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Tonight, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks get the chance to close out the Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, thus far — and by far — the best series in this year’s postseason. In the Bucks’ stunning Game 5 comeback Wednesday in Boston, Antetokounmpo torched the league’s best defense for 40 points (16-of-27 from the field) and 11 rebounds, bringing his averages over the past three games to 38.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists with second-leading scorer Khris Middleton sidelined.
It was already clear who was the best basketball player in the world. This series is just a showcase for anyone who hasn’t been watching.
Last year, the Eastern Conference semifinals appeared to cement Kevin Durant’s claim to the status of being the best player on the planet. Even after Antetokounmpo put up 30 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Bucks over the Nets in Game 6 and followed with 40 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in the Game 7 overtime win in Brooklyn, the two-time NBA MVP declared Durant — who scored 48 points and hit an epic last-second shot in regulation while carrying the injury-ravaged Nets — was on another level.
“He’s the best player in the world,” Antetokounmpo said.
By: Ny Post
Carlos Carrasco’s gem, three homers propel Mets past Marlins
MIAMI — He’s one tough Cookie these days.
Carlos Carrasco isn’t going to win any contests blowing away hitters, but the right-hander’s offspeed pitches and command — and most importantly, his health — have converged this season to give the Mets an invaluable rotation piece.
On Saturday, he gave his team 7 ²/₃ shutout innings in a 4-0 victory over the Marlins at loanDepot park. Carrasco extended his scoreless streak over his past three starts to 18 ²/₃ innings.
The win was No. 100 in Carrasco’s career, making the 35-year-old the eighth Venezuelan-born pitcher to reach the milestone. Carrasco last surrendered a run on July 9 against the Marlins at Citi Field.
The Mets (63-37) won their fifth straight and reached the 100-game mark with the franchise’s most victories since 1986.
Overall, Carrasco allowed four hits and struck out seven with two walks. Seth Lugo replaced Carrasco in the eighth inning after Charles Leblanc had doubled with two outs. But Leblanc was picked off second base by Tomas Nido, ensuring Carrasco’s scoreless streak continued.
Lugo remained in the game to pitch a scoreless ninth inning, allowing Edwin Diaz a day off following a 10-pitch outing Friday in which he struck out the side.
The Mets will try for a three-game sweep of the reeling Marlins on Sunday with Taijuan Walker on the mound.
After scuffling at the plate for seven innings, the Mets gave Carrasco breathing room in the eighth when Francisco Lindor and J.D. Davis each blasted a solo homer to give the Mets a 4-0 lead. Davis’ homer, in a pinch-hitting appearance, came as the Mets are searching on the trade market for a right-handed bat to solidify the DH spot.
The Mets have traded for two lefty bats in the last week-plus to bolster the other half of the DH equation. One of those additions, Tyler Naquin, debuted for the Mets on Saturday in left field and went 0-for-4. Daniel Vogelbach started at DH and drew a walk in four plate appearances.
Carrasco’s gem was the latest strong performance by a Mets starting pitcher. Entering play, the Mets had a 2.45 ERA from the starting rotation in July, which ranked second in the major leagues. Chris Bassitt had a rare flat start for the Mets a night earlier, when he allowed four earned runs over six innings.
Jeff McNeil hit a solo homer in the third against rookie Nick Neidert to give the Mets their first run. The homer was the first since June 14 for McNeil, who entered the day with a .162/.240/.191 slash line in July.
The Mets weren’t finished in the inning: Nido, Brandon Nimmo and Lindor all singled. Lindor’s hit extended the Mets’ lead to 2-0 and gave the shortstop 68 RBIs for the season before he reached 69 with his blast later.
Carrasco was challenged in the first inning, when he allowed a single to Miguel Rojas and walk to Jesus Aguilar before retiring JJ Bleday for the final out. In the fourth, Carrasco surrendered a leadoff single, but he escaped the inning when he got Bleday to ground into a double-play.
By: Ny Post
Career NYC criminal tries to steal moped from NYPD station
A brazen career criminal with more than 50 arrests on his rap sheet, including rape, was busted for trying to steal a moped from outside a lower Manhattan police station.
Jon Matos was caught red-handed approaching the $1,200 bike outside the 5th Precinct, sources said.
He was allegedly using a set of burglary tools Friday to try to bust the lock of the bike, which was vouchered property, cops and sources said.
Matos, a homeless father of three, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of attempted grand larceny and possession of burglary tools.
The proceeding was delayed for hours, sources said, after Matos allegedly became angry with a cellmate who used the facilities — but didn’t courtesy flush.
“I was just f–king with it. It’s not my tools,” he allegedly told an NYPD detective, said Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Megan Mers during the court proceeding.
Judge Valentina Morales Saturday agreed to give Matos supervised release in the moped case.
“Thank you, your honor,” Matos told Morales.
But instead of hitting the streets once again, Matos was held on outstanding charges from the 23rd Precinct in an unrelated case, authorities said.
It was his second appearance before a judge in a week: Matos was in court days earlier, charged with grand larceny, petit larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property and was released in yet another incident.
Matos has racked up dozens of busts for burglary, robbery, fare evasion — including the 1999 rape of a 14-year-old girl.
Crime is up in six of the seven major crimes measured by the department contributed to the increase — though the seventh category, murders, dropped a noticeable 31.6% last month in comparison to numbers compiled in June 2021, according to the NYPD’s preliminary statistics.
Grand larceny spiked 41%, robbery rose 36.1% and burglary went up 33.8%.
When addressing the crime spike last month, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the department was arresting the same people for crimes “over and over again.”
Other recent and brazen repeat offenders include veteran shoplifter Isaac “Man of Steal” Rodriguez, who was finally locked up in January after dozens of arrests for stealing to support his drug habit.
Laron Mack, whose catchphrase is “I steal for a living,” has been arrested more than 50 times. Another serial stealer, James Connelly, was busted in December for involvement in 28 separate incidents over three months.
Last month, accused serial shoplifter Lorenzo McLucas, 34, was nabbed for stealing from the cosmetics counter at a Duane Reade on Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, according to cops and court documents.
McLucas, who was released on his own recognizance, has notched 122 prior arrests.
By: Ny Post
Nick Castellanos a sell at fantasy trade deadline
As your fantasy baseball league’s trade deadline approaches, it is important for you to do a full assessment of the players you are planning to ride all the way to a championship.
Is everyone pulling their weight, and if not, are you expecting them to turn it around in the second half? The only thing worse than drafting a top player who turns out to be a bust is holding that player while blindly hoping he turns it around, or buying low on that player and never seeing the proper return. Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos appears to be that player.
When the Phillies signed Castellanos to a five-year, $100 million contract back in March, expectations ran high, both in reality and fantasy baseball. The veteran slugger was coming off a career-best year, in which he batted .309 with 34 home runs, 100 RBIs and 95 runs scored for the Reds. He was leaving the friendly confines of Great American Ballpark, but he was still going to a hitter’s park in Philadelphia with a much stronger surrounding lineup. Unfortunately, he has failed to meet expectations thus far, and it doesn’t look good for a turnaround.
Through 98 games this season, Castellanos has a slash line of just .251/.295/.368 with just eight home runs and 47 RBIs. His walk rate is down, his strikeout rate is up, and his isolated power mark (ISO), which tracks extra-base hits and homers, is at .117, which is well below league average and the lowest of his career. A look into his batted-ball data paints an even more grim picture, as his barrel rate is down to just 7 percent thanks to an increasing number of ground balls he is mashing into the dirt.
When looking for a player to turn things around, you look for statistical anomalies in the data. Is his BABIP unusually low? If so, he could just be unlucky. What about his line drive rate? Sadly, though some of Castellanos’ numbers have dipped, there is nothing outlandish to indicate a turnaround. In fact, the numbers that are “off” are things like his chase rate (down almost seven points) and his batting average and slugging percentage against breaking balls.
It is very difficult to jettison a player of Castellanos’ stature after a bad first half, but he does not look like the same hitter we saw last year. Oftentimes, players need a year to readjust to their new surroundings, and it looks like he fits that mold. If you have him, trade him to someone who still believes. If you don’t, quietly reject those trades and continue down your own path.
By: Ny Post
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