The Cleveland Cavaliers finally celebrated their first win since LeBron James’ departure as they beat the Atlanta Hawks 136-114.
The Cavaliers, who reached the NBA Finals in each of the past four years during James’ second spell at the franchise, had started the season with six straight defeats.
But, after firing head coach Tyronn Lue, they ended the miserable run in the first game under interim coach Larry Drew, with Rodney Hood scoring 26 points and Cedi Osman chipping in with 20.
Elsewhere, former Cavalier Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 31 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 108-105 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
Irving, who had previously reached 22 points against the Orlando Magic last week, added five assists and five rebounds at TD Garden.
With the Pistons leading at half-time, Irving sparked a third-quarter rally, scoring 13, to put the Celtics on top.
The Pistons mounted a fightback in the fourth, twice cutting Boston’s lead to within a point – the second time with only 12 seconds remaining – but Boston held on for their third win in a row.
Russell Westbrook had 32 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 128-110 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Thunder ran away with the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Clippers 39-10, but it was Westbrook and Patrick Beverley’s heated rivalry which stood out in the fourth, with both players receiving a technical foul.
The Philadelphia 76ers were downed 129-112 by the Toronto Raptors as Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points and Pascal Siakam had a career-best 15 rebounds, while the Sacramento Kings saw off the Orlando Magic 107-99.
Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic both scored 22 points as the Portland Trail Blazers swept aside the Houston Rockets 104-85, the Washington Wizards fell to a fourth straight loss as the Memphis Grizzlies triumphed 107-95 and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Miami Heat.
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Diaz impresses as Manchester City beat Fulham
Manchester City’s teenagers shone as they eased into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 win over Fulham.
All eyes were on 18-year-old Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz, 19, as they were handed rare starts at the Etihad Stadium, and neither disappointed.
Diaz’s first senior goals settled the tie and gave a hint of why Real Madrid have been linked with the Spaniard, while Foden, who has also seen his name in the transfer gossip columns this week, went close twice and was full of running and intelligent passing in City’s engine room.
The only sour note for City came late on when Kevin De Bruyne, still working his way back to full fitness, went down in pain and was immediately replaced.
Pep Guardiola had made 10 changes from Monday’s win at Tottenham, with John Stones the sole survivor from the side that started at Wembley and Raheem Sterling – understood to have verbally agreed a new deal – able to watch on from the bench.
While Guardiola made sweeping changes, Slavisa Jokanovic fielded a strong side with only three new faces from the weekend, hoping for a victory that would end a run of four straight defeats and perhaps provide a spark for the Cottagers.
There was little to encourage him early on. De Bruyne needed less than a minute to have his first crack at goal, and went close again in the fifth minute.
City had quickly set up camp in the Fulham half and would rarely leave, with Foden the next to go close when he hit a powerful shot from the left which stung the palms of Sergio Rico before De Bruyne sent the rebound over.
Instead it was Foden’s fellow youngster Diaz who broke the deadlock five minutes later with his first City goal.
Vincent Kompany headed down a looping cross from Fabian Delph and Diaz ran on to it to hit a powerful shot which deflected off Aleksandar Mitrovic to beat Rico.
City pushed for more with Danilo cracking a shot against the outside of a post after breaking into the area, while Foden would head just wide from De Bruyne’s wicked cross as half-time loomed.
The second half started in much the same vein, with Leroy Sane’s dinked cross headed wide by Gabriel Jesus before De Bruyne bent a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
The longer the game stayed at 1-0 the more Fulham were tempted into the City half, but just as it looked as though they were gaining a foothold in the match, the hosts doubled their lead in the 65th minute.
Foden was involved again, recovering possession and slipping it to Sane.
He in turn played in Jesus but when the Brazilian’s shot across goal was touched on to a post by Rico, the ball fell for Diaz and the Spaniard took a touch before rifling the ball into the roof of the net.
With five minutes left De Bruyne limped off and was replaced by 18-year-old midfielder Claudio Gomes.
By then Diaz had already gone off to a standing ovation from fans who will hope they get to see plenty more of him and Foden in the future.
Goodwill of Galway fans eased final pain – Mannion
Padraic Mannion said an outpouring of goodwill form the Galway fans after their All-Ireland final loss to Limerick helped ease the pain of a bitter defeat.
The Tribesmen lost by a point to a youthful Treaty, failing to retain the crown they so memorably captured in 2017.
Reflecting on the moments after the final whistle, 2018 All-Star nominee Mannion told RTÉ Sport’s Brian Carthy: “I suppose it doesn’t really sink in until a day or two after. It was very disappointing. You believe you’ve prepared well… but Limerick were fully deserving of it.
“You have to be gracious in defeat. It’s not an easy thing to do but you have to suck it. They deserved it. We celebrated pretty wildly last year on the pitch. That’s just the nature of sport.
“We were happy going into the final that we’d done all we could. Limerick started really well, credit to them – a young team like that, a lot of them playing in their first senior final, the way they hit the ground running their heads were obviously in a very good place.
“When you lose by a point you’re going to be thinking, ‘if I done this, if I done that…’ but that’s the nature of hurling. They came out on top.
“The majority of the fans were very, very supportive. In Galway now we’ve developed such a good relationship with the supporters. There was an awful lot if goodwill after we lost the final.
“It makes it that tiny bit easier to move on. I know we didn’t get the Liam MacCarthy but we had a great summer overall.”
Galway take on Kilkenny in Sydney the Wild Geese trophy in the Spotless Stadium on Sunday week as part of the Magners Sydney Irish Festival.
Mannion ruled out the prospect of trying his luck in the AFL as he considered the prospect of competing Down Under.
The defender also said the sport is in rude health, thriving thanks to the intense competition in the provinces and flowing, attacking fare being served up on a regular basis.
“We might see if we can get hold of an Aussie Rules ball and have a few kicks to see what we’re like!” he laughed.
“But I’d say we’d be better off sticking to the hurling.
“It should be a great occasion. The game is going to be televised so you want to give the game the respect it deserves. The heat will be a factor. The jet lag as well…
“I think for the entertainment, the supporters, they love to see scores. It makes our challenges at the back a bit tougher, but we don’t be complaining when our forwards are putting up these scores either.
“The championship is so good because it’s so open. Nobody can call any game with the way it’s gone. It;s great to see that.”
‘I got first decade of coaching so wrong’
Davy Fitzgerald said he got the first decade of his management career “so wrong it was unbelievable” as he lifted the lid on his approach top modern management.
The Clare man took his first inter-county job back in 2008, after stints with Limerick IT, Sixmilebridge and Nenagh Éire Óg.
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Then 36 years old, he galvanised Waterford, leading them to an All-Ireland final and two semi-finals. He won the Liam MacCarthy with Clare in 2013 and after stepping away from the Banner three years later, he headed for Wexford.
Fitzgerald expanded on his techniques – which he says have changed vastly with experience – in a wide-ranging interview on RTÉ 2fm’s Game On, admitting attitude is everything when it comes to how he evaluates a player.
“To me attitude is savage,” said Fitzgerald. “Give me a guy who’s going to work at his game, who’s going to go home and do his homework, that’s willing to take on any challenge, but most importantly one who’s a team player. They’re hard to come by but they are so important.
“You could have the most amount of talent in a guy but if his head is in the wrong space, he’s more of a hindrance than a help. It’s something I look for in a big way. I’m not prepared to carry guys like that.
“The end result is everything isn’t it? How do you achieve the end result? I’m training teams 28 years. The first ten or 12 years I got it so wrong it was unbelievable. I thought my way was the best way. The way I played I thought was the best way. No.
“It’s what gets the group you have over the line. What do you need to do? If you can get a group that will buy into the way you want to train… if they don’t buy into that and start listening to the public outside of it, you’re done. No matter what you say, you’re done.
“But if you can explain it properly, explain the process, I think you have a better chance.”
Fitzgerald’s tendency to use a sweeper has parked much debate, but the former goalkeeper said it’s been misunderstood.
“Since I went into Waterford, I’ve definitely developed better as a manager,” he added.
“People would often say to me, ‘is there a specific you play? Obviously you play with a sweeper a lot of the time’. It depends on the bunch you have.
“Clare were a fast team, they loved moving into space, getting the ball on the run. Whereas if I had a team like Kilkenny had a few years ago, big lads that were able to win their own ball 50/50, then you’re going to go more direct. It all depends on what you have.
“You figure out what you have, you work to their strengths as much as possible, but I believe the buy-in comes form you explaining why you’re doing what you’re doing.
“If they understand it, they’ll buy in, and that’s massive.”
Successor to Cork GAA secretary Murphy is confirmed
Kevin O’Donovan will succeed Frank Murphy as secretary of the Cork County Board.
O’Donovan, a member of Kilmeen Kilbree, is currently the Cork board vice-chairman.
Murphy has been employed as full-time secretary since 1972.
The recruitment process, organised by the GAA’s HR Department at the request of Cork County Board, commenced in July and the interview panel comprised of a number of high level GAA representatives.
A recommendation was accepted by the Cork County Board Executive and is subject to final approval by the Cork County Board at its next meeting.
Murphy will step down at Cork’s annual convention on 16 December, as O’Donovan takes over.
County Board chairperson Tracey Kennedy said it is a time of great opportunity and challenge for Cork GAA.
She said: “Our priority is to maintain and improve the high level of engagement by clubs, players and volunteers whose work shapes and defines the organisation in the county, and to ensure that Cork GAA is equipped to grow and operate successfully into the future.
“The performances of all our county teams are also of paramount importance. The success of our development squad programme, in which Kevin has been pivotally involved, is vital to the creation of a pathway for success in the future.
“With reports due from our strategic plan implementation committee and our football planning committee in the near future, we will expect the new secretary to drive any recommendations approved by the County Board.
“The management and optimisation of our magnificent new stadium, Páirc Ui Chaoimh, is also an important task in which our new secretary will have a role as a member of the Board of Directors.
“It is imperative that the stadium fulfils it games promotion role as one of the premier GAA venues in the country. It must also achieve the commercial and community objectives which have been set.
“Kevin succeeds someone whose work on behalf of the GAA in Cork and nationally is immeasurable.
“In his term of office as County Board secretary, Frank Murphy has overseen the growth of the GAA organisation in Cork, the phenomenal success of our inter-county teams, the radical redevelopment of club facilities, the development of three new stadiums, the achievement of unparalleled sponsorship support for our county teams and so much more.
“Cork County Board looks forward to working with our new secretary as we enter a new phase in the life of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Cork and we wish him every success in his new role.”
Executive has approved appointment of Kevin O’Donovan as County Secretary.on recommendation of interview panel.
— Newcestown GAA (@NewcestownGAA) November 1, 2018
The key final battles in latest chapter of epic rivalry
What a weekend we have in store – a Super Sunday at the Aviva Stadium.
Two of the best teams in the country will battle it out in the Women’s FAI Cup final at 12pm as league champions Wexford Youths face League Cup winners Peamount United.
Both teams are full of Ireland internationals and it really is a 50/50 game. I’m looking forward to seeing who comes out on top.
It should be a great curtain raiser to the men’s clash at 3.40pm.
I think Dundalk will win the game, but I don’t believe it will be the easy ride many people have suggested.
John Caulfield and Cork City will be right up for this one, and with their strongest team on the pitch, the fact they’ve lost the league without much of a fight and with a third cup trophy in a row within their grasp, they’ll be doing everything in their power to win it.
The previous three cup final meetings produced no goals in normal time, so we could be in for a long afternoon on Sunday.
For Dundalk, it’s a chance to win the double for the first since 2015, but really it’s more than that; it’s about winning the cup back, beating Cork again and ending their season on the ultimate high.
Their players have spoken this week about how much of a downer it would be if they lost the final, even though they won the league in style, that will be a distant memory if they are on the wrong side of this result.
As they’ve shown in three of the four league meetings this season, if Dundalk play to their level, they will beat Cork City.
That has been the fact of the majority of games between the teams this season.
People say league form and previous results do not matter in the cup, but they do.
Dundalk know if they reach their levels, they have a great chance to win and Cork know if they allow Stephen Kenny’s team to play as they’ve played against them this season, the afternoon will end in disappointment.
Dundalk’s defensive record is the best in the country. Goalkeeper Gary Rogers should have been in the team of the year, and in Sean Gannon, Dane Massey, Brian Gartland and Sean Hoare, they have four of the most consistent defenders of the previous six years, with young Dan Cleary also ready to add to his impressive first season at the club if called upon.
It’s been well documented how good Chris Shields has been. Alongside Robbie Benson and either Jamie McGrath or Patrick McEleney, that trio along with Michael Duffy have the capacity to do serious damage on the massive Aviva pitch.
John Mountney will give good balance on the right, and will have to track the runs of Kieran Sadlier.
Their main concern of course is the fitness of Patrick Hoban.
He has been chasing that scoring record for a number of weeks, but with the league in the bag and Ronan Murray and Georgie Kelly waiting in the wings, it may have been an idea to give Hoban a rest and mind him for the last couple of weeks, with Sunday in mind.
Stephen Kenny has said he’ll give his marksman as long as possible to get fit, but in my experience, knocks like that take more than ten days to heal.
They’ll strap him up and maybe give him an injection to play, but it’s not what they need heading into this game.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on the end of some heavy tackles early in the game.
The strength of their bench also could be key, if it goes the distance, as it very well could.
Cork City have won 24 of their 36 league games this season, and had a handy run to the FAI Cup semi-finals.
That game against Bohemians at Dalymount, the most talked about penalty in LOI history and the replay win has really galvanised them.
Since that victory, City have won three in a row, beating Limerick and Derry City 3-0 each, before a 5-1 hammering of Bray Wanderers.
They’ve still scored 11, kept two clean sheets and got that winning feeling back.
Key attackers Sadlier and Barry McNamee, who seems to be back in favour, have been in the goals and playing well. They’ll need them on the top of their game on Sunday.
Sadlier scored the winning peno in the shootout win last year, he netted again from the spot to secure that replay against Bohemians, and despite reports it could be his last game for the club, he’s likely to be on top form.
If City can’t keep the ball, they’ll find it very difficult to win the game.
Mark McNulty was the hero of the final win last year, and if Cork’s starting 11 in their last game against Bray is anything to go by, Alan Bennett and Sean McLoughlin will be tasked with keeping Hoban [or Kelly] quiet.
Conor McCormack, Gearoid Morrissey and Garry Buckley are keys to keeping the ball, but also to stop Dundalk playing.
They’ll need to supply McNamee, Sadlier and Graham Cummins with enough chances to score against the best defence in the country.
So what role will Kenny and Caulfield have to play on Sunday? The answer is, a massive one.
It’s been Dundalk v Cork for the last five years, but it’s also been Stephen Kenny against John Caulfield, and that rivalry has been almost as fascinating to watch as the games.
Caulfield accused Dundalk of trying to do a Rosenborg, monopolising the Dublin market and signing players they didn’t even need. Kenny, unlike in previous years, refused to respond, saying he didn’t care what anyone else thinks.
The Dundalk boss always keeps his cool on the line, though the same cannot always be said for his counterpart. If Caulfield loses his head, his team are likely to do the same.
In order for this match to go how Cork want it go, they need to remain calm, control their aggression but play with the intensity needed.
If it becomes a blow for blow game, Dundalk will win hands down.
It’s up to the managers to control those outcomes, and I think it will be Kenny who is lifting the trophy at 6pm on Sunday night.
It won’t be without a fight…