Last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince in a three-team deal with the Rockets and Nets that sent James Harden to Brooklyn. In the deal for Harden, Houston received forward Caris LeVert(sent to Indy for Victor Oladipo), forward Rodions Kurucs, three first round draft picks, and the rights to swap four first round draft picks from Brooklyn.
Obviously, for the Nets, it’s all about winning a championship right now. Brooklyn has a former MVP and a two-time NBA champion in Kevin Durant, another champion in Kyrie Irving, and now they have another former MVP in Harden. With the addition of Harden, the Nets are clearly one the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference and possibly win an NBA title.
Anytime you can get your hands on a player like Harden, you find ways to make it happen, and the Nets did just that.
According to both Allen and Prince, if they were the Nets’ general manager, they would have made the move, too.
“In all honesty, I would say I would do it. I’m not going to lie,” Allen said. “If you look at what happened with the Lakers, they did the same thing, and then the next year they went and got their ring. If I take myself out of it, I would love to stay in Brooklyn, but I understand that an opportunity like that, you have to go get it.
Prince added: “To be completely honest, yeah. You got James Harden, who is probably one of the best scorers we’ve seen in our generation. Same with Kev(Durant), Kyrie(Irving), great point guard he is. I probably would have done the same thing.”
It’s hard to argue with the deal from the standpoint of all parties. The Nets got a big piece for a title run, Houston gets an opportunity to retool with draft picks and players, and Cleveland gets a young center in Allen. So it’s clear, Allen and Prince might have an NBA front office job waiting for them when they retire. Maybe not, but it was a deal the Nets could not pass up.
Watch below as Allen and Prince talk Harden trade:
Unbeaten IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant will defend his title against former champion Caleb “Golden” Truax in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes Saturday, January 30 from Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
A rising superstar who first captured his 168-pound world title in January 2019, Plant makes his third world title defense live in primetime once again as he is opposed by the crafty veteran Truax, whose own super middleweight glory came in 2017 when he traveled overseas to dethrone James DeGale for the IBF belt. In the co-feature Michael Coffie and Darmani Rock clash in a 10-round battle of unbeaten heavyweights. Super welterweight sensation Joey Spencer takes on Isiah Seldon in an eight rounder to open the telecast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
The event will be promoted by TGB Promotions and Sweethands Promotions, in association with Warriors Boxing, and will take place without fans in attendance at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall, an AEG venue, in downtown Los Angeles.
The 28-year-old Plant (20-0, 12 KOs) has scored back-to-back stoppage victories on FOX in his two title defenses, beating then undefeated Mike Lee in July 2019 before most recently turning away Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz in a homecoming event last February in Nashville, Tennessee. The Ashland City native now lives and trains in Las Vegas and captured the title in a 2019 victory over Jose Uzcategui. Plant was the underdog coming into the Uzcategui fight, before turning the tables with two early knockdowns on his way to a unanimous decision. It was an emotional night for Plant, who had dedicated his championship victory to the memory of his late daughter Alia, who suffered from a rare disorder that caused seizures.
Truax, the highest-ranked IBF super middleweight contender, will be Plant’s second consecutive mandatory challenger as Feigenbutz was also the IBF mandatory challenger.
“I want to say I’m grateful to be making my 2021 debut on FOX. On January 30th I’m facing Caleb Truax who is going to be coming with everything he’s got, so I’ll be prepared to go to battle with everything that I got,’’ Plant said. “Everyone knows I’m on a mission to be the first undisputed super middleweight champion in boxing history. With that being said, fans can expect to see me at my absolute best. This fight ends in a knockout.”
Truax (31-4-2, 19 KOs) became a real-life Cinderella Man with his world championship-winning victory in December 2017. Truax was a 50-1 underdog when he traveled to DeGale’s native U.K. and overcame the odds by wresting the title away in one of the year’s biggest upsets. Truax dropped a narrow decision to DeGale in their 2018 rematch. A former college football player fighting out of Saint Michael, Minnesota, Truax has faced an impressive lineup of super middleweights and middleweights throughout his career, including DeGale, Anthony Dirrell, Peter Quillin and Daniel Jacobs.
“I’m hungry and I’m treating this like my last opportunity to win my title back,” Truax said. “I’m going in as the underdog, but I’ve been in that position before and I’ve beaten the odds.”
A Marine Corps veteran who picked up boxing after returning from overseas, Coffie (11-0, 8 KOs) quickly impressed in amateur tournaments enough to earn sparring assignments with Deontay Wilder and Adam Kownacki. The 34-year-old was born in the Bronx, but now fights out of Brooklyn. Coffie most recently improved his unbeaten record with a TKO victory over hardnosed veteran Joey Abell on FOX on Nov. 11.
“I think this is going to be a really good fight. We match up with our physical stature both height and weight. It should be a tough and gritty fight for the fans,” Coffie said. “My thought is that Rock is a good fighter. He has never been put in a position where he has had to dig deep. I feel like that I always have had to dig deep because I never had a huge amateur background. Every fight I have had to will myself. A win will be another step closer to fighting the fights that people want to see.’’
The unbeaten Rock (17-0, 12 KOs) is a hard-hitting 24-year-old from Philadelphia who is establishing himself as a force in the heavyweight division as he climbs the ladder into contention. Rock will have to scrape off some ring rust when he steps in against Coffie. He didn’t fight at all last year. His last fight was a stoppage victory over Maurenzo Smith on Oct. 19, 2019.
“The layoff might have a little impact on me, but I don’t think it will be a big problem. I just got to do what I got to do,’’ Rock said. “I don’t really know much about him. I know he looks strong. The main thing I have to do is get the feel back and listen to my corner and my Pop and follow instruction and have fun. I’m glad this is on Jan. 30, because I want to be as busy as possible this year and make up for that year layoff that I had and stay in shape.’’
The 20-year-old Spencer (11-0, 8 KOs) has made fast strides since turning pro in February 2017. The Linden, Michigan native kicked off 2020 in January with a six-round decision victory over Erik Spring and returned with a KO victory over Shawn West in August on FOX. Those two wins built on an impressive four-win 2019.
“I’m super excited to get back in the ring and kickoff 2021 with an explosive performance for my fans,’’ Spencer said. “I’m having an incredible training camp and I’m in the best shape of my life.’’
Seldon (14-3-1, 5 KOs), the son of former heavyweight champion contender Bruce Seldon, got a late start to boxing, turning pro when he was 22 years old in Atlantic City, N.J. under the tutelage of Bill Johnson, the same man who trained his father. The 32-year-old Seldon of Somers Point, N.J. is coming off an impressive second round KO victory over Darryl Bunting last March.
“I am excited for the opportunity. I have seen a lot of film on Spencer. He is a very good fighter with an excellent amateur background,’’ Seldon said. “I can’t wait until January 30th. I have a lot of time to prepare and have had a great training camp with Danny Davis. When this opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it, and I will put on a great performance on January 30th.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into New Orleans with a lot working against them. First, they were swept by the Saints this season and were outscored 72-26 in those games. Next, they had lost five straight to New Orleans, and finally, the Saints were 7-2 at home, including the playoffs this season.
However, the playoffs are a different animal, and we saw a different Buccaneers team out there against the Saints. The Buccaneers, who committed six turnovers against the Saints in 2020, protected the ball and ended the game with no turnovers, and they forced four Saints’ turnovers, which led to 21 points. They were able to run the ball effectively and finished the game with 127 yards on the ground, which was more than they had in two games against New Orleans.
Based on what happened in the regular season, some might have been surprised by Sunday’s outcome. According to Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, he was not surprised and expected the Buccaneers to beat the Saints in the Divisional Round.
“It boosts the confidence for sure, but we went there expecting to win,” Arians said on Monday. “It was not a shock to us that we won – we went there expecting to win. We’re such a different team than when we played back in November. Same thing – Green Bay’s a different team than we played back then, so those games don’t really matter anymore.”
Buccaneers DT Ndamukong Suh was happy that the team got another shot at the Saints this season.
“I think it’s definitely having the mindset of understanding that you kind of control your own destiny from a standpoint of how we got into the playoffs and how we finished off into the playoffs being the fifth seed and controlling our mindset in that aspect,” Suh said. “Then, knowing we needed to get on the road and take care of business against Washington and then see where the chips fell. That had us going back to New Orleans, which I was happy about from a standpoint [that] as a team, we needed to go out, challenge and beat [the Saints], which we were fortunate enough to do in a good fashion from the defensive side of the ball [by] getting so many turnovers.
“My intent is all about the keys for us continuing to play at a high level. I think for a young guy like [Devin White] to recognize that and see that as an important piece and knowing that we need to stay focused on that as well as executing, we should be in a good place going into this Packers game.”
The Buccaneers blew out the Packers 38-10 in Week 6. However, that game was in the regular season and played in Tampa Bay. The NFC Championship Game will be in Green Bay. Both of these teams are different now, and we’ll find out how different come Sunday.
After easily defeating the Hornets on the road last week, the Mavericks, who got Kristaps Porzingis back in the lineup, were on a four-game winning streak and riding high.
One week later, the team is shorthanded and struggling. On Monday night, Dallas lost their third straight game after falling to the Raptors on the road 116-93. The Mavericks and Raptors were tied at 47 at the break, but Toronto(5-8) would dominate the second half and outscore the Mavericks(6-7) 69-46.
The Mavericks, like a lot of NBA teams, are dealing with issues related to COVID-19. The Mavericks are still without Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Josh Richardson, who are all out due to the league’s health and safety protocols, and according to Porzingis, who had 23 points against the Raptors, Monday’s loss to Toronto just wasn’t the team’s night.
“It wasn’t our night,” he said. “We didn’t play the best basketball, coach(Rick Carlisle ejected in the first quarter) got kicked out because of some calls and stuff. That’s it. We move forward. We learn from this, and we get better.
As losses mount, Luka Doncic, who scored 16 points on 4/11 shooting against Toronto, just wants to find a way to get back to winning games.
“The mentality is we gotta win the game,” Doncic said. “I don’t like losing; it’s terrible. I just feel bad, and we don’t like (it). The four-game winning streak, everybody felt great. The locker room felt happy, so we gotta go back to that and just enjoy playing basketball.”
Dallas is in a stretch now of five games in seven nights, so that’s a lot of basketball, especially when you’re undermanned. The next two games(Indiana on Wednesday night and San Antonio on Friday night) on this three-game road trip won’t be easy, but as Doncic said, this team has to get back to that winning mentality.
Kevin Porter Jr.’s time with the Cleveland Cavaliers appears to be over after an outburst last Friday night.
According to The Athletic, Porter grew angry when he entered the locker room and realized the team gave his old locker to Taurean Prince, who was acquired in a trade Wednesday. Sources said Porter, whose locker was moved to the wall where the younger, end-of-bench players reside, began yelling and at one point threw food. General manager Koby Altman came into the locker room and confronted Porter, and the player remained combative with Altman, and now the Cavs are looking to trade or release the second-year player, according to the report.
The 20-year-old Porter, who was away from the team this season due to personal reasons, joined the team for the first time on Friday and was on the bench for Cleveland’s win over the Knicks.
Unfortunately, Porter has had his share of off the court issues this offseason, including being arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle back in November. Ultimately, the charge was dismissed.
Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who according to The Athletic, was “disgusted and shocked” by the incident, said Porter was not with the team after practice on Monday.
In the end, Bickerstaff felt the team did everything it could to help Porter have success in Cleveland.
“I genuinely believe that we did our best to make it work, so I can rest easy with that,” Bickerstaff said. “Again, all we want is the best for him moving forward. No matter what that looks like, we want the best for Kevin. Still, if there is still any opportunity, we’ll do what we can, and that’s the only thing that really matters is that he reaches his potential, and that’s the only thing that really matters to us.”
Porter, who was the 30th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, was acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade with Detroit on June 26, 2019. Porter played in 50 games (three starts) with the Cavaliers last season, averaging 10.0 points (12th among rookies), 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists (7th among rookies), and 0.92 steals (4th among rookies) in 23.2 minutes.
Porter has a lot of potential, but it’s clear he has some issues he needs to work through. Maybe Porter can get in a situation where he can get the support necessary to be better going forward. The Cavs appeared to have tried their best to help Porter, but now, we’ll see if Cleveland can find a taker for him.
Coming into Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans, the talk was about the quarterback battle between two all-time greats in Tom Brady and Drew Brees, but when it was over, the conversation was about the Buccaneers’ defense and running game.
The Buccaneers’ defense came up with four takeaways, including three interceptions, that led to 21 points, as the Buccaneers defeated the Saints(13-5) on the road 30-20 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. With the victory, Tampa Bay(13-5) advances to the NFC Championship Game and will travel to Green Bay to face the Packers next Sunday.
The Buccaneers were outscored 72-26 in their two losses to the Saints this season, including a 38-3 beatdown in November. However, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is not surprised by what happened on Sunday. He thought Tampa was a much better team than they were in November.
“It’s a different football team than that week,” Arians said. “I try to tell everybody that – nobody wants to believe me. This is what we’re capable of playing. Defensively, we’ve had some rough spots at times, but we’ve had some really, really good times. This was one of the best times.”
The running game was huge for Tampa Bay on Sunday. Leonard Fournette(107 total yards, one touchdown, including 63 yards on the ground) and Ronald Jones(63 yards rushing) combined for 126 yards rushing, which is more than they had in two games combined against the Saints in the regular season. Jones was bothered by quad and hand injuries all week, but according to Fournette, he encouraged Jones to fight through the pain.
“I’m telling Ro, excuse my language, but ‘[bleep] the injury,” Fournette said. “We need you, I’m not going to lie to you – we need you.’ I’ve been in these types of games. It’s funny – we have four good running backs – Ro came in fresh; I came in fresh. I said, ‘Man, understand this – you don’t get many chances to make it to the playoffs [and] to have the run that we’re on right now.’ I’m a living example. We (the Jacksonville Jaguars) went from the AFC Championship to the next two years not even making it to the playoffs. So big congrats to Ro for fighting through the injury – a hand and a quad.”
Brady, who went 18-of-33 for 199 yards and three total touchdowns on Sunday and recorded his 32nd postseason victory, which are the most playoff wins by any player in league history, is happy to be one of the final four teams.
“The defense was incredible all game,” Brady said. “The turnovers were huge. Last time we played them, we lost the turnover [margin], minus three. Today was plus four – you’re not going to lose many games when you’re plus four. Just a great effort – they came up huge. Offensively, made some plays when we needed to. The running game was great, the line protected great up front – just a great week of prep. Really proud of our team and everything we put in to get to this point. There’s only four teams left – we’re one of them. It’s tough to get to this point, so we need a big week [and] a great week of practice. We’ve got one of the best teams in the league, obviously, in Green Bay. [They are] the top seed, Aaron [Rodgers] is playing incredible [and] they’ve got a great defense, so it’s going to be a great matchup.”
Tampa Bay did what they needed to do on Sunday, and if they can put together one more big effort next Sunday against the Packers, Brady will have a chance to play for his seventh Super Bowl title, but defeating the Pack, who Tampa Bay beat in the regular season, will be a tougher challenge for this team. Let’s see if they are up for it!
The greatness of Luka Doncic was on full display on Sunday against the Bulls, at least in the first half. In that first half, Doncic was 11/19 with 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, marking the second-most points in any half (33 vs. GS, 11/20/19), and he became only the third player (James Harden, Allen Iverson) in the last 20 years to record 30+ points, 7+ rebounds and 5+ assists in the first half. However, Doncic and Mavericks trailed by 15 at the break.
In the second half, it was a much different story for the third-year guard. Doncic was 2/11 and scored only six points, and ultimately, the Mavericks would lose at home 117-101 to Chicago.
Doncic finished the game with 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 15 assists. He is the only player to record a 30-point, 15-rebound, 10-assist triple-double in the last calendar year and has achieved the feat on four occasions. This was Doncic’s 29th triple-double, which passed Michael Jordan (28) on the all-time triple-doubles list.
“The stats are spectacular, 36 (points)-16 (rebounds)-15 assists,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said about Doncic. “It’s phenomenal. But without a win, he won’t be happy with it either.”
After scoring 30 points in the first half, Doncic felt he played selfishly in the second half.
“That’s on me,” he said. “The second half I played terrible, and I think I was being selfish a little bit because I had 30 points in the first half, and that wasn’t me the second half. I got to do way better than that. That’s just on me. I shouldn’t be doing this…
“I was just taking some shots I shouldn’t be taking. I just got to do way better than this, and as a team, we got to step up, especially defensively, bring the energy. There are no fans in the building, so the energy doesn’t come from the fans now. So, we have to create our own energy and do that and try to win every game.”
The Mavericks were shorthanded against Chicago. They are without Maxi Kleber, Jalen Brunson, Josh Richardson, Dwight Powell, and Dorian Finney-Smith, who were out due to health and safety protocols. In addition, they were missing Tim Hardaway Jr.(Left groin strain).
However, according to Wes Iwundu, who had five points on Sunday, Dallas can’t make any excuses right now.
“We know we’re missing a few guys,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we’re all professionals here. I’m not going to be the one to give out any excuses at the end of the day. We have to go out there and win games. No matter if we have seven guys, four guys, just being sarcastic, but whatever our mindset should be to win games no matter what. It’s a little difficult not having a full team, but it’s just next man up, and you have to carry that mindset.”
Dallas starts a three-game road trip tomorrow as they travel to Tampa to battle the Raptors, and hopefully, they can get some of their guys back at some point during this trip.
On Sunday in New Orleans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, the Saints and Buccaneers will battle it out for the third time this season. Tampa Bay is 0-2 against the Saints this season and has been outscored 72-26. Overall, New Orleans has beaten the Buccaneers five straight times.
The two quarterbacks in this game have accomplished so much in the game of football. In a combined 41 years of NFL service, Tom Brady and Drew Brees have thrown for 176563 yards and 1263 touchdowns, with seven Super Bowl victories. Brady is number one in passing yards and touchdowns, while Brees is second in those categories. So, obviously, these guys have put in a lot of work.
Brady is 43, and Brees is 42, so there is a good chance that these two guys may never play against each other ever again. Brady, who is 2-5 against Brees all-time, has a lot of respect for the New Orleans Saints quarterback.
“He’s a lot younger than me – he’s 18 months younger than me. Eighteen months ago, I felt pretty good, so I’ve got a little advanced age on him – and experience,” Brady said this week. “I’m hanging in there. He’s had a terrific year. He’s a great player – I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve always had a great amount of respect for him going all the way back to his Purdue days. My roommate, when I first got to the Patriots, was from Purdue and was really good friends with Drew. I always just kept up with him and have gotten to know him somewhat well over the years. I just think so much of him as a person and as a player. I know what it takes to do what he’s doing [and] he knows what it takes to do what I’m doing. I think there’s just a lot of mutual respect.”
Turnovers have killed the Buccaneers against the Saints this season, and Brady has been the biggest culprit. He has thrown five interceptions against New Orleans, and according to him, turnovers could decide the outcome of Sunday’s game.
“It’s big for both teams,” Brady said. “Turnover margin – out of all of the stats – I think that one always speaks to wins and losses just about more than any other stat. Taking care of the football maximizes your ability to score. Taking the football away minimizes their ability to score. It’s very difficult to score if you don’t have the ball. If you give the ball away, it gives them more chances to score. When you play good teams, it always comes down to that. That’s a big point of emphasis – we’ve got to protect it in the passing game. That responsibility obviously falls on the quarterback, but it falls on a lot of other people too. It falls on all of us, making a concerted effort to be on the same page in the passing game so that we can play with anticipation [and] play with confidence.”
Brady’s worst moments this season have been against New Orleans, and quite frankly, Brady is going to have to protect the ball and be better if the Buccaneers want to beat the Saints on Sunday. If he is better, maybe the Buccaneers can finally beat the Saints. If not, we might see a repeat of the previous two games between these teams this season.
After being down early, the Dallas Mavericks fought hard to get back into the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night and put themselves in a great position to win the game.
Late in the fourth quarter, with the Mavericks down 109-107, Dallas’ Trey Burke missed a three, and after a Willie Cauley-Stein offensive rebound, Kristaps Porzingis had a good look at a three but missed it. Ultimately, the Bucks secured the rebound and would go on to defeat Dallas at home 112-109.
After Porzingis’ miss, Luka Doncic, who played well on Friday and had 28 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists, angrily motioned to the bench that the team should have taken a timeout in that sequence. However, Carlisle disagreed.
“Look, we got two good shots, and we preserved a timeout,” Carlisle said after the game. “As a coach, that’s all you can hope for in that situation.”
After further review, Carlisle was right. Dallas got two good looks in that sequence and had the Bucks’ defense scrambling. Maybe the 21-year-old Doncic thought he should have had the ball in his hands, which is hard to argue against, but Porzingis is a good shooter and had a good look.
This is all apart of Doncic’s development as a leader. Like many great players, he wants to take and make big shots, but as a leader, at some point, you have to move on, and it appeared Doncic stayed on the lack of timeout, maybe a little too long in that situation. After the game, Doncic said he did not talk to Carlisle about the timeout and said the following:
“If we talk, we’re going to talk, it’s not going to be in the media. It’s between us.”
In the end, it’s early in the season, so in the grand scheme of things, this situation probably won’t matter going forward.
Watch Doncic talk that final sequence below: