The L.A. Clippers have named Ty Lue as the team’s head coach, the team announced on Tuesday. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a five-year deal.
The 43-year-old Lue served as an assistant coach under Doc Rivers for the Clippers during the 2019-20 season. As a head coach, Lue’s most significant moment is when he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title in 2016.
“The pieces we need are in place – committed ownership, smart management, and elite talent, on and off the court, in the NBA’s best market,” Lue said. “My familiarity with the organization, particularly Mr. Ballmer and Lawrence, confirmed this is where I want to be. We have work to do to become champions, but we have the motivation, the tools, and the support to get there. I’m excited to get started.”
During the 2015-16 season, Lue became the fourth head coach since 1980 to win an NBA Championship during his first year, and the 14th person to have won a title as a head coach and as a player. Over the next two seasons, he led the Cavaliers to two more Finals appearances, becoming the third head coach in NBA history to lead his team to three straight NBA Finals in his first three seasons.
Lue is right. The Clippers have everything in place to compete for a title, and just he did for Cleveland, Lue has an opportunity to put Los Angeles over the top. Now, the Clippers have to get everyone on the same page, which, according to reports, appeared to be an issue for this team. However, not many teams are as talented as the Clippers, so expect them to be one of the favorites again next season.
Former unified WBA and IBF super-bantamweight world champion, Danny “The Baby Face Assassin” Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs), is back in the gym and making it clear who he wants next, and that’s WBC super-bantamweight champion Luis Nery (31-0, 24 KOs).
“My last fight against (Juan Carlos) Payano was a WBC final eliminator and I am back in the gym with the goal of getting the green belt against Nery,” said Roman, who is promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions. “Since I started boxing, I have always wanted to win it and I’d like to make that a reality. I am more focused than ever as I wait for the opportunity to fight for WBC super-bantamweight title. I want to be a champion again and I will prepare harder than ever.”
“Daniel Roman can’t be written off at all, he has proven he is still at the top of his game,” said Alex Camponovo, general manager for Thompson Boxing. “Danny is making it clear that he wants the WBC strap and when he sets his mind on something, he finds a way to get it.”
“Daniel Roman is a consummate professional,” said Eddie Gonzalez, Roman’s manager and trainer. “He was right back in the gym after his win over Juan Carlos Payano and is more focused than ever. He wants Nery because he wants to win the green belt and I think that would be a great action-packed fight for the fans.”
“My desire to be a world champion once again is what’s fueling my hard work in the gym,” Roman concluded. “I know what I am capable of and I fought on the same night as Nery so we should both be ready at the same time. It makes sense and will be great fight for the fans.”
New York Giants head coach Joe Judge is going home on Thursday night. The Philadelphia area native will bring his Giants(1-5) into Lincoln Financial Field to battle the Eagles(1-4-1). This is not Judge’s first time coaching at the Linc. He coached in Philly as an assistant coach with the Patriots last season, but this time, Judge comes into Philadelphia as the head man.
Judge, who got his first victory as a head coach against Washington on Sunday, knows a lot about Philly fans and knows a lot about the rivalry between the Eagles and Giants, which he discussed on Monday.
“I’ll probably buy a helmet too because my in-laws are already buying batteries,” Judge playfully said on Monday. “To be honest with you, it’s not my first time going back to Philly as an opposing coach. It’s a great city. It has great, passionate fans. It’s an excellent team. It’s obviously a great rivalry. I grew up watching these games. They were always tough games, blue-collar type games, when the Eagles and the Giants were playing when I was growing up watching the games. Again, you’re so focused on the opponent; the emotion doesn’t really get tied into it. We just know we have a heck of a team we have to match up against.
This is a massive game for the Giants. At 1-5, New York has an excellent opportunity to make their move in the NFC East. Depending on what happens with the Cowboys on Monday night against Arizona, New York could be tied for first place in the NFC East with a win over Philadelphia.
One thing that could help the Giants on Thursday night is that Philadelphia will be without two of their best players on offense in Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz and RB Miles Sanders due to injury. However, according to Judge, Philly still has some capable players on the offensive side of the ball.
“I think they have enough weapons on all fronts to really prepare for with these guys,” Judge said. “Look, you don’t want to see any players get hurt, to be honest with you. You want to play teams when they’re at their best. That’s what competition is all about. We’re expecting (Alshon) Jeffery and (DeSean) Jackson to be back, and they’re going to give you a lot of trouble, along with all the other receivers they have already. They know how to use their receivers, their backs, and their tight ends all very well, so it doesn’t matter who’s in there. They’re all very capable.”
It should be interesting to see what Giants’ team shows up on Thursday. Still, in the end, a win against Philadelphia would give Judge a happy homecoming, and more importantly, could jumpstart New York’s season.
Who had Tae Crowder scoring the Giants’ first game-winning touchdown of the Joe Judge era?
Almost certainly, nobody. Crowder, after all, is a rookie linebacker who was the 255th and last player selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Not exactly a combination of credentials that would prompt thoughts of Crowder’s name appearing in the same sentence as “end zone.”
But on Sunday afternoon in MetLife Stadium, this year’s Mr. Irrelevant was anything but. An alert Crowder scooped up a fumble by Washington quarterback Kyle Allen and sprinted 43 yards to the…end zone. Crowder, who started his second consecutive game, scored the go-ahead points in what became a 20-19 victory against the Washington Football Team that gave the Giants their first victory after five straight losses.
“I wanted to dive on it bad,” Crowder said. “One of my goals was to help the team and I know if I could scoop it up and get in the end zone, it would help the team, and it was something we needed at the moment.”
Many players at the end of the seventh round soon recede into oblivion. But Crowder took pride in his status and with his title.
“I took it as motivation,” he said. “I love the name, I just wanted to get here, get to work with my team. One of my goals for this year was to help the team in any way I can.”
And that he did. The score was tied 13-13 and Washington faced a third-and-nine at the Giants’ 45 when Kyler Fackrell sacked Allen for an eight-yard loss and forced the ball out of his hands and to the ground. When Crowder first bent down to pick it up, he kicked it forward a few yards before securing it and starting his sprint to the goal line.
“I have to say big ups to my teammate Kyler Fackrell for making a big play, a strip-sack on the quarterback,” Crowder said. “I was in the right place at the right time.”
“I wish Tae would’ve bent his knees a little better and taken it cleaner off, but I’m glad the second time through he got it and finished it on out,” Judge said. “But it was a nice job of the guys putting pressure on it. We’ve been preaching for a while to keep the pressure on the quarterback and turnovers will come. They did today and Tae did a good job of finishing the play. We’ve just got to make sure we don’t kick that thing initially and give him an opportunity to get on that ball.”
Crowder is the first Giants rookie to score a defensive touchdown since cornerback Bruce Johnson’s 34-yard interception return at Dallas on Sept. 20, 2009. He scored the Giants’ first go-ahead defensive touchdown in the last four minutes of a fourth quarter or overtime since Oct. 31, 1999, when Michael Strahan scored on a 44-yard interception return in overtime to beat the Eagles in Philadelphia.
The Giants still had several anxious moments after Crowder’s touchdown. Washington took possession at its own 25 and converted two third downs on a 10-play drive that concluded with Allen’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Cam Sims with 36 seconds remaining. Coach Ron Rivera could have taken the safe route by kicking the extra point and sending the game into overtime.
But Rivera was going for broke – and the victory.
“I told them in the locker room, I said, ‘Guys, I play to win,’” said Rivera, who is aptly known as Riverboat Ron. “That’s a part of my philosophy. The only way to learn to win is to play to win, and that’s what I want those guys to understand, that’s the mentality. … The intent is to learn how to win football games.”
Good intentions, but poor execution. Dexter Lawrence and Blake Martinez pressured Allen into throwing an incomplete pass that landed in the end zone, nowhere near any of his teammates.
“I was actually expecting them to go for two,” Judge said. “They’ve been aggressive in a lot of situations this year, Ron’s always been aggressive as a head coach. You’re on the road, a lot of times that’s the decision you’re going to make right there. We knew they were going to treat those last couple series like they were their last series and they were going to try to get this thing all the way down and clock.
“I thought (defensive coordinator) Pat (Graham) made a great call on the two-point conversion. That’s actually a call we put in this week. I thought the guys matched it and played it very well. We got some pressure from the line. I saw the DB’s did a good job getting the initial coverage. They were trying to work (wide receiver Terry) McLaurin on kind of a hesitation and work out to the flat right there. I think it was (defensive back) Logan (Ryan) on him at that point right there and did a good job covering him. But it was a call Pat put in this week. The guys did a really good job working that on Friday, really improving on some things that we put on tape in practice that were mistakes, cleaned it up through Saturday, and, hey, practice execution becomes game reality.”
And that enabled the players to finally celebrate with Judge, who was doused in a postgame gathering.
“I gave him the game ball,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “He was quickly dumped with Gatorade. A lot of people played a part in that celebration. It was a good, it was a fun moment there after the game.”
“It was definitely special to see him get his first win,” cornerback James Bradberry said. “It was also my first win as a Giant, so that felt special as well. Of course, we might have poured a little water on a little bit just to celebrate. We were just happy to get the win. There was a lot of celebration going on in there. It was a happy moment.”
Judge was typically reluctant to make the story about himself.
“The locker room obviously had a lot of energy afterwards,” Judge said. “The guys were very happy. There’s been a lot of pressure that they’ve put on themselves and that we put on them. They’ve been fighting hard for six weeks and working through training camp for us. You hit this point right here and you just want to get the results. And I’m happy the fans were able to have it and I’m happy the players were able to enjoy it today.”
Bradberry’s interception of an Allen pass and 19-yard return set up Jones’ 23-yard first-quarter scoring pass to Darius Slayton, the Giants’ only offensive touchdown. It was Jones’ and the team’s first touchdown pass since Slayton caught two on opening night against Pittsburgh. Graham Gano kicked field goals of 33 and 20 yards.
Jones completed 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards, all career lows for a game in which he started. But he also ran for a career-high 74 yards, including a 49-yarder that was the longest run by a Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl era.
Washington scored on Allen passes of five yards to Logan Thomas and the 22-yarder to Sims, plus Dustin Hopkins field goals of 35 and 28 yards. The 70-yard drive that ended with Thomas’ touchdown was kept alive by Austin Johnson’s running into the kicker penalty on a Washington punt. That advanced the ball five yards and on fourth-and-four, Rivera characteristically chose to go for it. Washington picked up the first down on Dontrelle Inman’s 15-yard reception and scored four plays later.
But the game was decided by a two-point conversion try on which the Giants’ defense executed perfectly and flummoxed Washington’s offense.
“We finally got our win,” said defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who had one of the Giants’ three sacks. “We’ve been working hard and finally got to see some of the fruits of our labor. It was obviously an ugly win, though. We obviously wanted to do a lot better. There’s still some football out there that we have to clean up.”
This week, they can do that with smiles on their faces.
On Sunday, at Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles(1-4-1) started slow on offense against the Baltimore Ravens, but the offense finally came alive in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia would score 22 points in the quarter, and quarterback Carson Wentz would throw two touchdowns and run for another. However, with a chance to tie the game, Wentz and the Eagles failed on the two-point conversion, and Philadelphia would lose to Baltimore(5-1) 30-28.
Another player that came alive for the Eagles in the fourth quarter was WR Travis Fulgham. The second-year receiver had three catches for 38 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Also, Fulgham forced a pass interference call on Marcus Peters that ultimately set up the Eagles final touchdown. Fulgham led the Eagles with six receptions for 75 yards on Sunday.
“He’s a baller,” Wentz said about Fulgham after the game. “I said last week, I see it in practice. It’s good to just see these guys get their chance and make plays.”
Fulgham had his first 100-yard receiving game of his career last week against the Steelers and is establishing himself as Wentz’s go-to guy. In three games, Fulgham has 18 receptions for 284 yards and three receiving touchdowns.
“It means a lot that [Eagles QB] Carson [Wentz] trusts me now, and we continue to build on it,” Fulgham said. “I just wish I could’ve made more plays for the team, and we just need to do more to get the win.”
Wentz trusted Fulgham in the fourth quarter as he threw the ball up for grabs in the end zone on 4th & 9, and Fulgham went up and grabbed the ball out the air for the touchdown. After the game, Fulgham discussed what happened on the play.
“Wentz made a check at the line,” he said. “It was a great check. And he placed the ball at the right spot, floated it up, and let me get a chance to go up and get it.”
The Eagles are struggling right now, and injuries are a big reason for those struggles. Still, the good thing that has come from the injuries is young guys are getting an opportunity to play, and Fulgham is taking advantage of this opportunity.
When you are a team that does not have a lot of talent, you can’t beat yourself. On Sunday, at times, the Jacksonville Jaguars beat themselves, including their QB Gardner Minshew, who had two turnovers(interception, fumble), as the Jaguars fell to the Lions(2-3) 34-16 at TIAA Bank Field.
With the loss, the Jaguars(1-5) have now lost five straight games. As the losses mount, Minshew, who was 25/44 for 243 yards, with a touchdown and interception, is frustrated and looking for answers.
“There’s not a guy on this team that likes losing or even wants to tolerate losing,” Minshew said after the game. “We’re definitely frustrated. It feels like the same story each week. We are trying to figure out what our solution is, we got to start finding it, and the urgency should be at an all-time high. That being said, I believe we have the guys in our building to do it, so we’re just going to have to come back together; I know you all are sick of hearing it, but come back together, have a good week at practice, and just get ready to win one game at a time…
“Any time you play a game like that, and you just walk away feeling that you beat yourself, that’s super frustrating. Talk about a disciplined team that beat themselves, we feel like we beat ourselves today, and we just can’t do that.”
In addition to the turnovers, the Jaguars had a hard time stopping the Lions. Jacksonville allowed Detroit to rush for 180 yards, and coming into the game, the Jaguars were 26th against the rush and 30th in total defense. However, when asked if defensive coordinator Todd Walsh’s job was in jeopardy, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone had this to say.
“Yes. Yes, as long as I’m here and I’m the head coach, yes, he’s(Walsh) safe.”
When asked about own his status after a 1-5 start, Marrone said the following:
“Yeah, I mean, the realistic part is you never know when it’s going to stop,” he said. “I mean, I’m not going to be one of those guys to say that that’s not something that can happen. I mean, we see what happens around the league, so I acknowledge that. But at the same time, it’s something that I can’t control. So, and I’ve said it before; I really love the coaches we have, and I love the players that we have on this team. And I look at that sense of relationship that I have with them as to make sure that I’m coming in doing the best job I can to get everyone around me better for however long I maintain this position.”
No one expected the Jaguars to be very good this season, but there was some optimism after the Colts’ victory and the close loss to the Titans in the first two weeks of the season. However, at this point, it’s pretty clear that it will probably be a long season in Jacksonville.
We have a new king in the 135-pound division. On Saturday night, at the MGM Grand Conference Center, “The Takeover” Teofimo Lopez((16-0, 12 KOs) put on a masterful performance and defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko(14-2, 10 KOs) by unanimous decision. Lopez, and father/trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr., kept telling us for years that he was going to ‘Takeover” the 135-pound division, and he did it.
Lopez won on all three scorecards, 119-109, 118-110, and 116-112). goforitradio.com scored the fight 116-112 for Lopez. The Brooklyn native was in complete control in the first half of the fight, and in the later rounds, Lomachenko, who did not do much in the early rounds, started to pick up the pace. Lomachenko was scoring late in the fight, but Lopez won the 12th round emphatically and closed the show. With the victory, the 23-year-old Lopez becomes the youngest four-belt world champion.
“I had to dig deep, man,” Lopez said after the fight. “I’m thankful. I’m grateful. And each and every day, I take that in. I thank God first because I couldn’t do it without him.
“I’m a fighter. I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I didn’t know if they had him up on the scorecards or not, and I love to fight. I can bang, too. I don’t care, man. I’ll take one to give one. That’s what a true champion does. I find a way to win.”
For Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs), who is a three-weight world champion, this was a case of too little, too late. It appeared that Lomachenko was wary of Lopez’s power and really did not have much activity. While Lomachenko won a bunch of belts at 135, it’s not his best weight. He gets touched up a little more at 135, including being knocked down by Jorge Linares back in 2018. So, it should be interesting to see what he does next.
Regarding Lopez, he’s a star at this point, and the only thing left for him to do at 135, is to fight WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney, which would be a great fight to make in 2021. However, there are other big fights at 135, including fights with Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia. Lopez, who is a big 135-pounder, could even move up to 140. However, no matter what he does next, it’s clear, a star was born on Saturday night.
Photo: Top Rank Boxing/Mikey Williams
Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Titles against Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev at The O2 in London on Saturday December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all of its nine markets including the U.S., on a show promoted by Matchroom Boxing in association with Top Rank and Epic Sports and Entertainment.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) recaptured his belts and position as the Unified Heavyweight World Champion with a masterful unanimous decision victory over Andy Ruiz Jr at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia on an historical night in December that saw the Heavyweight World Titles contested for the very first time in the Middle East.
December 12 will be ‘AJ’s’ first fight on UK soil in over two years, since he defended his crowns with a devastating seventh round knockout of Russia’s Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, and the former Finchley ABC man will be aiming to deal with Pulev in style to set up an Undisputed showdown against WBC Champion and fellow Brit Tyson Fury in 2021.
Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), the IBF’s No.1-ranked Heavyweight Mandatory Challenger, gets his second shot at World honours after his defeat to modern legend Wladimir Klitschko in 2014 – the only loss of his 29-fight professional career. He has won six fights in a row since then, including victories over Derek Chisora and an IBF Eliminator win over Hughie Fury in 2018.
The Bulgarian superstar was set to challenge Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017 but was forced to withdraw through an injury and will now get his opportunity to ruin the champion’s plans to face Fury in an all-British blockbuster showdown in the future.
“December 12 is the date and once again the Heavyweight belts go up in the air and it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK,” said Joshua.
“The O2 is the original lion’s den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing. I am really hoping that, safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in, but we will have to see. I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev. I wish him well during his preparation.”
“For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the Heavyweight Titles is a great accomplishment,” said Pulev. “This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world! I’m coming to London to seize the Heavyweight Championship of the World.”
“After a challenging year for everyone, to end with the unified World Heavyweight Championship is very special,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Over a year after regaining his crown, Anthony Joshua takes on yet another dangerous opponent in Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev. AJ’s resume is unrivaled, and this is the final hurdle until we challenge for the undisputed crown next year.
“Whilst it’s unusual to think of an AJ fight without tens of thousands of fans in attendance, we will be doing everything we can to lobby for the safe return of fans to this event, we have to move forward together. I know Team Pulev and Bob Arum will be doing all they can to become World Champion on Dec 12 but AJ constantly evolves and improves and I expect a dominant performance and a spectacular KO to close out 2020.”
“Anthony Joshua returns to the ring, a year after recapturing his World Titles from Andy Ruiz Jr, and Britain’s Unified World Champion will be determined to reign supreme in a hotly-contested Heavyweight division,” said Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing Development.
“Kubrat Pulev has proven pedigree, with just that sole defeat to Wladimir Klitschko, and he’ll be hoping to send more shockwaves through the sport with an upset victory, but I know that AJ has been training tirelessly, priming his explosive power for another night of fireworks.
“Tyson Fury will of course be watching – as an Undisputed World Title fight is within touching distance – and AJ cannot afford a slip-up in a blockbuster ending to the boxing year.”
DAZN is currently available in the U.S., as well as Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland.