Record crowds at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix might have been welcome to organisers, but drivers on the Formula One grid have expressed concern on where it currently sits on the calendar.

Before a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Albert Park circuit traditionally hosted the first race of the season, since the Australian GP's move to Melbourne from Adelaide in 1996.

With pre-season testing in Bahrain leading into the season-opener at the Sakhir circuit for the 2021 and 2022 season, however, Melbourne's traditional status has been rendered impractical.

While the crowds underlined the appetite for F1 in the region, the drivers were cool on the Australian GP's scheduling as a standalone week, before the series continues in Italy.

"It works well at the moment because we are doing the winter testing in Bahrain, it makes sense to stay there," Red Bull's Sergio Perez said. "Just coming to Australia for a single race is quite painful for everyone.

"We all want to come here, but there are ways we can improve and in fairness to F1, Australia hasn't been on the calendar for the last [two] years. I'm sure that going forward they can have a look at it."

While Mercedes' George Russell said the previous scheduling at Albert Park was "cool", the back-to-back arrangement with Bahrain requires a rethink for Australia.

"I think Melbourne here as the season opener was really cool because everybody came up here early and there was a lot of excitement and anticipation," he said.

"But I think having Melbourne in between races, especially as a stand-alone is too tough for the teams and everybody."

Before the Australian GP moved to Melbourne, Adelaide traditionally held the final race of the Formula One calendar, circumventing these logistical issues.

If Bahrain was to retain the opening of the season, Russell believes pairing Melbourne with other Asian races is a possible solution.

"If it is geographically correct…we are happy for it to be at any point of the season," he said. "We obviously race very far east with Japan and Singapore, China obviously not this year, but it is on the calendar from next year onwards.

"I just think there is a better compromise to be had. I know there is a huge amount of limitations involved."

Whatever you think about the sporting merit of the introduction of the Play-In tournament to last year's NBA season, there is no doubt it made things more interesting for the neutral.

The Golden State Warriors were surprisingly eliminated after defeats to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Indiana Pacers were denied a playoff place by the Washington Wizards in 2021.

The format has returned for this season, and again, it promises to add all sorts of further intrigue to the playoff picture.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, the mini tournament will take place from April 12-16. The teams that finished seventh and eighth play one another to determine the seventh playoff seed from their respective conference, while the loser of that game gets a chance to secure the eighth seed when they host the winner of a game between the ninth and 10th seeds.

Therefore, the teams that finish seventh or eighth only need to win one game to advance to the playoffs, while those in ninth and 10th must win two.

Whoever clinches the seventh seed in the east will face the Boston Celtics in the playoffs, while the eighth seed will take on the Miami Heat. In the west, the seventh seed will go up against the Memphis Grizzlies, and the eighth seed will be paired with the Phoenix Suns.

With the regular season over after Sunday's final games, Stats Perform takes a look at the eight teams with one last chance to secure their place in the 2022 NBA playoffs.

Eastern Conference

Tuesday, April 12 – Brooklyn Nets (7th) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (8th) 

It has felt like a season of distractions in Brooklyn this season, be it James Harden's struggles, Kevin Durant's fitness or Kyrie Irving's vaccination status, and now the debut of Ben Simmons, which it seems may come in the playoffs, if they make it that is.

The Nets will be favourites, having won 12 of their last 17 and with Durant and Irving both in excellent form. KD is averaging 29.9 points per game (PPG), while Irving sits at 27.4.

The Cavaliers do not arrive in great form, losing eight of their last 11 games. Though they were victorious in their last outing against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, the Bucks rested their starters, and Jrue Holiday only started to earn a foul and trigger a financial clause in his contract.

Darius Garland will be key if Cleveland are to stand a chance at Barclays Center, with the 22-year-old averaging 21.7 PPG.

Brooklyn have won three of their four meetings this season, including a 118-107 win at Barclays on Friday.

The loser will host the winner of...

Wednesday, April 13 – Atlanta Hawks (9th) vs Charlotte Hornets (10th)

All eyes will be on Trae Young as the 23-year-old looks to drag the Hawks into the playoffs, though it will take two big performances, even by his high standards.

Young averages 28.4 PPG this season, the joint-fifth highest in the league along with Luka Doncic, as well as 9.7 assists per game.

Atlanta have won seven of their last nine, including a 130-114 success at the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

For Charlotte, they will look to trio Miles Bridges, LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier for inspiration, and have had a good end to the season themselves, winning 11 of their last 15.

They also beat the Hawks last month 116-106 in Charlotte, though each team has won two apiece of their four meetings through the campaign.

Western Conference:

Tuesday, April 12 – Minnesota Timberwolves (7th) vs Los Angeles Clippers (8th)

Despite the Timberwolves going into this one with home advantage, you would have to make the Clippers the favourites based on form and previous meetings.

Minnesota have lost six of their last 10, while the visitors arrive having won five of their last six.

The form of Karl-Anthony Towns, who is averaging 24.6 PPG this season, will be key for the hosts, as will that of Anthony Edwards, who scored a career-high 49 points in the recent win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Unsurprisingly, the Clippers have been a different prospect since the return of Paul George at the end of March, having lost eight of their previous 10 games before the 31-year-old came back, and winning six of seven since, albeit George only played in five of those games.

The Clippers have won three of their four meetings in the regular season, but the Timberwolves did win their last encounter in January. It should be noted that the team from Los Angeles won both games in Minnesota, though.

The loser will host the winner of...

Wednesday, April 13 – New Orleans Pelicans (9th) vs San Antonio Spurs (10th)

No team shows just how much the introduction of the Play-In tournament keeps seasons alive for a longer period than the Pelicans, who somehow have a shot at the postseason despite a disastrous start to their campaign.

Having lost 12 of their first 13 games, they are just two wins away from booking their place in the playoffs, and come into this one having won five of their last eight. 

Coach Willie Green will need CJ McCollum in top form, with the 30-year-old impressing since arriving from Portland earlier in the season, averaging 24.3 PPG since becoming a Pelican.

San Antonio recently won seven of eight games, but a slight wobble from the Spurs in the last few, losing their last three, may have thrown them off course at precisely the wrong time.

Like the Clippers, the Spurs could still be favourites despite being the away side, as they have won three of the four meetings between the two teams this season, including the most recent one in late March (107-103 in New Orleans).

New Zealand centre Anton Lienert-Brown will be out for around six months after undergoing shoulder surgery.

The midfielder was injured during the Chiefs' 25-0 Super Rugby Pacific defeat to the Blues on Saturday.

Lienert-Brown will go under the knife this week and is facing a long spell on the sidelines.

The Chiefs said: "It has been confirmed that Anton will require surgery on his shoulder that was injured last Saturday. He is expected to return to rugby after approximately 6 months.

"The Chiefs Rugby Club wish Anton all the best for a speedy recovery."

Lienert-Brown posted on Instagram: "Shoulder is going to need a bit more work than I was hoping, going under the knife this week which will put me out for 6 months.

"A bump in the road, but the journey continues. I'll be back. Appreciate all the support."

Lienert-Brown damaged the same shoulder during New Zealand's defeat to Ireland in Dublin last November, ruling him out of a loss to France. 

Keshav Maharaj claimed another seven-wicket haul as he ripped through Bangladesh to propel South Africa to a 332-run victory and 2-0 Test series win at St George's Park.

Left-arm spinner Maharaj bamboozled the Tigers to dismiss them for just 53 in the opener, picking up 7-32, and he repeated the trick in Port Elizabeth with figures of 7-40 in the second innings.

Simon Harmer (3-34) again provided capable support as the Proteas utilised just the two spinners to secure the series in 23.3 overs and move to second in the World Test Championship table.

The spin pair left Bangladesh reeling at 27-3 overnight and picked up where they left off on Monday but not before there was an international cricketing first. 

Khaya Zondo, who made his Test debut, and Glenton Stuurman replaced Sarel Erwee and Wiaan Mulder as COVID-19 substitutes – a first instance of the protocol being used in international cricket.

Once play started with the substitute duo on the field, Maharaj soon had both Mominul Haque (five) and Mushfiqur Rahim (one) caught.

Yasir Ali fell to a similar Harmer trap as he holed out to deep midwicket for nought, before Kyle Verreyne stumped top scorer Litton Das (27) to complete Maharaj's five-for.

Verreyne and Maharaj combined again to remove Mehidy Hasan Miraz for 20, caught behind on review, and the left-armer pinned Khaled Ahmed in front without scoring shortly after.

Harmer then trapped Taijul Islam for a duck three balls later to wrap up victory within an hour on the morning session of day four.

Magical Maharaj

Maharaj raced to a quickfire 84 in the first innings to go along with his two dismissals, but again the 32-year-old came alive in the second innings as he reached 150 dismissals in Test cricket.

He toyed with the Bangladesh batters' minds, uncertain whether the ball would spin or go straight on, as he collected another seven-wicket haul to take him to a series-leading 16 wickets overall.

Fierce Proteas tame Tigers

Bangladesh may not have collapsed for just 53 this time, but it was hardly better as the Tigers looked stunned by Maharaj and Harmer and they have now not beaten the Proteas in 14 red-ball attempts.

Meanwhile, South Africa have won five of their last six Tests, including their last three in a row for the first time since a three-game span between December 2018 to January 2019.

Thomas Tuchel says it will be "almost impossible" for Chelsea to avoid a Champions League exit but they must dream of fighting back to knock Real Madrid out.

A Karim Benzema consigned the holders to a 3-1 defeat in the first leg of the quarter-final tie at Stamford Bridge last week.

Chelsea responded to that loss by hammering Southampton 6-0 in the Premier League on Saturday, while Madrid stayed on course to be crowned LaLiga champions with a 2-0 victory over Getafe.

The Blues, who will be without injured record signing Romelu Lukaku due to an Achilles injury, have a mountain to climb at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday and Tuchel is realistic over their chances of progressing to the last four.

But the German expects his side to put up more of a fight than they did in London last week.

He said: "It's one of the biggest challenges to perform as an away team at the Bernabeu. If you have to win by at least two goals, it is very difficult, almost impossible. We need to overperform.

He added: "We never manage our input and effort by chances we have for a result, we never did and will not start tomorrow by giving less because it's very unlikely we will make it.

"It's unlikely, but we will try, we will play to our full limit. It's a big night and a big match and we wll try to be in better shape and in a better condition than in the first leg."

Tuchel says Chelsea must arrive in the Spanish capital with belief they can pull off a stunning comeback.

"We need nothing else than a fantastic script," he said. "The task is incredibly high after the first leg. You're always allowed to dream and sometimes it is important to imagine and dream about things, but it doesn't change the fact we need to be ready to deliver.

"We will try hard, it's worth trying. Hopefully we can fulfil our dream, but realistically we have to invest a lot."

Cesar Azpilicueta is available after testing negative for COVID-19, while Callum Hudson-Odoi remains sidelined with an Achilles injury and Ross Barkley is out due to illness.

Luka Doncic limped off the court during the Dallas Mavericks' 130-120 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, leaving him in doubt to start the Mavs' playoff series against the Utah Jazz.

The two-time All-Star left the court with 2:24 remaining in the third quarter, injuring his calf during an offensive possession. He quickly grabbed at his injured calf and asked for the Mavs bench to call a timeout.

The 23-year-old was originally suspended from playing Sunday's game, before the NBA rescinded his 16th technical foul of the season, which he received in Friday's win over the Portland Trailblazers.

Doncic was diagnosed with a left calf strain after leaving the court with Mavs director of athletic performance Casey Smith, and did not return to the game.

"We'll know more tomorrow," Mavs coach Jason Kidd said of Doncic post-game. "They were going to [get] their normal run the second half because it's a week [before the first game against Utah]. So we just felt we'd keep the regular rotation and they'd be done by the third quarter and go from there.

"I thought he was cramping up, but I haven't talked to Casey. Hopefully it's not too serious.

"But with that being said, injuries are a part of the game. We'll see how he feels. The good news is that we have won home court and we have a week before we play."

Before leaving the floor, Doncic had put up 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in just 29 minutes.

With the Golden State Warriors also defeating the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday and rendering the Mavs game inconsequential to playoff placings in the Western Conference, Jason Kidd's side still needed to hold up their end of the bargain.

On the prospect of the matchup with the Jazz, Kidd asserted it will not be an easy series, whether Doncic is on the floor or not.

"It's going to be interesting," he said. "They're well coached. They [have] got All-Stars, and they've been together for a while.

"They've been through a lot of playoff games together. This is going to be a great test for us. It should be a tough series."

Gary Neville says there are no guarantees Erik ten Hag will want to take over as Manchester United boss with the club having descended into a "farce".

Ajax head coach Ten Hag is reportedly the man United want to take over from interim boss Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season.

The Red Devils look set to miss out on qualifying for the Champions League next season, as they are seventh in the Premier League after a 1-0 defeat to struggling at Everton on Saturday.

United have not won a trophy since 2017 and are in need of a rebuilding job.

Neville took aim at the players after their latest insipid display and although the former United defender is hopeful they will get their man, he would not be surprised if Ten Hag decides the Old Trafford hotseat is not for him.

He said on the Gary Neville Podcast: "I've got very few words left for Manchester United. No anger, no comment anymore. They are a bit of a farce; you almost expect it from them. The players are taking Ralf Rangnick down with them. They are bad.

"They've got to get to the end of the season as quickly as possible. The reality is that any kind of performance in the last week against Leicester and Everton and they would have been in top four, but they haven't got the spirit or the fight.

"When I look at Manchester City and Liverpool, they have humble football players; no over-inflated egos, they understand their position, the team comes first. There isn't one Manchester United player that would get into any of those two teams, so why would you have an over-inflated ego, think you didn't have to work hard, or be spiritless? I don't see anything anymore."

He added: "I've read in the Sunday papers that Erik ten Hag wants all of his demands met or else he won't come to the club. Imagine if they can't get Ten Hag over the line because of what's happening at the moment, and how bad a state the club are in.

"If you look at what Manchester United are doing to players, there isn't one who has grown. Look at what they did to Donny van de Beek. If you're Ten Hag, I think you're on the phone to Van de Beek. What's it like there, Donny? He's not saying anything good, is he?

"I suspect Ten Hag's demands aren't financial, they will be about control, recruitment, structure, youth. I suspect he wants to come in and make sure he's not exposed to what other managers have been exposed to in these last 10 years.

"That might be too much for Manchester United, and I suspect it may be difficult week or two for the club. I still think they will get it over the line, but the reports this morning were that Ten Hag was placing demands on the club that maybe go above and beyond. We shouldn't believe everything but, ordinarily, when things come out from credible sources we normally know.

"Ralf Rangnick came with an incredible reputation, but he's now starting to be wounded by what's happening around him and he looks weaker and vulnerable on the touchline due to the performances of players on the pitch, who have nothing to do with him."

Frank Vogel said he has not been informed that he will be fired by the Los Angeles Lakers after his side ended a miserable season with a victory over the Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers beat the Nuggets 146-141 at Ball Arena on Sunday to finish the campaign with a 33-49 record.

Languishing down in 11th place in the Western Conference, Los Angeles missed out on the playoffs two years after Vogel masterminded an NBA title triumph.

Vogel will reportedly be sacked on Monday, but the 48-year-old says that is news to him.

He said: "I haven't been told s*** and I'm going to enjoy tonight's game, celebrate what these young guys did in terms of scratching and clawing and getting back in this game and getting a W, and we'll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow."

Malik Monk praised the way Vogel has gone about his business after top scoring with 41 points in the win over the Nuggets.

"He kept his cool the whole time," Monk said. "Didn't talk about no problems like that. Didn't talk about anything like that.

"He came in and worked and always gave us a great game plan ... He was always about us. It was never really about him. And I praise him for that.

"I know that was pretty hard on him, but he never talked about it. He never changed his demeanour."

A Bobby Dalbec solo home run propelled the Boston Red Sox to a 4-3 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday, avoiding a season-opening sweep against their fierce rivals.

Boston blew multi-run leads in the opening two games of the series and did so again on Sunday. This time, the Red Sox rallied back, with Dalbec homering off Yankees reliever Clarke Schmidt for his first of the season.

New York's Anthony Rizzo tied the game at three with a two-run single, scoring Yankees newcomers Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino.

Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton continued good starts to the season overall, with the former hitting and walking twice, while the latter getting three hits.

The Red Sox ended an eight-game regular-season losing streak against the Yankees, not including their win in last season's American League wild card game. The two do not face each other again until July.

Ramos starts off strong for the Giants

Heliot Ramos had two hits and scored a run in his major league debut as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Miami Marlins 3-2.

Ramos, the 19th pick in the 2017 draft, was called up from Triple-A ball before the game and was greeted with a standing ovation as he walked up to the plate.

He promptly singled and scored on a Mauricio Dubon RBI double, who scored the decisive run in the third inning after a throwing error by Miami pitcher Trevor Rogers.

Bregman and Urquidy lift Astros over the Angels

The Houston Astros continued their strong start to the MLB season, securing a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Alex Bregman and Jose Urquidy led the way for the Astros, with Bregman putting them ahead via a two-run single in the fifth, while Urquidy notched up four hits over five innings.

Reigning American League MVP Shohei Ohtani broke his one-for-14 start to the season, smashing a double that sent Tyler Wade to third base.

Sunday's results

Philadelphia Phillies 1-4 Oakland Athletics
Tampa Bay Rays 8-0 Baltimore Orioles
Detroit Tigers 1-10 Chicago White Sox
Atlanta Braves 3-6 Cincinnati Reds
Washington Nationals 4-2 New York Mets
Toronto Blue Jays 6-12 Texas Rangers
Kansas City Royals 3-17 Cleveland Guardians
Minnesota Twins 10-4 Seattle Mariners
Saint Louis Cardinals 4-9 Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs 4-5 Milwaukee Brewers
Colorado Rockies 9-4 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants 3-2 Miami Marlins
Los Angeles Angels 1-4 Houston Astros
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-10 San Diego Padres
New York Yankees 3-4 Boston Red Sox

Guardians at Royals

The Cleveland Guardians will be looking to gain momentum after their rout of Kansas City on Sunday, where rookie Steven Kwan managed five hits.

The final matchday of the Champions League quarter-finals has arrived, with Liverpool and Manchester City in touching distance of the last four.

The Premier League pair played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in what many billed as the title decider on Sunday, but their attention now turns back to Europe as they hunt yet more silverware.

Liverpool, if uncomfortable at times, managed a 3-1 victory at the Estadio da Luz, while City hold a slender 1-0 advantage heading to the Wanda Metropolitano against Atletico Madrid.

Here, Stats Perform unpacks the pick of the data from a decisive Wednesday in UEFA's flagship club competition.

Atletico Madrid v Manchester City: Simeone's side must end home hoodoo

City make their first ever trip to Atletico in European competition having won just three of their last 11 away games against Spanish side – though Pep Guardiola's team won their most recent visit to Real Madrid (2-1 in February 2020).

The Premier League leaders do so with a narrow 1-0 first-leg lead, thanks to Kevin De Bruyne, after Atletico lost the first away leg of a Champions League knockout tie for a fourth time.

Simeone's side, though, may take confidence from the fact they have progressed on two of the three previous occasions they have lost the first leg away from home.

But the reigning LaLiga champions will have to turn around their torrid home form in the competition if they are to do so, given they are winless in their last seven home games in Europe.

The compact setup that many branded as negative will also have to make way for Atletico to compete, after they failed to record a single shot in the first meeting at the Etihad Stadium.

The fewest attempts across two-leg Champions League knockout ties is four (Shakhtar Donetsk v Bayern Munich in 2014-15), since Opta began recording in 2003-04, while the only team to have failed to record a shot on target across two legs in this period was Deportivo La Coruna in the 2003-04 semi-finals against Porto.

Simeone will look to Antoine Griezmann to make the difference, with the forward one goal away from overtaking David Trezeguet (29) for the fourth-most strikes by a Frenchman in the competition.

Meanwhile, City will reach the landmark of 100 games in the Champions League, having won 55 of their first 99 – only Real Madrid have triumphed more in their first 100 matches (57).

Liverpool v Benfica: Formidable Reds lucky Portuguese omen

The omens will be good if Liverpool can progress past Benfica here, given they have gone on to win the competition on the last two occasions they have won both legs in a European Cup or Champions League knockout tie against the Portuguese side, doing so in 1977-78 and 1983-84.

The Reds have won each of their last five games against Portuguese sides in Europe's premier club competition, scoring 16 goals and only conceding three times. 

Indeed, they are unbeaten in nine games against teams from Portugal in the competition since Benfica won at Anfield in March 2006 (W7 D2), as they eye a third Champions League semi-final under Jurgen Klopp.

That is as many times as the Reds had managed to do so prior to Klopp taking charge (2004-05, 2006-07 and 2007-08, all under Rafa Benitez), with the German somewhat of a knockout specialist.

There is no denying Liverpool are heavy favourites; they have progressed from each of their last 12 ties in the Champions League knockout stages after winning the first leg, since a 2001-02 quarter-final loss to Bayer Leverkusen, who lost 1-0 in the first leg before winning 4-2 in the return meeting.

Central to Klopp's plan will be the seemingly out of form Mohamed Salah, whose next home goal will see him overtake Steven Gerrard (14) for the most goals by a Liverpool player at Anfield across the European Cup and Champions League.

While only two teams have ever won by more than one goal away to Liverpool in the latter stages of the competition, one of those occasions was Benfica in a 2-0 victory in the last-16 in 2005-06.

Darwin Nunes will be the key, with the forward scoring five times in nine European appearances this season – no player has ever netted more in a single Champions League campaign for the Primeira Liga side.

The Boston Celtics secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference following their 139-110 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night, the regular-season finale for both teams.

With the second seed in the Western Conference already secured, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins rested a number of starters including Ja Morant, Steven Adams, Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson Jr. Desmond Bane and Brandon Clarke were listed as questionable and while not ruled out, finished with DNPs.

Although the Celtics had a full complement in a game they needed to win, the weakened opposition did not cause tunnel vision, as they shared the ball to come up with 34 assists as a team.

Jayson Tatum came up with three of his own, along with 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting and nine rebounds to lead the way for the Celtics.

In an odd statistical quirk given the situation, the Grizz's John Konchar claimed the first triple-double of his career, finishing with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

Dubs find their groove to clinch third seed

The Golden State Warriors clinched the third seed in the Western Conference with their 128-107 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Klay Thompson made seven three-pointers and scored 41 points for the Warriors, who have impressively managed to close out the season without Stephen Curry on a five-game winning streak.

While Jordan Poole's 22 points off seven-of-16 shooting lightened the load, Jonathan Kuminga again scored a critical 18 points off the bench and gave the team important balance.

Doncic strains calf in Mavs win

Luka Doncic strained his left calf in the Dallas Mavericks' 130-120 win over the San Antonio Spurs, putting the Slovenian star's status in question for the playoffs.

The two-time All-Star would not have been eligible for what was ultimately a meaningless game – following the Warriors win - if the NBA did not rescind his 16th technical foul of the season, which he earned in the previous game against the Portland Trailblazers.

Doncic led Dallas with 26 points, nine assists and eight rebounds but sat the second half, with his ability to play against the Utah Jazz in the playoffs now in doubt.

Matisse Thybulle is ineligible for the third and fourth games of the Philadelphia 76ers upcoming playoff series with the Toronto Raptors, due to his vaccination status.

Following the Sixers' 118-106 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, Thybulle confirmed he has only received one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Canada has a Covid-19 vaccine mandate to enter the country and because of Thybulle's vaccination status, he is unable to enter the country and play any playoff games in Toronto.

"I'm not fully vaccinated," Thybulle said post-match. "I made this decision a while ago where this situation I'm facing right now was not a factor.

"It wasn't part of any of the decision making because at the time I would be available for my team and I would be available to play and not restricted in any way to do my job.

"Having had this stance I've had for almost a year now, I just felt like it couldn't be something I could be forced to do because of rules or regulation changes. And it just seemed like the right thing for me just to see it through. And unfortunately, the repercussions of that are going to mean missing games and not being there for my teammates."

The 25-year-old Australian was a member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2021 and is third for the 76ers this season in net rating, only behind Joel Embiid and James Harden.

Cameron Smith believes he will inevitably win The Masters, after his charge for the green jacket unravelled on Sunday.

The Australian went into the final round three strokes behind eventual winner Scottie Scheffler, and he was still in contention with seven holes remaining, before misfortune struck on the 12th hole.

Smith's weekend came undone from there, finishing the round with a one-over 73 and tied for third with Shane Lowry at five-under-par for the tournament.

After winning the Player's Championship in March, the world number six does not view the weekend and eventual faltering of his chances at Augusta National as a learning experience, holding the belief he will eventually put on golf's most coveted prize.

"I don't know really," Smith said. "I feel like I've played some of my best golf around here, it just hasn't quite been my time yet. A couple of lucky breaks here and there, and I'll be putting the green jacket on, I'm sure, one day.

"I feel really comfortable around this place. I feel like it's a place that really suits my game, and I look forward to coming back every year and playing good golf."

After birdieing the 11th hole, the world number six tried to capitalise on momentum and went straight for the pin on the notorious par-three 12th, a hole that leaves little margin of error for the aggressive.

Instead of heading for the safety of the middle of the green, Smith aimed for the narrow strip of green closer to the pin, only for Augusta's Amen Corner to claim another victim.

While his scuffed tee shot and triple bogey on the 12th might take all the headlines, consecutive bogeys after birdieing the opening two holes proved just as consequential, according to Smith.

"Just too many mistakes," he said. "I feel like maybe my two bogeys on the front nine weren't quite deserved – it kind of, I guess, halted my momentum a little bit. I got off to a really good start, birdieing the first two, and then two bogeys to follow that really slowed me down. A poor shot on 12, and there's the tournament.

"It was all fine, it was just a perfect nine iron, it was just a really bad swing. Probably one of the worst swings of the week, and at the worst time of the week. Just unfortunate, but I'll grow from this and be stronger for it."

 

Milan boss Stefano Pioli is sick of discussing who is the favourite to win the Scudetto after his side dropped points in a 0-0 draw against Torino.

It was not a strong performance for Milan going forward, finishing with 0.8 expected goals compared to Torino's 1.1, as both teams registered three shots on target.

The result leaves Milan two points clear of Inter and Napoli, while Inter have one game in hand.

Speaking with post-game media, Pioli said he is tired of overreacting to every "misstep" from the title contenders.

"It's been two or three weeks that all those who claim to be favourites have made missteps," he said.

"Our approach was to create difficulties for Torino – with a little more clarity, we could have been more dangerous. 

"It's not for me to give percentages, I never guess. 

"Three weeks ago, during the break, we were super-favourites. Then, Napoli was super-favourite, then Inter. 

"Until the last two days there will be great balance."

Touching on his side's performance against Torino, Pioli discussed the challenge that the 11th-placed side presents.

"It is quite evident that we have done everything to move and give them few points of reference," he said.

"We knew about the difficulties of the game – Toro creates difficulties for everyone in their defensive phase. 

"It is true that we have not created very clear scoring chances, but we created many [dangerous] situations. 

"It's a moment like this, we're not very precise, [but] I can't say anything to the team for spirit and application.

"We are missing that spark, and clearly it's a positive result, but we wanted a win."

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