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Miami Heat takes lead in NBA Eastern Conference final
07:20: The Miami Heat basketball players have taken the lead in the Eastern Conference finals in the NBA playoffs. Heat was too strong for the Boston Celtics 118-107 in its own FTX Arena in Florida.
The Miami team recorded fewer points in three of the four quarters and made the difference in the third quarter (39-14). The Celtics led 62-54 at the halfway point.
Jimmy Butler had an important part in Heat’s victory with 41 points. “MVP Butler did his thing. He took us in tow. During the series, we also need other guys to step up to help Jimmy,” said teammate Tyler Herro.
The second game of the best-of-seven series is also in Miami on Thursday, followed by two games in Boston. The winner of the Eastern Conference will face the winner of the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. In the west, the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors are in the final.
Miami Heat was also in the final in 2020. Then they lost 4-2 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Heat’s last NBA title was in 2013.
Liverpool have taken great pains to prevent Manchester City from (unofficially) calling themselves champions on Tuesday evening. The team of manager Jürgen Klopp recovered from a deficit (1-2 win) at Southampton, so that the exciting title battle in the Premier League will be decided in the last round on Sunday.
Nathan Redmond surprisingly gave Southampton the lead after thirteen minutes in St. Mary’s Stadium, giving Manchester City the virtual title. Fifteen minutes later Takumi Minamino equalized and Joël Matip ensured that Liverpool can still hope in the second half.
The gap between leaders Manchester City and Liverpool now consists of one point. The team of manager Pep Guardiola will receive Aston Villa, the current number fourteen in the Premier League, on Sunday. Liverpool close the season with a home game against number eight Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Due to the narrow victory at Southampton, Liverpool still has a chance at the so-called quadruple. Klopp’s team have already won the League Cup and FA Cup this season and Liverpool will face Real Madrid in the Champions League final next Saturday.
Relieved Liverpool players cheer after Joël Matip’s goal.
Liverpool recover from mediocre initial phase
Three days after the FA Cup final won against Chelsea (on penalties), Klopp was forced to leave several permanent players out of the selection against Southampton. Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah were not fit enough and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane also did not play at St Mary’s Stadium.
In the early stages, the battered Liverpool was just a shadow of the team that so often impressed this season and quickly fell behind. After a good intervention by defender Lyanco, Redmond was able to break out on the left. He was given plenty of time and space to dribble inside and shot through James Milner’s leg into the far corner.
Except for a disallowed header by Roberto Firmino, Liverpool had a lot of trouble getting through Southampton’s defense before half-time. The equalizer in the 27th minute came fairly out of nowhere. Diogo Jota chested the ball for Minamino, who shot flawlessly.
That goal gave Liverpool the necessary confidence, as Southampton was then completely pushed back into their own half. In the 67th minute, the visitors received a wage for their work. Matip beautifully headed in from a corner and ensured that Liverpool can still hope for the twentieth national title on Sunday.
Nottingham Forest against Huddersfield Town for PL ticket
Nottingham Forest reached the Championship play-off final for promotion to the Premier League. Sheffield United were defeated on penalties in Nottingham, where the euphoric supporters stormed the field.
Sheffield United forced an extension and penalty series at City Ground thanks to a 1-2 lead after regular time. The first meeting had ended in a 1-2 win for Nottingham Forest.
In the final of the play-offs on May 29 at Wembley, Nottingham Forest will face Huddersfield Town, which settled with Luton Town in the semi-final. The winner of the final is promoted to the Premier League.
Champion Fulham and number two Bournemouth secured direct promotion to the Premier League. Norwich City and Watford descend to the Championship. The third relegator is not yet known.
Nottingham Forest have not played in the Premier League this century. Huddersfield Town last played at the highest level in England in the 2018/2019 season.