Cavs losing streak continues after falling to Bucks

The Cavs were hoping to snap their four-game losing streak on Wednesday night in Milwaukee against the Bucks. Fortunately for Cleveland, they got back their leading scorer Donovan Mitchell(ankle), who missed Sunday’s loss against the Timberwolves. However, they were still without Jarrett Allen(illness) and Dean Wade(knee).

Cleveland(8-6) trailed the Bucks(11-3) by as many as 20 points in this one; they cut the lead to nine in the fourth but could not get any closer as they fell to Milwaukee 113-98 at Fiserv Forum.

The Cavs have now lost five straight; Milwaukee snapped a two-game losing streak.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Bucks.

Great:

Evan Mobley had 20 points on an efficient 9/14 from the field, with seven rebounds and two blocks. Mobley started at center for Allen.

Cavs BackcourtDarius Garland(8/20, 5/9 3FG) and Donovan Mitchell(7/19, 3/9 3FG) scored 23 points apiece for the Cavs, which was nearly half of the team’s points. In addition, the two combined for 11 assists as Garland led the team with eight dimes.

Not So Great:

Third Quarter: Bucks led the Cavs 61-60 at the break but took complete control of the game in the third. They outscored the Bucks 34-18 in the quarter and had the largest lead of the game at 91-71 in the quarter. Brook Lopez(7/9 3FG) was on fire as he scored 11 of his game-high 29 points in the third. The Bucks were sizzling in the third as they shot 60% from the field. On the contrary, Cleveland shot 29% from the floor.

Defense: Cleveland did not get the job done on the defensive end. Milwaukee shot 53% for the first three quarters and easily got into the lane. Just way too many open looks for the Bucks, and they capitalized on it. 

Bottom Line:

There is no shame in losing to the Bucks on the road, but Milwaukee was without Jrue Holiday(ankle) and Khris Middleton(wrist), so this was an opportunity for the Cavs to steal a win. However, that’s hard to do when the defensive energy is not where it needs to be. Hopefully, the Cavs can get it right during their upcoming four-game homestand.

What’s Next:

Cleveland starts a four-game homestand at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday when they host the Charlotte Hornets.

Best of the Rest:

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 16 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists for the Bucks; Jordan Nwora added 21 points(5/9 3FG) off the bench.

Eagles’ Sirianni: ‘It’s not going to be easy to replace [TE] Dallas [Goedert]’

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Eagles placed tight end Dallas Goedert(shoulder) on injured reserve after he injured his shoulder in the team’s 32-21 loss to the Commanders on Monday night.

The fifth-year tight end will miss at least four games, and according to Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, the team will see where he stands at that point.

“It’s not going to be easy to replace [TE] Dallas [Goedert], and not just one person does it,” Sirianni said Wednesday. “So, we’ll see how long he’s out. Obviously, you know he has to be out for at least four games, and we’ll play that by ear as that goes.”

Goedert was having a Pro Bowl-caliber season and was on track to have a career year as he had 43 receptions for 544 yards and three touchdowns, and Sirianni felt Goedert was playing like one of the best tight ends in football.

“He was having a great year, right?” he said. “To me, he’s having a Top 3, Top 5, Top 2, whatever you want — Top 1 tight end year. So that stinks for us as a team, stinks for Dallas.”

Without Goedert, tight ends Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra will get an opportunity. In addition, guys like A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins may get more targets, which Sirianni discussed.

“So, how do we replace him? You can’t, right?” Sirianni said. “You have to do it by committee. You have tight ends that are there that; we have a lot of faith in this building; it’ll start with them. Then it goes to where some of his targets go. Probably a couple will go to [WR] A.J. [Brown], probably a couple go to [WR] DeVonta [Smith], and then you have backs that get intertwined in that. Slot receivers that get intertwined with that with [WR] Quez [Watkins]. You just have to balance it out and try to make — you’re not the going to be able to duplicate everything he does because he has a unique skill set. You try to figure out who can do what he does and can they do it, and then you put that stuff in your offense. Then some of it, you might lose some of your stuff in your offense because it’s always about players, as we talk about. I know we have guys in this building that I have a lot of faith in, though.”

Eagles sign DT Linval Joseph

Also, on Wednesday, the team placed DT Marlon Tuipulotu(knee) on IR and signed veteran DT Linval Joseph. According to reports, it’s a one-year deal. The 34-year-old last played with the Chargers in 2021.

“So, we had an opportunity to add a good player that we played against last year and who made things very difficult for us last year in that Chargers game,” Sirianni said. “There are a lot of guys here that have had opportunities to be around him.

“Coach Gannon [Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon], Coach Rallis [Linebackers Coach Nick Rallis], [Vice President of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer] Tom Hunkele. I mean, there have been a lot of guys who have had experience with him, and we think he’s the right type of guy for the locker room. We think he’s still a heck of a football player, and he’s going to be able to help us.”

Jefferson, White, Slye win NFC players of the Week

Minnesota Vikings wide receive Justin Jefferson, Buccaneers linebacker Devin White, and Commanders kicker Joey Slye were named NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played in Week 10, the league announced Wednesday.

Offense: WR Justin Jefferson:

Jefferson recorded 10 receptions for a career-high 193 receiving yards and a touchdown in Minnesota’s thrilling overtime victory over Buffalo. It marked the most receiving yards by any player in the league in Week 10 and included a key, 32-yard acrobatic reception on fourth-and-18 with two minutes remaining in regulation.

This is the second-career Offensive Player of the Week award for Jefferson, also earning the honor in Week 11 of the 2021 season. He joins Pro Football Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Randy Moss as the only Vikings wide receivers to win the award multiple times.

Defense: LB Devin White:

White totaled nine tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in Tampa Bay’s victory over Seattle in the first-ever NFL regular-season game in Germany. He was the only player in the NFC to record two sacks and a forced fumble in Week 10.

This is the third-career Defensive Player of the Week for White and first this season:

He becomes the third Tampa Bay linebacker to earn the honor at least three times, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks (six-time winner) and Hardy Nickerson (three-time winner).

Special Teams: K Joey Slye:

Slye converted all four of his field goal attempts in Washington’s upset victory over Philadelphia on Monday Night Football, connecting from 32, 44, 55 and a career-long 58 yards. He also converted both of his extra point attempts to account for 14 points, the most of any kicker in Week 10. Slye was also the only kicker to convert on multiple field goals from over 50 yards this week.

This is Slye’s second-career Special Teams Player of the Week award, also earning the honor as a rookie in Week 4 of the 2019 season with Carolina. He is the first Washington kicker to win since Dustin Hopkins (Week 13, 2020).

Cavs’ Windler out 4-6 weeks with ankle injury

Cavaliers forward Dylan Windler will miss approximately 4-6 weeks after a recent platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection was received to help treat his right ankle, the team announced Wednesday.

Windler, 26, missed 12 of the team’s 13 games with a sprained right ankle injury and has not appeared in a game this season.

According to the team, Windler’s ankle will be stabilized in a walking cast, after which a new therapy plan will be established to determine the next steps in his return to basketball activities. His status will be updated as appropriate.

Windler, the 26th overall pick in the 2019 draft, has battled injuries during his time with the Cavs. He missed his entire rookie season with a left lower leg stress reaction. The following season Windler missed a month with a broken left wrist, and in April 2021, Windler had surgery on his left knee that caused him to miss the rest of the season. 

Last season, in 50 games, Windler averaged 2.2 points in 9.2 minutes of action.

Pistons’ Stewart to miss 2-3 weeks with sprained toe

Detroit Pistons forward/center Isaiah Stewart will miss the team’s west coast road trip after being diagnosed with a sprained right big toe.

Stewart left the second quarter of Monday’s game against Toronto and, according to the team, will be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks.

According to the Pistons, testing conducted by team doctors following the game diagnosed the injury as a sprain of the right big toe.  

In 10 games this season, Stewart is averaging 12.0 and 9.3 rebounds per contest.

The Pistons return to action on Thursday night in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

Avanesyan: ‘I’m going to surprise everyone watching’

WBO six-rated welterweight contender, David Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs), is preparing for the biggest fight of his career, a 12-round Championship showdown with the current pound-for-pound king, Terence “Bud” Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) on December 10 at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Neb.

Crawford vs. Avanesyan, a 12-round WBO welterweight world title clash, will stream live on BLK Prime(39.99).

Avanesyan, deep in training, talks about his upcoming fight with Crawford and gives his thoughts on the epic opportunity that stands in front of him.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for my family and me, one I will not take for granted,” said Avanesyan, who is currently training in Nottinghamshire, England. “I know going in that I’m a huge underdog and no one is giving me a chance, but let me tell you, I’m going to surprise everyone watching. I’ve had enough time to prepare, so I’ll be ready for the southpaw.”

“There’s a reason Terence Crawford is considered the best fighter in boxing, his skill set is amazing, and he knows how to win. I know my hands are full, but I’m going to do everything I can to become a world champion. I need to stick to the game plan we have in place, and if adjustments need to be made during the fight, I will have to make them.

“As I’ve matured in boxing, I’ve learned a lot of tricks that have helped me become the fighter I am today. Coming from the amateur ranks, I had to learn how to sit on my punches correctly, which can take a lifetime for some fighters. The bad habits that plagued me early in my career, are now fixed. Today I’m a completely different fighter in the ring, and my last six fights have shown my growth when it comes to my power punching. I believe my aggressive style is going to give Crawford problems.

“I’m coming into hostile territory, his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, all his fans will be there in abundance. I’ve fought most of my career in people’s backyards, and I love it because it gives me an extra buzz. This is what being an underdog is all about. When I walk out of the arena with a monumental victory, I believe I will win his fans over.”

A former WBA interim champion, Avanesyan enters this welterweight title bout on a six-fight stoppage streak dating back to 2019 when he captured the European welterweight championship. He defended that title five times before he recently decided to vacate and challenge Crawford for his WBO crown. Considered by many boxing connoisseurs as a legitimate welterweight contender, Avanesyan is ranked top ten by three of the recognized sanctioning organizations.

Hurts still confident in team after loss

Every team wants to win every game; however in life, there are no losses but only lessons. Hopefully, the Eagles(8-1) learned some valuable lessons after suffering their first loss of the season as they fell to the Washington Commanders(5-5) 32-21 at Lincoln Financial Field. 

The first lesson Philadelphia hopefully learned is protecting the football. Coming into this game against Washington, Philly had only three turnovers in eight games, but on Monday night, they had four turnovers, which led to 17 Washington points.

The next lesson the Eagles hopefully learned is that they must stop the run. Philly allowed 152 yards on 49 carries. While the Commanders averaged only 3.1 yards per carry, it did allow Washington to hold the ball for 40:24, and in addition, they let the Commanders keep drives alive as they were 12/21 on third downs.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who completed 17-of-26 attempts for 175 yards, two touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and an interception, expects the team to respond favorably after the loss.

“My message to [the team] this morning and before the game ironically was hungry dogs run faster,” Hurts said after the loss. “When you win, they say it’s hard to keep the hunger, and I think this team is in a position to dictate on how we want to respond to this adversity, this obstacle in our way. What is done is done, so there is a what now mentality. And I know my mentality moving forward. I know my attention to detail in terms of my preparation and how that will look moving forward. I know my eagerness to play to the standard moving forward. I know what that is. I know how this team will respond, and I have confidence in this football team.”

Many people started talking about the possibility of Philadelphia going 17-0, but according to Hurts, it wasn’t something that was not on his mind.

“I wasn’t entertaining it at all,” Hurts said. “You obviously want to win all of the games we play in. Tonight wasn’t our night. The message for me is control the things that you can. When you do that, you have a pretty good opportunity to be victorious in the end. How do you do it? You prepare, attention to detail, the energy you have, the approach, the mentality towards it, and ultimately playing together.”

This was a good loss for the Eagles, hopefully getting them to refocus and get back to their winning ways against the Colts next Sunday.

Embiid: ‘It’s all about doing whatever it takes to win a championship’

Joel Embiid had a monster game on Sunday night against the Jazz, and the 76ers needed all of it. Embiid scored a career-high 59 points (19-28 FG, 20-24 FT) to go with 11 rebounds, eight assists, and seven blocks as the 76ers defeated the Jazz 105-98 at Wells Fargo Center. 

According to Stathead, Embiid’s 59-point outing is the fifth-highest-scoring game in team history. In addition, he became the first player to reach such totals in the same game since blocked shots became a statistic in 1973-74. 

Embiid scored 26 of the team’s 27 fourth-quarter points and blocked five shots in the quarter. He did it all for Philadelphia.

The points were great, but the blocks and rebounds impressed 76ers head coach Doc Rivers.

I’ve seen guys score a lot of points. I haven’t seen guys score a lot of points, rebound, and then the block shots,” Rivers said after the in. “That was impressive. He was getting everything. I’ve never seen a more dominating performance when you look at both offense and defense.”

Embiid, who had 42 points against the Hawks on Saturday night, has scored 101 points in the last two games. According to the five-time All-Star, it’s all about winning.

“We still have a lot more to accomplish,” he said. “We can talk about whatever tonight, stats and all of that tonight, but that’s not what matters. It’s all about doing whatever it takes to win a championship. That would be the best thing ever. It doesn’t matter if I’m averaging 10 points, 30, or whatever; if we win a championship, that’s all that matters.”

Tyrese Maxey scored 18 points for the 76ers on Sunday night, and what impressed him was seeing Embiid score 59 points on the second half of a back-to-back.

“He’s [Joel Embiid] a soldier,” Maxey said. “He was coming in saying his shoulder was hurting and stuff like that. For him to go out there and play and give it his all is huge. It’s huge for this team and huge for this organization. Your best player, after a 42-point performance last night on a back-to-back, he comes out here and dominates again. Has 59-points and seven blocks and ten boards, and eight assists. Just his presence was really good tonight. He made shots. He made free throws. He’s just good at basketball. It’s that simple.”

This was an exceptional performance by Embiid, but again, most importantly, the 76ers got two big wins over the weekend to even their record at 7-7. It’s still early, but this would be a good time for Philly to start stringing together some wins.

Darius Garland was special, but it wasn’t enough against Minnesota

The Cavs returned home to battle the Timberwolves(6-8) on Sunday after going 2-3 on their five-game road trip, including three straight losses. Unfortunately, they would be without Donovan Mitchell(ankle), Jarrett Allen(ankle), and Dean Wade(knee).

The Cavs cut a 20-point fourth-quarter lead to two and had an opportunity to tie as they trailed 127-124 with 06.5 seconds left, but Kevin Love’s inbound pass was stolen by Rudy Gobert, and Minnesota  held on to defeat the Cavs 129-124 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Cleveland(8-5) has now lost four straight.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to Minnesota

Great:

Darius Garland went crazy in the fourth and almost brought the Cavs all the way back. He scored 27 of his career-high 51 points on 16/31 shooting, including 10 threes to go along with six assists. The 16 field goals and 10 threes made are also career highs. He did everything, and I mean everything in his power to bring the Cavs back.

Garland struggled on the west coast trip, so this was a welcomed sight for the Cavs.

Fourth Quarter: Cleveland trailed by as many as 24 points in this contest and was down by 20 entering the fourth. We know what Garland did, but this team played with an energy that was missing in the first 36 minutes of the game. They scored 40 points in the quarter on 52% shooting, including eight threes, six of them by Garland. Conversely, they held Minnesota to 33% shooting. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late.

Not So Great:

Defense for the first three quarters: After three quarters, they allowed Minnesota to score 104 points on 64% shooting. In addition, the Timberwolves shot 52% from deep after three. Minnesota finished the game scoring 54 points in the paint and shooting 56% from the floor, including 50% from downtown.

First Quarter: Cleveland allowed Minnesota to score 40 points in the first. They trailed 40-20 after one. That first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game.

Bottom Line: 

In the first nine games, Cleveland allowed 104 points per game; during the four-game losing streak, the Cavs have allowed 120 points per game. Last season, Cleveland’s defense was one reason the Cavs had success, and they have to regain that defensive identity going forward. Should there be some concern? Maybe, but it’s still very early. 

What’s Next:

Cleveland heads back on the road as they battle the Bucks in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.

Best of the Rest:

D’Angelo Russell led the Timberwolves with 30 points and 12 assists; Karl Anthony Towns added 29 points and 13 rebounds. Minnesota had five players in double figures.

Lamar Stevens added 15 points and six rebounds; Kevin Love and Cedi Osman chipped in with 14 points apiece. Like Minnesota, Cleveland had five players in double figures. 

Saquon Barkley: ‘I want to be Giant for life’

The New York Giants got back to their winning ways on Sunday as they defeated the Houston Texans 24-16 at MetLife Stadium.

New York, who lost to the Seahawks before the bye week, improved to 7-2, their best nine-game record since they were 8-1 in 2008. 

The Giants gave the Texans a heavy dose of Saquon Barkley, who finished with a career-high 35 carries for 152 yards, including a two-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Barkley’s 152 rushing yards are his second-highest total of the season. The 35 carries are the most by a Giants back since 1999.

“It’s really fun, to be honest,” Barkley said about the 35 carries after the win. “At the end of the day, like I said, just want to a find a way to win games, and today that was the mindset that we needed to get the job done, and we were able to get it done.”

According to reports, Barkley’s agent and the Giants discussed a new contract during the bye week as he can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. 

“We got into a little bit of conversation,’ Barkley said. ‘At the end of the day, I put that in the past. That was the Bye Week. Obviously, we weren’t able to come to an agreement during the bye week, and my mindset is just focus on the rest of the season. Next week going against Detroit and knowing when that opportunity comes up again, focus on it then.”

Despite the two sides not coming together on an agreement, Barkley is happy that both sides were able to discuss a new contract.

“I’m just happy that we were able to at least have a conversation,” he said. “I know how they feel about me. They spoke very highly of me, but like I said, we weren’t able to get anything done during the bye week, and I agree with (general manager) Joe (Schoen), just lock it up and worry for the rest of the season and make sure no distractions come out of it.”

As he said in the past, Barkley wants to be in New York for his whole career.

“I think I’ve kind of been vocal before contracts were even brought up about how I feel about this place,” he said. “What I want my legacy to be in this place, and I want to be Giant for life. Like I said, I’ve been vocal about that, so if the conversation gets brought up again, we’ll go from there.”

After nine games, Barkley leads the NFL in rushing(931 yards) and is second in yards from scrimmage(1148). He is playing like the guy New York saw before the injuries, so whether it’s New York or elsewhere, Barkley will get his money.