015.

Swiatek’s run makes her a favorite to win a second French Open when the year’s second Grand Slam gets underway in 10 days.

In a sign of how challenging it was for Swiatek to hold serve on the red clay court at the Foro Italico, she played more than twice as many points with her serve than Azarenka did — 98 to 47.…

Stan Wawrinka relishes ‘special’ challenge against Djokovic in Rome

Three-times major champion Stan Wawrinka said that playing Novak Djokovic is always special but added that he may not quite be ready to face a player of the world number one’s quality following his return from long-term injury.

The 37-year-old, who did not play for an entire year after undergoing two surgeries for a foot injury, battled past Laslo Dere 7-6(8) 3-6 6-4 to set up a 26th career meeting with Djokovic in the last-16 of the Italian Open on Thursday.

“It’s not the best prize, but it’s always special to play against him,” said Wawrinka, who has won his last two matches against the Serbian.

“I’m not where I want to be yet with my game, with my fitness level, with my mental (game). I need those matches, so to have a chance to play against the best player, it’s going to be really difficult for me, that’s for sure.”

Wawrinka’s victory over 14th seed Reilly Opelka in Rome earlier this week was his first in 15 months and the Swiss said he had a long way to go before regaining full fitness.

“I’m not ready to compete I think at that level, but it’s what I need. I need those challenges. I need to push myself as much as I can to keep improving.”

Djokovic, who defeated Aslan Karatsev in his opening match, is looking for his sixth title on the clay in Rome and first this season.…

Is Floyd Mayweather retired? Former champion steps back into ring for 2022 exhibition boxing fight

Floyd Mayweather has had a long and storied boxing career. He has beaten a who’s who of fighters over the years, and collected several titles across multiple weight classes. His professional career may be over, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t stepped in the ring every now and then.

Yes, Mayweather retired from boxing in 2017. Initially stepping away in 2015 after facing Andre Berto, he returned for a big payday against MMA star Conor McGregor. Mayweather reportedly made over $100 million for his final bout. The McGregor fight ended a long career which started in 1996 and titles in the super-featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and light-middleweight divisions. “Money’s” career record stands at 50-0. Since that bout, Mayweather has focused on his gentlemen’s club called Girl Collection, The Money Team Racing, and Mayweather Promotions. The latter he has used to work with some of the top boxing stars out there, including Gervonta Davis. Mayweather has also competed in exhibition bouts. In 2018, Mayweather fought kickboxing champion Tenshin Nasukawa at a RIZIN event. Mayweather knocked the young star down several times before beating him via TKO. The fight only lasted one round. In 2021, Mayweather returned, facing YouTuber Logan Paul in Miami. It was a non-scored bout that went the distance.

On May 14, Mayweather faces former sparring partner Don Moore in another exhibition bout. They will be fighting on the Burj Al Arab Hotel helipad in Dubai.It appears that Mayweather can do these type of events whenever he wants while earning a massive paycheck. Speaking with Fight Hype, Mayweather talked about remaining relevant in boxing and not paying attention to critics.

“I was able to leave boxing on my own terms and now the boxing critics are upset that I am still able to milk and finesse the sport of boxing by throwing exhibitions,” Mayweather said, via Mirror. “Sixteen minutes and I am able to get eight and nine figures from the fruits of my labor. Once again I am not hurting for my money, I am far from hurting …

Four for De Bruyne as Manchester City roll to Victory

Kevin De Bruyne scored his 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th goals of this Premier League season as Manchester City took its next steps toward another Premier League title with a 5-1 defeat of Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux on Wednesday.

Raheem Sterling set up one of De Bruyne’s goals and scored in the 84th minute. Two of De Bruyne’s goals were unassisted and Bernardo Silva set up another as City moved to 89 points, three more than Liverpool. City now has a seven-goal advantage in goal differential with two matches left for each side.

Leander Dendoncker briefly had the score 1-1 with his 11th-minute goal, but De Bruyne had his hat trick by the 23rd minute. His fourth came at the hour mark, and Sterling’s goal was cued up by Joao Cancelo.

Wolves’ hopes of seventh place aren’t very good after the draw. Bruno Lage’s men are five points back of West Ham United with two just two matches remaining for each club.

Wolves vs Man City final score, stats

Wolves 1, Man City 5

Scorers: De Bruyne (7′, 16′, 24, 80′), Dendoncker (11′), Sterling (84′)

Shot attempts: Wolves 6, Man City 11

Shots on goal: Wolves 3, Man City 4

Possession: Wolves 35, Man City 65

Three things we learned from Wolves vs Man City

1. Four points left (at most): Pep Guardiola’s been saying that City needs to win all of its game down the stretch in order to hold off Liverpool, but that’s no longer true. City can lay claim to its fourth title in five seasons if it takes four of six points available to them from Week 37 (West Ham away) and Week 38 at home (Aston Villa).

2. De Bruyne on fire: The 30-year-old Belgian brought his finishing boots and actually smashed the post in the 90th minute in a performance that could’ve given KDB as many goals as Sergio Aguero scored a few years ago. De Bruyne is up to 15 goals and seven assists this Premier League season. De Bruyne entered the …

Milwaukee stuns Boston late to steal Game 5 on road

It took all of 10 minutes for the Celtics’ playoff fortunes to change Wednesday night.

Boston led the Milwaukee Bucks by 14 points with 10 minutes remaining in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at TD Garden and appeared on its way to a 3-2 series lead.

The Bucks came storming back, however, outscoring Boston 33-14 down the stretch en route to a stunning 110-107 victory.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (40 points, 11 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (24 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) played key roles in Milwaukee’s comeback, while Bobby Portis’ put back layup with 11.4 seconds remaining proved to be the difference.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined to score 60 points (34 and 26, respectively) for Boston, while Marcus Smart added 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

Here are our takeaways from a defeat that puts the Celtics one loss from playoff elimination entering Game 6 in Milwaukee on Friday night.

Defense wins championships

The Celtics played well offensively for most of the night, but the Bucks put the clamps on Boston late to engineer their comeback.

Holiday in particular was a defensive menace, his signature play a block on Smart with 8.7 seconds remaining and his team up by one point.

Holiday then picked Smart’s pocket on Boston’s final possession to seal Milwaukee’s victory.

After committing five turnovers total over the first three quarters, the Celtics had five turnovers in the fourth quarter alone. Their offense looked stagnant, as Tatum settled for midrange jumpers and the team didn’t attempt a single 3-pointer.

Boston still misses Time Lord

If there’s one area where Milwaukee had the clear advantage in Game 5, it was on the offensive glass. The Bucks racked up 17 offensive rebounds to Boston’s five, none more important than the late put back by Portis, who had seven offensive boards.

Milwaukee also won the overall rebounding battle 49-36, taking advantage of Robert Williams’ absence to dominate in the paint.

The Celtics managed to win Game 4 without Williams and should have won without him Wednesday night. But …

Grizzlies rout Warriors to avoid elimination, force Game 6

The Memphis Grizzlies fought off elimination with the highest-scoring performance in their franchise’s postseason history.

And with All-Star guard Ja Morant cheering from the bench. Then Morant upped the ante by chanting “Grizz in seven!”

Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones each scored 21 points and the Grizzlies routed the Golden State Warriors 134-95 on Wednesday night to force a sixth game in their Western Conference semifinal.

“We’ve exceeded expectations ever since I’ve been here,” Bane said. “It almost seems whenever someone thinks we can’t do something, we end up doing it. So I never want to put a limit on this team on what we can do because anything’s possible.”

Dillon Brooks added 12 points for Memphis. Ziaire Williams and Brandon Clarke had 11 apiece and De’Anthony Melton 10. Steven Adams had 13 rebounds, six offensive as Memphis outscored Golden State 24-5 on second-chance points. The Grizzlies never trailed, turning in their best performance of this series to pull within 3-2 even with Morant out a second straight game because of a bone bruise in his right knee. They improved to 4-11 when facing elimination.

“We knew what was at stake,” Jackson said. “We didn’t change anything, though. We just calmed down, looked at the film, understand what we had to take away from the last game and just went out there and executed.”

Memphis scored 77 points in the first half, the most in franchise postseason history. The Grizzlies pushed their lead to 55 in the third quarter, threatening the three biggest postseason blowouts in NBA history. Their 52-point lead after three tied for the largest in a playoff game in the past 70 years.

“Obviously, this was a very impressive win for our group, great bounce-back for sure,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said.

When Memphis fans chanted “Whoop That Trick! Whoop That Trick!” early in the fourth, Stephen Curry laughed on the court while Draymond Green swung a towel in unison with the crowd. Green said he doesn’t respect people who only bring energy when …

Reds comeback to claim 3 points

Liverpool overcame an early hiccup to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park on Tuesday, going level on points with first-place Man City before the leaders play Wednesday.

A controversial opener saw Douglas Luiz put Villa in front after just three minutes, but the lead lasted less than that as Joel Matip bundled the Reds level in the sixth.

It was a cagey affair that looked like Liverpool could drop points for a second-straight match, but Sadio Mane scored in the 65th minute to get the Reds to 86 points.

Villa stays 11th with 43 points, one back of the top half of the table.

Liverpool’s goal differential is three behind Man City. Any hope of a Reds title would require City to either draw twice or lose at least once.

Aston Villa vs Liverpool final score, stats

Aston Villa 1, Liverpool 2

Scorers: Luiz (3′), Matip (6′), Mane (65′)

Shot attempts: Aston Villa 9, Liverpool 17

Shots on goal: Aston Villa 4, Liverpool 6

Possession: Aston Villa 379 Liverpool 61

Three things we learned from Aston Villa vs Liverpool

1. To the wire we go: The Premier League title race will certainly head into Week 38 thanks to the three points claimed by the Reds on Tuesday. Man City plays Wolves on Wednesday and will not be able to clinch the Premier League title even with a win there and a Week 37 win coupled with a Liverpool loss. Man City can, however, go up six points on Liverpool before the Reds meet Southampton for their 37th game, which won’t come until Tuesday, May 17.

2. Not a banner day for Jon Moss and crew: An early offside against Aston Villa went unspotted and a few moves later the ball was in Liverpool’s goal, unable to be reviewed because the initial chance/phase has gone. Then, on a much lesser note, Philippe Coutinho was clobbered by Fabinho on a Villa counterattack and referee Jon Moss was looking in the wrong direction while the assistant referee did not raise his flag …

Heat demolish Sixers to take 3-2 series edge

Jimmy Butler and the Heat move within a win of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals

Seven players scored in double figures for the Heat as Miami blasted the visiting Philadelphia 76ers, 120-85, to grab a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night, May 10 (Wednesday, May 11, Manila time).

Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 23 points for the Heat, but unlike losses in Games 3 and 4 when he was their only consistent source of offense, he had plenty of help.

Miami’s Max Strus produced his first double-double of the postseason with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Gabe Vincent added 15 points, while Victor Oladipo came off the bench for 13. Bam Adebayo (12), Tyler Herro (10) and PJ Tucker (10) also hit for double figures.

Butler added 9 rebounds and 6 assists while hitting 9-of-15 field goal attempts. Strus was 7-of-13 from the floor, including 4-of-10 from three-point range.

Joel Embiid scored 17 points to pace Philadelphia, while James Harden added 14 and Tobias Harris netted 12 points. However, the 76ers made just 36.5% of their field goal attempts and were outrebounded 46-36.

The Heat hit 53.6% from the field, including 13-of-33 (39.4%) from beyond the arc. The 76ers wound up 9-of-32 (28.1%) from long distance, with Georges Niang missing all six of his three-point attempts and finishing scoreless in 16 minutes.

Game 6 is Thursday night in Philadelphia, where the 76ers try to stave off elimination. The road team hasn’t won yet in the series.

Miami set an immediate tone, rattling off 12 straight points for a 21-10 lead at the 5:16 mark of the first quarter. Strus drained consecutive three-pointers to cap the run.

The Heat stretched the margin to 18 in the second quarter before settling for a 56-44 halftime lead. Butler had 14 first-half points to lead all scorers.

Miami pushed the advantage to 20 less than four minutes into the third quarter on Vincent’s three-point play.…

SUNS BLAST MAVS IN GAME 5, INCH CLOSER TO WEST FINALS

The Suns used a huge third quarter to turn a tight game into a comfortable win. Phoenix opened up the second half on an 11-4 run, highlighted by Booker’s two 3-pointers, for a 61-50 lead.

Mavs coach Jason Kidd called for a timeout, but it did little to stop the onslaught. The Suns led 82-60 going into the fourth with Booker pouring in 12 points during the third.

While the Suns were finally finding some offensive continuity, the Mavs completely lost theirs, scoring just four points in the first six minutes of the third. At times, the Dallas offense regressed to mostly watching Luka Dončić try and work magic, but he couldn’t do it all by himself.

The Mavs had 12 turnovers during the third quarter, finishing with 16. They also tallied just nine assists on the night, compared to 28 for Phoenix, which also out-rebounded Dallas 50-38.

The top-seeded Suns bounced back after dropping the previous two games and can win the series in Game 6 on Thursday in Dallas.

Dončić finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Jalen Brunson added 21 points. The Mavs shot just 38% from the field.

The Suns took a hard-fought 49-46 lead into halftime. Booker scored 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field. Dončić countered with 18 points, though it was a little less efficient after making seven of 16 shots.

The Mavericks led for a majority of the first half before Booker’s baseline jam tied it at 40-all with 3:47 before halftime. Mikal Bridges had a nifty steal and then scored on a fast-break layup for a 44-42 lead.…

Al Horford, Celtics outlast Bucks in exhausting Game 4 to even series

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart and Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo lay exhausted in the backcourt, their bodies entangled and their hands clasped together.

The fourth-quarter playoff action Monday night continued without two of the NBA’s hardest-working players, but they just couldn’t seem to summon the energy to help each other get back on their feet. When Boston’s Al Horford scored on the other end, a still-horizontal Antetokounmpo slumped his shoulders and rested his head on the hardwood. The way to beat the two-time MVP, who has taken his game to new heights this postseason, has been to outlast him when his teammates falter.

On a night when both teams struggled to shoot — continuing a series-long trend — the Celtics shook off a slow start and rallied from an 11-point third-quarter deficit to claim a 116-108 victory in Game 4 at Fiserv Forum. Horford helped pull Boston back from the brink with a playoff career-high 30 points, eight rebounds and three assists to even this slugfest of a second-round series at two games apiece.

“We all understood the importance of this game,” Horford said. “At the end of Game 3, we were in a position to win, and we didn’t. I was just locked in. I understood the moment and what we needed to do as a group. I did whatever it took. It was one of those types of nights.”

The 35-year-old Horford has long cultivated a reputation as a heady, steadying presence, but Monday he showed a rare electric streak. Shortly after halftime, Antetokounmpo dunked on Horford and received a technical for taunting. Horford answered early in the fourth quarter, throwing down a poster dunk of his own on Antetokounmpo that helped swing momentum in Boston’s favor.

“The way that [Antetokounmpo] was looking at me and going about it, it didn’t sit well with me,” Horford said. “Something switched with me.”

The veteran center followed up his dunk with a series of clutch jumpers, scoring 16 fourth-quarter points as Milwaukee stalled on the other end. Horford made …

Mavs drill 20 three-pointers in series-tying win over Suns

The Dallas Mavericks rained 20 three-pointers and again neutralized Phoenix point guard Chris Paul to beat the top-seeded Suns 111-101 on Sunday and knot their NBA playoff series at two games each. Star guard Luka Doncic scored 26 points and Dorian Finney-Smith added 24 for Dallas, who have won two games at home to level the best-of-seven Western Conference matchup after dropping the first two games in Phoenix. The Suns, who finished the regular season with the best record in the league, will try to regain the advantage when they host game five on Tuesday. It’s guaranteed to shift back to Dallas for game six on Thursday.

Overall, the Mavs were on fire from beyond the arc, their eight three-pointers in the first quarter helping them build a 37-25 lead.

Their 14 three-pointers in the first half tied a franchise playoff record for three-pointers in a half.

They led 68-56 at the break and even more ominously for Phoenix, veteran point guard Paul committed his fourth foul trying to make a tip-in with 1.1 seconds left before half-time.

Paul picked up his fifth foul early in the third quarter and headed to the bench. He returned with 10:28 left in the fourth and promptly fouled out thanks to a hand to the arm of Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson.

A dangerous team

Devin Booker led the Suns with 35 points. Jae Crowder added 15 and Deandre Ayton scored 14.

But the Mavericks bench out-scored the Phoenix reserves 36-26.

“This team was amazing,” said Doncic, who was outstanding but received little support in the Mavs’ two series-opening defeats. “Everybody that gets to the court leaves everything out there. If we play hard and we get stops, we’re a dangerous team.”

While Doncic struggled with his shots, he added 11 assists along with four rebounds. He also forced four steals as the Suns turned it over 17 times. While Phoenix managed to cut the deficit to four points with less than two minutes to play in the third quarter, the Mavericks repelled every …