The Dallas Mavericks(7-7) made a little change to the lineup on Wednesday night against the Pacers(7-7), and that changed appeared to work. Dallas moved Kristaps Porzingis to the center spot, sent Willie Cauley-Stein to the bench, and added rookie Josh Green to the lineup.
The change led to the Mavericks defeating a good Pacers( team on the road 124-112 to end their three-game losing streak.
“After three straight losses, this is a game we had to have,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said.
Porzingis had his best game of the season. He shot 12/15 from scored had a season and game-high 27 points along with a game-high 13 rebounds against the Pacers. According to Porzingis, with him at the five, there was more space on the court.
“Just rolling to the basket, there’s more space,” Porzingis said. “Rolling to the basket more, having the option to roll or to pop, and that’s it. A lot of good looks, a lot of good opportunities, a lot of layups and stuff, and that’s it and make those and get those easy ones, and I’m glad we got to win.”
Carlisle explained why he made the change to the lineup.
“It made a huge impact on our offense for sure,” Carlisle said. “With all the different defensive looks that we expected and the fact that (Myles)Turner wasn’t playing, we were going to play smaller. If Turner would have played, we would have stayed big, but we would’ve probably gotten small pretty quick.
Ultimately, Porzingis and Cauley-Stein would play together down the stretch, and Carlisle was happy with what they did.
“I think KP(Porzingis) and Willie proved down the stretch of the game that you can score points, get stops playing with two bigs, and that was great to see, and that was the difference in the game.”
The Pacers gave a lot of attention to Luka Doncic. However, he recorded his 30th career triple-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists on Wednesday. While he did not score many points and did not have a good shooting night(5-15), he made plays in the other ways, which he discussed after the game.
“Obviously, it’s not everything about scoring,” Doncic said. ‘They were double-teaming me every time, playing box-and-one. A lot of players are open. I don’t’ think it’s just the assist. There’s sometimes, a lot of times, an extra pass and not always the assist. We just play out there. it’s probably easier basketball, more space.”
Carlisle was correct. The Mavericks needed this victory, and because of the play of Porzingis and others, Dallas was able to get it done.
The Spurs started slowly against the Warriors on Wednesday night and could not recover. San Antonio gave up 36 points and trailed by 12 after one quarter. The Spurs would fall behind by as many as 22 points in the first half and ultimately would lose on the road to Golden State 121-99.
San Antonio struggled with their shooting against the Warriors. They finished the game shooting 37% from the field, including 4/33 from three-point range. Conversely, their defense was not good. They allowed the Warriors to shoot 50% from the field and allowed Steph Curry to score 20 of his game-high 26 points in the first half.
“I thought we had a bad start,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “They jumped on us at the beginning of game for whatever reasons, and we never got back. If you shoot 4 for 33 from three, your defense better be pretty perfect, and it wasn’t, but it’s gonna happen, nobody is going to go undefeated. Hopefully, we learned some things tonight and just keep at it.”
Dejounte Murray, who led San Antonio with 22 points, agreed with Popovich; the Spurs were hit hard early and were not able to respond.
“We came out in the first half and just got punched in the face and didn’t know how to get back up as a whole—not making shots don’t make it better,” Murray said. “Halftime, we tried to come out and fight and fight. They’re the Warriors, and they kept fighting, kept fighting, and we just couldn’t get over that hump.”
After playing seven of their last nine game on the road, the Spurs will play nine of their next eleven at home, but with no fans allowed in the building, Popovich thinks home-court advantage is not the same.
“It’s pretty even-steven,” he said. “I think I mentioned that to you guys before. There’s not much of a home-court advantage, I don’t think.”
While home-court advantage may not be the same, getting home and not traveling can’t hurt, and based on the way they shot the ball on Wednesday night, maybe San Antonio could use some time off the road and could benefit from some home cooking.
The Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) today revealed its annual All-Rookie team, with Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and tackle Tristan Wirfs both earning spots on the roster.
Winfield Jr. started all 16 regular season games for Tampa Bay, recording 91 tackles (one for loss), six passes defensed, four quarterback hits, 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception. Winfield’s 3.0 sacks tied for the second-most sacks by an NFL defensive back this season. Among NFL rookies, he ranked fifth in tackles, tied for third in sacks, tied for fifth in passes defensed, tied for fifth in forced fumbles, tied for sixth in fumble recoveries and tied for eighth in interceptions. Winfield joined Jamal Adams as the only defensive backs with 75-or-more tackles and 3.0-plus sacks this season.
Over his first two career playoff games, Winfield has tallied 12 tackles (two for loss) and a forced fumble in the Divisional Round win over the New Orleans Saints.
Wirfs played every offensive snap for the Buccaneers this season, starting all 16 games at right tackle in his rookie campaign. He was part of an offensive line that allowed a sack on 3.51 percent of all pass attempts – the second-lowest mark in the NFL and the second-lowest in team history for a single season. He allowed just one sack in more than 1,000 snaps played this season for an offense that ranked second in passing yards per game (289.1), third in points per game (30.8), seventh in yards per game (384.1) and seventh in yards per play (6.04).
The Buccaneers have now had multiple players on the PFWA All-Rookie team in consecutive seasons after cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting and linebacker Devin White made the roster in 2019. In total, eight players drafted by Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht have earned All-Rookie honors, including five that remain on Tampa Bay’s NFC Championship roster.
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.”