Cavs’ Mitchell: ‘We can be good for a long time’

In the 2020-21 NBA season, the Utah Jazz had the best record in the league and was poised to make a deep playoff run. That season, Utah had three All-Stars, including star guard Donovan Mitchell. 

However, Utah fell short in the second round of the playoffs as they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in six games. That season may have given Mitchell his best opportunity to win an NBA title until now.

Earlier this month, the three-time All-Star was dealt to the Cavaliers. According to Mitchell, Cleveland, who had two All-Stars in Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland last season, and a player on the rise in Evan Mobley, has the most talent he has ever been around.

“You look at the youth we have, top three team before a lot of injuries,” Mitchell told goforitradio’s Paul Gant at Cavs’ Media Day. “I’m the oldest starter. That’s truly impressive. That’s no sleight to the team we had in Utah. We had a very talented team, but a lot of our guys were older. Mike(Conley) was older, Joe(Ingles) was older, Bojan(Bogdanović), Rudy(Gobert). Those guys were older. Now, you look at the guys here, 21, 22, 20, whatever it is. We have a lot of promise, but ultimately, we have to go out there and put the work in… If we do the right thing, which starts with camp, we can be in good shape.”

As Mitchell mentioned, Cleveland has youth, but more importantly, they have talented youth. Mitchell is only 26; the Cavs have a 22-year-old Garland, a 21-year-old Mobley, and a 24-year-old Allen, so this team can be good for a long time, and Mitchell agrees.

“We have a lot of talent; we can be good for a long time,” Mitchell said. “But, ultimately, we have to do what needs to be done… We have a group that wants to win, that wants to be good, that wants to compete. We have, not just myself, like I said, Ev(Mobley), DG(Garland), JA(Jarrett Allen), Caris LeVert, K-Love(Kevin Love); we just signed Dean Wade to an extension, who is a really big piece of what we do… We have a young, hungry group that wants to compete and wants to win.”

Things could be special in Cleveland for the next few seasons, and Mitchell could be the guy that leads the way. While Cavs President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman says it’s not “contention or bust” this season, the expectation is for the Cavs to be one of the top teams in the East and at least win a round in the playoffs.

Regarding this being the most talent Mitchell has been around in his career, those Jazz teams were talented, but if things develop in Cleveland like many think it will, this team has the potential to be more talented.

Listen to interview with Mitchell below:

Hurts, White named NFC Offensive & Defensive players of the month

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Devin White, and 49ers punter Mitch Wishnowsky are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Month for the month of September, the league announced Thursday.

This is the first Offensive Player of the Month award for Hurts. The third-year quarterback completed 66 of 98 pass attempts (67.3 percent) for an NFC-leading 916 yards with four touchdown passes for an NFC-best 106.5 rating over the league’s first three weeks, helping the Eagles begin 3-0 for the first time since 1998. In addition, Hurts also recorded 167 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in September, becoming the first player ever with at least 900 passing yards and 150 rushing yards in his team’s first three games of a season.

For White, who recorded 24 tackles, three sacks, two passes defensed and a forced fumble as part of a Buccaneers defense that led the NFL in scoring defense (nine points per game allowed) in September, this is also his first time receiving the award.

He is the only player in the league with at least 24 tackles and three sacks through the first three weeks of the season.

Wishnowsky averaged 46.8 yards on 13 punts (43.3 net), with a league-high six being placed inside of the 10-yard line.

This is the second Special Teams Player of the Month award for Wishnowsky, who earned the honor in September of the 2021 season.

Dirrell: ‘I’m not even really thinking about Caleb(Plant) and what he does honestly’

Former two-time super middleweight world champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell stated his clear intention to leave the ring with a victory when he takes on former super middleweight champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant in a WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator that serves as the co-main event of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on Saturday, October 15 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“I don’t care about Caleb Plant and I don’t care what he says,” said Dirrell. “If I go in there and fight up to my capabilities, I’ll come out victorious for sure. I’m doing this for myself. If you’re doing it for something other than yourself and your family, then you’re doing it wrong I think. I’m here to prove to myself that I still have it. I don’t care what people think or say. As long as I keep positivity in my circle, then I’ll be fine.”

Dirrell has conducted training with his longtime coach, the renowned SugarHill Steward, at their typical base camp at Delray Boxing in Delray Beach, Florida. As a fighter who has frequented the region throughout his career, he made sure to pass along his support for those in the state affected by Hurricane Ian.

“Luckily the area we’re staying in didn’t get hit that hard by Hurricane Ian,” said Dirrell. “So we’re alright thankfully, but I know others haven’t been as fortunate and I just hope everyone is staying as safe as possible.

“Camp has been good and I’m feeling healthy. We’re just working on what we need to work on to beat Caleb Plant. That’s it. We come up with game plans and stick to those game plans. If something isn’t working, we move to the next game plan. We’re just ready to fight.”

A native of Flint, Michigan, Dirrell will look to add a signature victory to his already storied career, against another fighter looking to regain their championship status in Plant. Although Dirrell fought on the undercard of Plant’s previous fight, an undisputed title bout loss to Canelo Alvarez, he has kept his focus on his own training instead of studying the bout.

“I’m not even really thinking about Caleb and what he does honestly,” said Dirrell. “I only saw Caleb’s fight against Canelo when I was at the arena. Bits and pieces of it. We know what Caleb does and we know what he brings to the table. All I worry about is what I can do as a fighter.”

Having twice captured the super middleweight championship, Dirrell will return to fight at Barclays Center for the second time. His first outing came in his first ever world title fight, as he fought Sakio Bika to a draw in 2013, before beating him in the rematch to win the WBC belt. Although he has fond memories of Brooklyn, Dirrell has maintained his laser focus on the task at hand on October 15.

“Brooklyn has always been good, but I’m just focused on the fight,” said Dirrell. “People get too caught up in circumstances and lose focus on what they have to do as fighters. I’m always going to go in there and be ‘The Dog.’”

As fight night nears, the veteran Dirrell knows that looking past a fight can have dire consequences. Even for a fighter who has admitted that he’s nearing the end of his career, he’s maintained his dedication to the day in and day out work that has helped him already accomplish so much.

“We’re going to have to see what happens in this fight,” said Dirrell. “I’m not worried about anything after this fight. That’s out of my control right now. What’s in my control is what’s happening in the gym every day.”

Photo: Gabe Gomez/TGB Promotions

Plant on Dirrell: ‘I feel like I’m living rent-free in his head’

Former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant held a media workout in Las Vegas Tuesday as he prepares to face 168-pound rival and two-time WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell in a WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on Saturday, October 15 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The pay-per-view telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and is headlined by the return of former WBC Heavyweight World Champion and boxing superstar Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder taking on top-rated Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius in a WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator.

Here is what Plant had to say Tuesday from DLX Boxing in Las Vegas:

On Anthony Dirrell:

“To me, Dirrell was the one who was tense at our press conference. He was getting frustrated and getting loud and couldn’t think of anything to say. What I took away is that I’m on his mind. I feel like I’m living rent-free in his head. He knows he has a top-quality opponent in front of him and someone he can’t mess with. I don’t know where his head’s at, but I know where mine is and I’m ready to rock.

Photos: Team Plant

On camp and training with Stephen Edwards:

“I’m feeling really good. We’ve been having a great training camp with excellent sparring. It’s been a little bit since I’ve been in the ring, so I’m just excited for the buildup.

“Me and my dad (Richie Plant) brought in a great trainer in ‘Breadman’. I’m just doing a crazy amount of work in the gym sparring top guys. I’m fully-prepared and ready to roll.

“Regardless of who it is in the ring, it’s just somebody who’s in the way of my goals and what I set out to do. If you’re in my way, I take that personally. I’m not just disciplined during camp, I’m working like this year-round.

On making a statement against Dirrell:

“I’m just looking to make a statement and put on a big show. I’m coming off the big fight against Canelo Alvarez, and I’ve just been training hard. Ever since that fight, my team has been in the dungeon and we can’t wait for the bell to ring so we can show the world what we’re working on.

On what he wants to do after Dirrell:

“Right now all I’m thinking about is October 15. I wanted the biggest fight that could possibly be made coming off a loss, and this was the name we got. He’s a former two-time champion, so this is the fight that I wanted. After this, I’m looking for the next biggest fight that can be made. Doesn’t matter if it’s Jermall Charlo, David Benavidez or anyone else.

On fighting at Barclays Center:

“I’m excited to be fighting at Barclays Center for the first time. I know I’ve got fans in that area so I can’t wait to pull up and see what the energy is like. Most importantly, I’m just ready to fight.

On daughter’s name on gloves:

“My wife Jordan gave me a pair of Grant gloves that I train with, and for this fight she got our daughter’s name engraved on them, which really helps remind me what I’m fighting for while I’m in the gym training.”

Eagles’ Sirianni uses Tiger Woods to motivate team

There’s only one undefeated team in the NFC, and that is the Philadelphia Eagles(3-0). At this point, the Eagles look like one of the best teams in football, but it’s still early. On Sunday, the Eagles host their former coach Doug Pederson and the Jacksonville Jaguars(2-1).

Philadelphia is getting a lot of national headlines because of its great start. However, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni wants to keep this team grounded and hungry. To do that, Sirianni showed his team clips of Tiger Woods.

“That’s something when you’re concerned about getting better every single day, and your sole focus is ‘How do I get better, how do I get better, how do I get better,’ it is easy to block out noise,” Sirianni said on Wednesday. “Whether that’s people telling you how good you are or how bad you are.

“A clip that we showed today was of Tiger Woods – and this is what we showed in our team meeting today. When he was at the top of his game, playing as good of golf as anybody has ever played, ever, he was still obsessed with getting better. He says that, ‘I’m obsessed with getting better. I’m obsessed with being the best.’

“That’s a guy that was playing the best golf of anybody ever. What a great example for us, right? We can learn so many good things from what not to do and what to do. Last week it was a Kobe Bryant film. This week it was a Tiger Woods film of just how am I going to improve my swing today to make sure that I’m getting better even though I’m playing pretty good right now.

“I want them to know that I’m doing that. There are things that happened in that game that I was not comfortable with. There are things I’m obsessed with getting better as the head coach to make sure that we’re prepared to play and the different things.

“So first we have to live that as coaches. We have to preach that through our word-of-mouth. Then other great people like Tiger Woods’ word-of-mouth, and then we have to accomplish that.”

The Eagles have not accomplished anything yet. Jalen Hurts is off to a great start, and the defense is getting done. However, again, they have to keep grinding.

Mayweather to battle Deji in exhibition bout

On Sunday, November 13, legendary undefeated boxing Hall of Famer Floyd “Money” Mayweather returns to the ring in his second appearance for the Global Titans Fight Series to face UK-based YouTube sensation turned pro-boxer Deji Olantunji, as world-class boxing and entertainment company Global Titans, along with co-owners/partners FrontRow Entertainment and Mayweather Promotions, proudly present ‘Global Titans Fight Night’ from the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai and live on pay-per-view.

Mayweather’s (50-0, 27 KOs) previous Global Titans appearance was on May 21 of this year, where he dominated “Dangerous” Don Moore in the Abu Dhabi Unity boxing event at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island. Originally scheduled for May 14 on the iconic Burj Al Arab Hotel’s helipad, the event was postponed a week and moved, due to the death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Although retired, Mayweather has kept a busy schedule as he continues to keep The Money Team brand at the forefront of the biggest events and ventures worldwide.

“I’m delighted to be working with Global Titans and FrontRow Entertainment to bring another incredible boxing experience to Dubai.” said Mayweather. “It’s an honor to return to Dubai and to be a part of such an iconic event in this world-class destination. I would like to thank the Global Titans and FrontRow Entertainment team for giving me this platform and for giving back so much to the sport I love.”

The brother of fellow social-media influencer and professional boxer KSI, Oladeji Daniel “Deji” Olatunji (1-0, 1 KO) is a major YouTube personality at home in the UK. Formerly known online as ComedyShortsGamer (abbreviated as CSG), the 25-year-old is best known for his comedic content, reactions and skits, which have garnered him 10.7 million subscribers and nearly 4.1 billion views on the platform. Deji has already notched one professional boxing victory by stopping fellow YouTuber Yousef ‘Fousey’ Erakat in the second round of their fight on Saturday, August 27 at the 02 Arena in London. In his three-fight amateur career, Deji was defeated by celebrity boxing phenom Jake Paul.

“Huge thanks to Global Titans and my team for creating this incredible opportunity,” said Deji. “It’s a privilege to be headlining this phenomenal spectacle in Dubai against the all-time great Floyd Mayweather. This is going to be fun!”

One of the most technologically advanced arenas in the world and located in the City Walk in Dubai, the beautiful 17,000-seat Coca-Cola Arena opened in 2019 and regularly hosts events that include concerts, sport, family entertainment and ceremonies.

Giants’ Daboll on Shepard: ‘It kind of looked like a freaky accident there’

The New York Giants(2-1) suffered their first loss of the season on Monday night as they fell to the Dallas Cowboys 23-16 at MetLife Stadium, and unfortunately, they lost a key piece on offense.

On Tuesday, Giants head coach Brian Daboll announced that WR Sterling Shepard would miss the rest of the season with a torn left ACL.

Shepard, who is coming off a torn Achilles last season, injured his ACL late in the game against the Cowboys.

“ACL. Got that news just about 15 minutes ago in the doctors’ meeting,” Daboll said. “And again, to reiterate what I said yesterday, he’s a tremendous person. He worked so diligently to get back, and (I) feel terrible for him that he had that injury. He’s a big part of our team, and we’ll miss him out on the field.

It was a non-contact injury, and it appeared that Shepard was jogging along when it happened. According to Daboll, it was a “freak accident.”

“He’s just slowing down,” Daboll said. “It could have happened; I’m not saying it happened; you see a couple of plays before where he turns when he’s running an in-cut, and he’s extended. He went out there on the next play and did something. Again, it kind of looked like a freaky accident there.”

It was a big blow for Shepard, who put in the work to get back on the field and a big blow for the Giants as they’ve battled injuries at the wide receiver position(Wan’Dale Robinson, Kadarius Toney). 

Neal struggles

Giants rookie RT Evan Neal struggled to block Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence, who had three of Dallas’ five sacks. Despite the struggles, Daboll is not worried about Neal.  

“We just keep on building the technique,” Daboll said. “There’s growing pains. I would say it’s not just Ev (Evan Neal), which he got beat a couple times on the edge by a pretty good player. There was a lot of things we could have done better. And protection-wise, after going through it, whether it’s the chips, the (running) backs, one-one-ones against the blitzers, the inside movement, the games inside. There was quite a bit of things. But Evan’s a diligent guy. We’ll work on improving him and try to be better next week.

New York will have a short week as the Bears(2-1) come to town on Sunday.

Official: Cavs extend Dean Wade

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Dean Wade to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced on Tuesday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a three-year, $18.5 million contract. The team picked up his fourth-year option in June, and now he’s locked up for the next few seasons.

“The Cavs gave me a real opportunity; I think that’s the biggest thing,” Wade said after practice today. “I’m thankful for the organization, coaching staff, everything. They gave me a real opportunity to show what I can do. I got lucky, and they kept me. It’s been a crazy journey. I’m just thankful for it.”

Wade appeared in 51 games (career-high 28 starts) for the Cavaliers last season, averaging 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per contest. The 6-9 forward also scored in double-figures on 11 occasions and registered one double-double.

The 25-year-old, who signed a two-way contract with the Cavs after he went undrafted in 2019 out of Kansas State, has spent his entire three-year NBA career with the Cavaliers, appearing in 126 regular season games (47 starts) with averages of 5.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game.

The Cavs have a hole at the 3-spot after trading Lauri Markkanen, and with his length and defensive ability, Wade could easily be a starter for this team in 2022-23. 

Nico Ali Walsh to battle Billy Wagner on Loma-Ortiz undercard

Middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh, the grandson of “The Greatest,” is set to make his New York City return.

Ali Walsh will fight Billy Wagner in his first scheduled six-rounder Saturday, Oct. 29 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Ali Walsh-Wagner joins the undercard of the lightweight main event between former pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko and the unbeaten Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz. In the featherweight co-feature, two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez battles former world champion Jessie Magdaleno.

The entire Lomachenko-Ortiz card will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.

“I am thrilled to be back in action on another significant card. Lomachenko is one of the greats of his era,” Ali Walsh said. “My first year as a professional has been a tremendous learning experience, and I have a great team to help me get to the next level. I respect Billy Wagner and am preparing to showcase everything I’ve learned in the gym from my incredible trainer, Kay Koroma.”

Ali Walsh (6-0, 5 KOs) made his pro debut in August 2021 with a first-round knockout and has been dominant in the paid ranks apart from one minor hiccup. Last December, he made his Madison Square Garden debut and edged Reyes Sanchez by majority decision. Following a pair of quick knockouts to start his 2022 campaign, he fought Sanchez in an August rematch at Pechanga Arena San Diego, the same building where Muhammad Ali lost to Ken Norton via split decision in 1973. Ali Walsh cleared up any doubt, doubling over Sanchez with a left hook to the liver in the second round. Wagner (5-2, 1 KO), from Browning, Montana, has won two straight since a February 2021 knockout loss to Javier Martinez inside the MGM Grand Bubble.

Brady on Bucs’ offense: ‘Our job is to go out there and score points, so we haven’t’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers(2-1) suffered their first loss of the season as they fell to the Packers(2-1) 14-12 in Tampa Bay on Sunday. 

The talk all week was this possibly being the last matchup between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, but the defenses ruled the day as both teams combined for 26 points.

However, despite their offensive struggles, the Bucs almost sent it into overtime. Late in the game, the Buccaneers had an opportunity to tie the game on a two-point conversion after Brady connected with Russell Gage on a one-yard touchdown pass.

But, on the two-point conversion try, the Buccaneers got pushed back five yards after a delay of the game penalty. After the penalty was marked off, the Buccaneers attempted the play, but Packers LB De’Vondre Campbell deflected Brady’s pass, and the Packers held on.

After the game, Buccaneers head Todd Bowles discussed his reaction to the penalty.

“We got a delay of game, we didn’t get set up fast enough, and it’s something that can’t happen,” he said.

“It wasn’t just that moment; there were a few things that happened that we can’t let happen. We got six crucial penalties at different times that cost us the ball game –shooting ourselves in the foot to give us a chance to win. We know they’re a good football team – hats off to them, but we made some dumb mistakes ourselves.”

Brady, who completed 31-of-42 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown, said it was bad execution on the two-point conversion try.

“There’s a lot to it, so bad execution on offense at a time where we needed good execution, and we didn’t get it,” he said. “There was a lot of other times where we had a lot of other bad execution, and I think the reality is when you do that, you don’t have the opportunity to score points. There were too many plays where we were behind the sticks and not good on third down – penalties, turnovers, missed opportunities. Defense played great, we [have to] play better on offense – we [have to] do [much] better job – we haven’t scored many points all season, so three games, we [have to] get a lot better.”

In the first three games, Tampa Bay’s offense has struggled, and they have not scored over 20 points this season. Yes, not having Chris Godwin(hamstring), Julio Jones(knee), and Mike Evans(suspension) on the field against the Packers doesn’t help, but according to Brady, in the end, the team’s execution has to be better.

“Our job is to go out there and score points, so we haven’t – we’re just not doing it, but you’re not going to score points if we don’t execute well,” Brady said. “They did a better job than us. They have a good defense – a good physical defense. I give them a lot of credit. They forced us to make a lot of good plays, and we just didn’t do a great job on execution.”

Tampa Bay has to be better on offense. The defense got the job done as they held the Packers to 14 points, and on most days, that should be enough. However, because of Tampa Bay’s offense, it wasn’t enough.