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    The Cavaliers watched helplessly as the Raptors shredded their feeble defense and raced away with the double-digit win.

    TORONTO -- An Eastern Conference changing of the guard officially began Wednesday night in Toronto.

    The reigning East champion Cleveland Cavaliers -- so comfortable and dominant north of the border during the LeBron James era that they should have been granted dual citizenship -- looked completely overmatched and out of place sharing the court with one of the conference's elite, dropping the first game of the season, 116-104.

    After a hard-fought first quarter that featured 11 lead changes, the Cavs ended the period trailing by a respectable three points.

    Only they couldn't sustain that level of play the rest of the night, watching helplessly as the Raptors shredded their feeble defense. Toronto finished the night shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from 3-point range. 

    Perhaps the worst sign for the Cavaliers came at halftime.

    They played incredibly hard, fought for second-chance opportunities and aggressively attacked the Toronto defense, earning 15 more free throw attempts and coming away with twice as many second-chance opportunities. And yet, they trailed by 13 points after the supposedly-improved defense gave up 60 points.

    On this night, it didn't matter how much effort they gave. Nor did it matter how many surges the Cavs made in the second half, cutting the lead to single figures on four occasions. The Cavs fought and had five players reach double figures, getting something resembling the balance they want this season.

    They just didn't have enough. The talent gap was too vast.

    Kyle Lowry buried them with an avalanche of 3-pointers. He tallied 27 points on 10-of-12 from the field and 5-of-6 from 3-point range to go with eight assists.

    Kawhi Leonard, in his first game with the Raptors, looked like an MVP candidate once again, finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds.

    Danny Green, who arrived in the blockbuster deal with Leonard for fan favorite DeMar DeRozan, appeared an ideal fit on the perimeter. He also reached double figures with 11 points.

    In a way, the Cavs must've felt like the old Raptors, who plowed through countless other East opponents, only to be left demoralized and searching for answers that didn't exist against Cleveland. 

    Wednesday night was the first real sign that the Cavaliers are no longer on Toronto's level, a complete role reversal after Cleveland had won 15 of the last 17 against the Raptors -- a stretch that dated back to late May of 2016.

    A microcosm of the Cavaliers night, Cedi Osman, who scored 17 points in James' old small forward spot, got his ankles taped and walked toward his locker about an hour before tipoff. He stopped before looking around. That's when Osman said out loud, "Where is all the media? There's no one in here."

    That's the Cavs' new reality, something they learned Wednesday night before and during the game.

    Not enough Love

    The Cavs unsurprisingly ran a bulk of their offense through Kevin Love, one of the team's holdovers and now the go-to scoring option.

    Only Love didn't look ready. He missed eight of nine first-half shots, salvaging a brutal shooting night by powering his way through smaller defenders in the post and forcing his way to the free-throw line. That, along with a decent second-half showing led to a better-than-it-looked stat line. 

    Love scored 21 points on 5-of-18 from the field and 1-of-4 from beyond the arc. He made 10 of 14 free throws and added eight rebounds.

    Cleveland can no longer survive when Love struggles. They would've had a hard time beating the woebegone Hawks with that level of inefficiency, let alone the Raptors, listed by preseason oddsmakers as the East's second-best team. 

    Frustrated at one point, the mild-mannered Love was even issued a technical foul at the 4:07 mark of the final quarter for pounding the ball on the hardwood after being whistled for a foul. 

    Rough debut

    Wednesday was Collin Sexton's first regular-season NBA game. It came against All-Star Lowry and Fred VanVleet, who was one of the finalists for Sixth Man of the Year last season. That's quite an ask for the teenager. But it's also something Sexton will need to get used to, with those grueling matchups coming every night. 

    After starting his career with five straight misses, Sexton's first basket came at the 8:59 mark of the fourth quarter. He followed up with another jumper 25 seconds later. Those were Sexton's lone baskets, finishing with nine points on 2-of-7 from the field.

    It certainly wasn't the debut Sexton had envisioned when he walked into rowdy Scotiabank Arena for the first time.  

    Next up

    The Cavs head to Minnesota to face the Timberwolves at 8 p.m. on Friday night before returning to Cleveland for the home opener this weekend.

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    Mike Chernoff just finished his third year as general manager for the Indians.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Indians are reportedly talking to GM Mike Chernoff about a contract extension. ESPN's Buster Olney was first to report the possibility.

    Chernoff just finished his third year as GM and his 15th season with the Indians. He reportedly recently turned down a chance to interview for the Mets' vacant GM job. Chernoff, who declined comment, and Chris Antonetti, president of baseball operations, are the top baseball executives with the Indians. They'll be faced with a challenging offseason.

    The Indians have 11 players who will become free agents after the World Series. Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Oliver Perez, Michael Brantley, Josh Donaldson, Melky Cabrera and Rajai Davis are among them.

    Carlos Carrasco, who won 17 games during the regular season, and outfielder Brandon Guyer have 2019 club options that require decisions five days after the last game of the World Series.

    The Indians also have eight players eligible for arbitration: Francisco Lindor, Trevor Bauer, Cody Anderson, Nick Goody, Neil Ramirez, Danny Salazar, Leonys Martin and Brandon Barnes.

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    Check here for video highlights from NBA games of Oct. 17.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- NBA 2018-19's Opening Week continued with 11 games on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Among the games: Cleveland Cavaliers, in their first game without LeBron James on the roster since 2013-14, lost at Toronto Raptors, in their first game with Kawhi Leonard; and Anthony Davis' New Orleans Pelicans won at James Harden's Houston Rockets.

    The NBA season began with two games Tuesday. The host Boston Celtics handled the Philadelphia 76ers, 105-87, and the host Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 108-100.

    Thursday's schedule features three games, including LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Portland Trail Blazers.

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    As his sandals squished across the carpeted floor inside the visitor's locker room at Scotiabank Arena, Love scoffed about needing extra time to "wash all the ugliness away" before heading to the team bus and embarking on Cleveland's next challenge. Watch video

    TORONTO -- Kevin Love was the last player to get out of the shower following the Cleveland Cavaliers' Opening Night loss against the Toronto Raptors.

    As his soggy sandals squished across the carpeted floor inside the visitor's locker room at Scotiabank Arena, Love quipped about needing extra time to "wash all the ugliness away" before heading to the team bus and embarking on Cleveland's next challenge.

    "That rhythm wasn't there tonight," Love said. "You could tell that game action wasn't there for me tonight. Thought I got a lot of really, really good looks on the offensive end. On the defensive end, just our switches and closing out, my attention to detail wasn't there.

    "I told Ty (Lue) after the game, I said, 'That's on me and I apologize.' We all have to be better and I think we know it."

    Sitting at the locker LeBron James used to occupy, where the Cavs celebrated numerous playoff victories, Love was left shouldering the blame for a double-digit loss.

    That's part of Love's role now. It comes with the territory of being a leader, the new franchise focal point.

    Some nights, Love will play like an All-Star, receiving a bulk of the credit. Other nights, just like Wednesday against the revamped Raptors, Love will be forced to accept the criticism. The same happened with James. Although, he rarely had to apologize. He didn't have many off nights.

    Love said after the game he felt rusty after missing the final three preseason matchups because of foot soreness. He hadn't played a game since Oct. 2, when he looked in midseason form against the Boston Celtics. It's helped that he's been able to go through five-on-five stuff over the last week or so. But Love -- and Lue -- recognize there's no substitute for game reps.

    "I thought it really hurt us Kevin being out of rhythm," Lue said. "He missed about six or seven layups under the basket and just hasn't played since the first game of the preseason. So, that was kind of rough on him and kind of rough on us, but overall I thought we competed and kept fighting and kept scrapping and were a little better in the second half. That's a lesson."

    The Cavs were able to take some positives from the loss. They liked the fight shown by the team to cut the Raptors' lead to single digits four different times in the final period. They recognize they can cut down on turnovers after committing 16 of them. They believe the second half, which the Cavs won, 57-56, provided a blueprint for how they need to play all season -- with the kind of fight and dogged determination to overcome some talent deficiencies. 

    But overall it wasn't the kind of performance needed against a high-powered Raptors squad that believes the East throne can be theirs this season.

    Digging an early hole won't work. The Cavs, for all the talk about ball movement and multiple threats on every possession, don't have the weaponry to climb back from a 20-point deficit. 

    And they can't overcome an off night from Love. 

    The No. 1 option scored a deceptive 21 points. He shot just 5-of-18 from the field and 1-of-4 from 3-point range. His final box score was aided by his ability to power his way to the free-throw line, where he made 10 of his 14 attempts.

    Perhaps it's unfair, but that effort won't be good enough this season. The Cavs' margin for error has shrunken significantly with James gone. So if he's going to require 18 shots to get 20-plus points, it's going to be a really long year.

    "We have to find our identity, we have to find how we are going to play," Love said. "As I said all along we're a team that needs to have that fight, that grittiness and we didn't have it tonight. Started with me and all the way through our lineup. We have to, not going to say like last year where we have to get in better shape because I do feel guys are in a good place, but have to be a team that dictates the pace and most in-shape team every time we play. We don't have that luxury of having a LeBron or a magician like Kyrie (Irving) to be a playmaker so we have to have guys that can play halfcourt, fullcourt and on the defensive end be physical."

    Beyond Love's inefficiency, the Cavs' overall offensive numbers weren't horrible. They scored at least 25 points in three of the four quarters. They had five players reach double figures, getting the kind of scoring balance the team desires.

    Defense was again the team's weak point.

    The Raptors scored 116 points. They shot 48.9 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from 3-point range. They took care of the ball, only committing 10 turnovers. The Cavs thought their halfcourt defense was better than the numbers indicate, that the Raptors made some tough shots. That's one view. 

    But the Cavs' defensive rating in the opener? A paltry 114.9. Straight to the bottom of the rankings they go once again.

    Two points of emphasis heading into the game were paint points and fastbreak points. Well, Toronto scored 56 points in the paint, shooting 50 percent on those looks. They also finished the night with 22 fastbreak points, converting eight of their 12 transition chances.

    After the game, Love lamented a lack of communication and trust -- two issues caused by his recent absence.

    "We just didn't play our brand of basketball," he said. "Just getting that first one out of the way and there were some good things like us getting back in the game in the third quarter, but just couldn't get over the hump and just didn't feel like us. There will be a lot of film tomorrow so we have to be super-attention to detail. We're not a team that has the luxury of being able to just rely on our talent. Have to pay attention to detail and have to continue to have that mindset."

    On a night the Cavaliers officially turned the page and entered a new era, Love lived up to his reputation as leader afterward.

    It was a much different story during the game.

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    Doug Lesmerises checks in on what he expects from Dwayne Haskins and David Blough on Saturday night. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There have been 47 games this century in which a Big Ten quarterback has passed for at least 400 yards. Purdue's David Blough has three of them and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins has two of them, and Saturday night, the two will duel in West Lafayette.

    Haskins ranks fifth in the nation, averaging 333 passing yards per game.

    Blough served as backup for the first two games of the year, so his overall stats don't rank him as high. But in his four starts, he's averaging 393 passing yards, fueled by a 572-yard game in his first start against Missouri.

    So what's my Outrageous Prediction for this week?

    Given the fact that Ohio State ranks 59th in pass defense and Purdue ranks 109th, I'm not so sure it's even that outrageous.

    But I'd watch for some big quarterbacks numbers on Saturday in Ross-Ade Stadium. Watch the video for more on this week's outrageous pick.

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    The last time LeBron James left the Cavaliers, the team had a 19-63 record, including a 26-game losing streak. What about this time? Watch video

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Talking to myself as the Cavaliers start a new season without LeBron James:

    QUESTION: Are you going to do it again, make yet another dumb prediction?

    ANSWER: Like what? The Indians beating Houston in four.

    Q: That was dumb, but you've been worse. How about what you said about the Cavaliers when LeBron James left for Miami.

    A: That one. Oh, boy. I think I said they'd win 42 games.

    Q: I think it was 46 wins for a team that opened the season with Jamario Moon as the starting small forward. The Cavs open this season with Cedi Osman taking LeBron's place. What do you think? Fifty wins?

    A: OK, let's get it over with. I said 46 wins or whatever. The Cavs had an epic 26-game losing streak and ended the season with a 19-63 record. But right before Game 7 in Oakland, I predicted the Cavs would beat Golden State and win the 2016 title.

    Q: Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back. How about this Cavs season?

    A: I went to the practice facility on Monday. Kevin Love admitted the team didn't take the regular season seriously. He said: "We were not good in the third quarter. We were super complacent. I can't tell you how many games we would have won if we had the same ball movement and player movement in the third quarter as we did in the first half."

    Q: Wow! It sure looked like that.

    A: Love said he'd "stand on the perimeter" and sort of watch what was going on. "We don't have LeBron to bail us out," he said.

    Q: What else did he say?

    A: "LeBron was so special. He was like a freight train going to the basket. He and Kyrie (Irving) were magicians. With them gone, guys have to step up in their roles, myself included."

    Q: Can Love do that?

    A: After being traded to the Cavs, Love figured out he'd have to defer to James...and Irving. They were more talented. Their personalities were stronger. He was an All-Star in Minnesota, but admitted he had some "bad...selfish habits." Love was known for his indifferent defense, for staying under the basket to pad his rebounding totals. He could score, and the Cavs will need that part of what he calls "The Minnesota Kevin Love." But he needs the lessons he learned from being here about winning to help the younger players.

    Q: Is this team any good?

    A: "We have a chance to be good now," Coach Tyronn Lue said. "We have older and younger guys, a good mix. We're in good shape now, we can take advantage of it."

    Q: What does Lue mean?

    A: Early in the season, some veteran teams are not in top physical condition. They want to peak in May and June. Lue pushed the players hard, beginning with a 3-hour practice to open training camp. Also, the Cavs' new schemes on offense and defense could give them an advantage until a new scouting book is compiled.

    Q: So you think they could start fast?

    A: That's Lue's theory. He wants it to happen so the players buy into what he's thinking.

    Q: But you think...what?

    A: That's exactly it...what? I have no idea how they'll play early in the season. Lue wants to run. Over and over, he said, "play with pace." But that also could lead to them being run off the court by more athletic teams. They could have a hard time scoring points. Love is the prime option. Can Rodney Hood be the reliable second-scorer that Lue wants?

    Q: I ask the Hood do it?

    A: Maybe. His problem has been a passive basketball personality. He'll miss a few shots, then disappear on the court. Lue has been demanding Hood "attack the rim, be more physical...I want him to get to the foul line."

    Q: But he averaged only 1.5 free throws per game with the Cavs last season.

    A: And 2.1 for his career. One way for a scorer to be more consistent is to draw fouls, then he doesn't have to rely on his jump shot.

    Q: Didn't Lue say he was looking forward to coaching in the post-LeBron era?

    A: Yes, several times. He wants to put his own stamp on the team. He obviously appreciated LeBron. Winning that 2016 title set up a 5-year, $35 million contract for Lue. They seemed to have had a decent working relationship. But he knew it would always be LeBron's team.

    Q: And now?

    A: Reality will be a challenge. I think the Cavs could struggle early in the season. Lue said he needed to "keep teaching, not assuming they know anything. You have to teach and show."

    Q: Is he capable of doing that?

    A: I'd imagine. But I also know he prefers veteran players, or at least he did when LeBron was here. I don't want to see a lot of J.R. Smith. I hope he doesn't freeze out Ante Zizic because he wants to stick with Tristan Thompson at center behind Larry Nance.

    Q: What about him not starting Collin Sexton at point guard?

    A: That's OK with me. Nothing wrong with George Hill opening at the position. Sexton will play a lot. Near the end of training camp, the two point guards played together at times in practice. Hill also could be traded at mid-season.

    Q: So what's your prediction?

    A: I'm going with 36 wins and them being on the edge of making the playoffs.

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    Although familiar individually, the various elements of the new 'Barbell Tapcon' class at T3 Performance together added up to something utterly fresh, an eclectic and thorough workout unlike any other.

    AVON, Ohio -- The whole is more than the sum of the parts at T3 Performance. Much more.

    Almost every element of "Barbell Tapcon," T3's new adult training program, felt familiar. Individually, they were exercises I perform on a weekly if not daily basis.

    Altogether, however, they added up to something utterly fresh, an eclectic and thorough workout unlike anything I've experienced elsewhere.

    The facility alone put me in a special frame of mind. Strolling around T3's enormous indoor field, cycling fitness studio, and vast array of high-end strength equipment made me feel less like a weekend warrior and more like a serious athlete.

    Zachary Lewis Zachary Lewis

    Have a suggestion for an activity you think I should try? Send me an e-mail.

    Cleveland native seeks endurance junkies for 'Erie Man' ultra triathlon challenge

    Then came the workout of the day, a fusion of T3's other flagship group fitness classes: "T3 Fit" and "Barbell Olympic Powerlifting" ( If I didn't feel like a pro at the outset of that, I sure as heck felt like one at the end.

    I warmed up a bit on my own. Or rather, I tried to. Trainer James DiBiasio, though, had something specific, and a bit more strenuous, in mind. He had me walk sideways, flex my arms, and bang out wide-legged pushups with tight elastic bands around my ankles and wrists.

    The first workout segment targeted balance and core strength. Holding a hex-frame deadlift bar with a 35-lb. plate on just one side, I walked back and forth, using my core to stabilize. After that, I struggled with balance through a series of single-legged kettebell deadlifts, gently tossing and catching the weight at the top.

    Next came Olympic lifting, with a focus on the hang power snatch, a lift that begins with the bar at hip level and ends with it overhead. Wisely, I thought, DiBiasio had me toggle between the real lift and a simulation using a dowel rod and heavy-duty elastic band. In that way, over the course of a few minutes, my technique improved greatly.

    Part three was a traditional bootcamp couplet: pull-ups and biceps curls on TRX bands, followed by pushups to failure on a wobbly elastic band. The idea was to go back and forth, as quickly as possible.

    The last and easily most unusual segment was a cardio routine using T3's enormous, hyper-powerful Woodway treadmill and an empty weightlifting bar.

    On the former, quite possibly the largest treadmill in Northeast Ohio, I walked for 30-second intervals at a brisk pace on a mountainous, lung-busting incline of 35 degrees. Another option would have been a flat sprint; Designed for professional athletes, T3's Woodway maxes out at 25 mph. (There's a cage and strap system to prevent falls. )

    Lastly, in alternation with that: 10 reverse biceps curls and strict overhead presses. Three times I went through that grueling series, walking for dear life and then immediately taxing my arms and shoulders.

    The funny part? I barely broke a sweat. Somehow, I think because the pace of the workout was casual, I escaped T3 with nothing worse than a damp brow.

    But that doesn't mean that "Barbell Tapcon" was easy. Oh no. Not at all.

    I may not have been dripping with sweat, but I was spent. Arms. Legs. Lungs. Shoulders. All of it. The whole of me was happily exhausted.

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    MLB clears Houston Astros of sign-stealing complaints by the Indians and Red Sox during the postseason.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- I don't know about you, but I feel much better now that Houston GM Jeff Luhnow and his spy network are in charge of making sure teams aren't cheating when it comes to trying to pilfer other team's signs and strategies during games.

    I would have thought that was the job of Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB's investigative unit, but I guess Luhnow and the Astros are doing such good work that there's no need for Manfred to get involved.

    As you may have heard, the Astros had a team employee, equipped with a cellphone camera, take pictures/video inside the Indians' dugout during Game 3 of the ALDS and the Red Sox's dugout during Game 1 of the ALCS. He was repeatedly chased away by security, but the guy had plenty of pluck and kept coming back for more.

    The Indians and Red Sox complained to Manfred. An investigation was held and Wednesday night before Game 4 of the ALCS, the Astros were cleared of any wrongdoing. In a remarkable statement, Luhnow told reporters at Minute Maid Park that the Astros weren't really cheating. He said they were policing other teams' ballparks to see if they were cheating. Luhnow added that they uncovered evidence of unsavory doings.

    "We were playing defense, we were not playing offense," Luhnow told the media before Game 4.

    I'm still trying to get my head around that statement. So if I'm pool hustler and I walk into a pool room, I'm not really going in there to hustle a game of pool, I'm going there to see if anyone else is hustling a game. Either way, at least from all the movies I've watched, doesn't that guy end up in a back room with two broken thumbs?

    The Astros didn't even get a slap on the wrist. MLB said the matter was closed. Who knows, maybe they gave Luhnow his Junior G-man badge and told him to keep up the good work.

    A couple of things to ponder. If the Astros were only playing "defense" to make sure they weren't being taken advantage of by their opponents, what were they going to do with the information they gathered? Were they going to sing like canaries and give it to MLB? Were they going to hold it over the other team's head? Or simply compare the captured spyware with their spyware?

    There are 30 teams in the big leagues. They don't always get along. But in saying the Astros were policing suspicious activities by an untold number of their business partners, I'm guessing Luhnow may have cost himself some votes for GM of the Year even if the Astros defend their World Series title.

    Right now, they trail the Red Sox, 3-1.

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    The New York Giants play at the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Pittsburgh Steelers tightened the lead in the AFC North with a late come-from-behind victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last week. The Bengals and Ravens are now tied at 4-2 and the Steelers are 3-2-1 with the Browns at 2-3-1.

    Now the Bengals will try to rebound on Sunday night at the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs, who are coming off their first loss of the season at New England.

    Unless you live in Denver or Arizona, or are just starving for some Thursday Night Football, the 2-4 Broncos play at the 1-5 Cardinals. Although still early in the season, a loss by either team could mean the end for playoff hopes.

    The long time tradition of the Dallas Cowboys (3-3) and Washington (3-2) resumes on Sunday.

    The NFC East is jammed at the top (the Eagles are 3-3). The Giants (1-5) are on the outside looking in. But the game between the Cowboys and Washington is of interest because the Cowboys have recently dominated the series. The Cowboys have won eight of the last 10 meetings and four straight over the past two seasons

    NFL schedule


    Broncos at Cardinals, 8:20 pm., FOX/NFL Network/Amazon


    Titans at Chargers, 9:30 a.m., CBS
    Patriots at Bears, 1 p.m., CBS
    Panthers at Eagles, 1 p.m., FOX
    Vikings at Jets, 1 p.m., FOX
    Lions at Dolphins, 1 p.m., FOX
    Texans at Jaguars, 1 p.m., CBS
    Browns at Buccaneers, 1 p.m., FOX
    Bills at Colts, 1 p.m., CBS
    Saints at Ravens, 4:05 p.m., FOX
    Cowboys at Washington, 4:25 p.m., CBS
    Rams at 49ers, 4:25 p.m., CBS
    Bengals at Chiefs, 8:20 p.m., NBC


    Giants at Falcons, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

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    Gaines was replacing Terrance Mitchell, who's out with a broken wrist.

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns already had their work cut out facing the No. 1 passing offense in the NFL Sunday in Tampa.

    Now, it will be all that much tougher. Starting cornerback E.J. Gaines, who was replacing injured starter Terrance Mitchell (broken wrist), came to work Thursday morning complaining of concussion symptoms and was placed into the concussion protocol. He will sit out Sunday's game against the 2-3 Bucs.

    Coach Hue Jackson said T.J. Carrie will probably start opposite Denzel Ward.  The Browns will use Briean Boddy-Calhoun at nickel.

    "We understand what the challenge is,'' said Jackson. "They have 16 touchdown passes. That's how they score. They're going to throw the football.''

    Gaines has been playing well in place of Mitchell, who broke the wrist in Week 4 in Oakland. Having spent three of his previous four seasons playing for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with the Rams, Gaines knows this defense as well as anyone. 

    "It does help,'' Williams said earlier this month. "He's  been around and he knows our verbiage and he knows what I want."

    The 2-3 Bucs are No. 8 in points scored this season and are averaging 368.4 passing yards per game. They have a trio of big-time receivers in Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin, who have combined for 10 of the Bucs' 16 TD catches.

    How teams are defending Mayfield and other things we learned

    The Browns were already down one starter on defense in Joe Schobert, who will miss the game and probably several more with a pulled hamstring. They surrendered 38 points to the Chargers last week with Schobert and Gaines healthy.

    Other players not practicing on Thursday included center JC Tretter (ankle), receiver Rashard Higgins (knee) and Schobert.

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    Sugar Ray Leonard says Anthony Joshua's defining fight is against Deontay Wilder.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Canelo Alvarez did more than defeat Gennady Golovkin last month to unify their middleweight titles.

    That victory led Alvarez to cash in. On Wednesday, he signed a five-year, 11-fight deal worth a minimum of $365 million with the streaming service named DAZN.

    Alvarez will start right away on the Network. He moves up to super middleweight to fight Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden.

    The deal means Alvarez becomes the highest-paid athlete. The deal also means how boxing continues to expand from television, to cable to streaming services.

    The expansion is a plus for boxing.

    Floyd Mayweather

    Maybe this time Floyd Mayweather will stop teasing and actually return to the ring. Last month, Mayweather said he would return to fight Manny Pacquiao in December but it looks like Pacquiao will instead fight Adrien Broner in January.

    But that hasn't stopped Mayweather from making another announcement. In a recent interview, Mayweather says he'll return to the ring against MMA fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov.

    If this fight happens, it'll be Mayweather's second straight fight against an MMA fighter instead of a boxer. Mayweather won fight No. 50 when he defeated Conor McGregor, an MMA fighter, in 2017.

    Watch Party

    The Velvet Rope (2445 St. Clair, near downtown Cleveland) will host a watch party on Oct. 27 for the Alberto Machado (20-0) vs. Yuandale Evans (20-1) fight.

    Machado will defend the WBA super featherweight title. 

    Evans, of East Cleveland, won the WBC Continental Americas title last fall.

    Quick jabs

    This week in boxing history

    Oct. 20, 1979:  John Tate defeated Gerrie Coetzee by decision to win the vacant WBA heavyweight title.  

    Boxing schedule

    10 p.m., Thursday, (ESPN2/ESPN Deportes):

    • Jason Quigley vs. Freddy Hernandez, middleweights

    • Eddie Gomez vs. Shoki Sakai, welterweights

    • Rommel Caballero vs. Hugo Padron, junior lightweights

    • Rey Perez vs. Christian Gonzalez, rematch, lightweights

    5 p.m., Saturday, (DAZN):

    • Demetrius Andrade vs. Walter Kautondokwa, for vacant WBO middleweight title

    • Katie Taylor vs. Cindy Serrano, for Taylor's WBO/IBF women's lightweight title

    • Tevin Farmer vs. James Tennyson, for Farmer's IBF junior lightweight title

    6 p.m., (DAZN):

    • Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Jason Moloney, for Rodriguez's IBF bantamweight title, World Boxing Super Series quarterfinals

    • Yunier Dorticos vs. Mateusz Masternak, WBA cruiserweight eliminator, World Boxing Super Series quarterfinals

    • Keith Tapia vs. Mike Perez, cruiserweights

    10:30 p.m. (ESPN+):

    • Ryota Murata vs. Rob Brant, for Murata's WBA "regular" middleweight title

    • Maxim Dadashev vs. Antonio DeMarco, junior welterweights

    • Esquiva Falcao vs. Guido Pitto, middleweights

    • Michael Conlan vs. Nicola Cipolletta, featherweights

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    Urban Meyer provided some updates on his radio show Thursday. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State made a change at kicker last week when fifth-year senior Sean Nuernberger injured his groin during warmups against Minnesota.

    The Buckeyes are sticking with the change.

    Sophomore Blake Haubeil will kick at Purdue on Saturday night after making all three field goal attempts, including a 47-yarder, in last week's 30-14 win.

    "We have a lot of confidence in Blake," Urban Meyer said Thursday on his radio show. "He'll get the start Saturday. There's a thump when he hits that thing."

    The No. 4 ranked kicker in the Class of 2017, Haubeil was going to take over for Nuernberger next season, and he was already handling kickoff duties. If this sticks, he's just taking the field goals and extra points a little sooner than expected.

    Haubeil said Saturday he has range out to 60 yards. 

    As for other injuries, Meyer said left tackle Thayer Munford, who left the Minnesota game with a hip injury, is probable for Saturday. Munford hasn't yet practiced this week, but if he can go Thursday, he may be ready for the Boilermakers. Meyer also said Monday that Munford was sore, but probable. While missing practice isn't a good sign, a probable on Thursday means more than a probable on Monday.

    Meyer also made it sound like starting cornerback Damon Arnette will miss this week's game. Meyer indicated the same on Monday.

    Without Arnette, the Buckeyes would start Jeffrey Okudah and Kendall Sheffield, and you should expect that the usual three-man rotation at corner will become more like Sheffield and Arnette handling everything.

    Marcus Williamson would be the third corner in Arnette's absence. Shaun Wade will remain the slot cornerback and a backup safety, but asking him to also help at outside corner is likely too much to ask.

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    Trevor Bauer went on MLB Network after Wednesday's ALCS Game 4 and was... really good.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- If you're like me, you stayed awake into the wee hours of Thursday morning to watch the conclusion of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.

    You did so not out of some morbid sense of longing for a Cleveland Indians season that was cut all too short by an early playoff exit; rather, for the potentially glorious circus that was on tap as Tribe pitcher Trevor Bauer made his debut as a postgame analyst on MLB Network.

    And if you're like me, you were terribly disappointed with the results.

    To his credit, Bauer more than exceeded expectations in his on-air role. He was poised, insightful engaging and affable. Sharply dressed in a suit, Bauer seemed comfortable and confident in his own skin -- a far cry from the irascible gremlin that prowled the Indians clubhouse after his injury in August.

    He spoke knowledgably about the game, calling it one of the most exciting playoff games he's seen since World Series Game 5 last year in Houston. He praised the efforts of both Astros and Red Sox players, even mentioning individuals such as Alex Bregman and Mookie Betts without the slightest hint of sarcasm.

    But the antics that we've come to expect, and in some cases demand, of Bauer were nowhere to be found. Instead Bauer presented himself in the way some of us who get to see him behind the scenes have caught glimpses in the last two years: as one of the best pitchers in the American League with a vast stockpile of the intricate knowledge behind pitching mechanics and techniques.

    The insolent, churlish, petty frat boy personality was nowhere to be found.

    And to the credit of those at MLB Network, Bauer was pretty much kept on task as an analyst. In-studio hosts did not lead him down any paths that could have taken the postgame show off the rails.

    There was no talk of drones.

    He was not allowed to strap a GoPro camera on top of his head. (Though it's a near certainty that he wanted to.)

    No mention of drastically increased spin rates or sticky substances.

    He was never once allowed to refer to himself as "Tyler."

    There was no trolling with hashtags, and the numbers "69" and "420" were avoided at all costs.

    Does this mean Bauer has completely turned the corner? Has he moved past picking Twitter fights with opponents and fans in favor of a more polished persona that could be looked upon more favorably by Cy Young Award voters in years to come?

    Or is the impish Bauer a smokescreen that we've all fallen victim to for the past six seasons? Maybe in-studio Trevor is the real thing, and he's been hiding from us all along.

    Who knows? Only one thing is for certain: Bauer will again appear on MLB Network for the Thursday pregame show and have another chance to show us which Trevor is the real deal. And I, for one, can't wait to tune in and find out.

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    Landry knows he has to be the leader of this depleted receiving corps.

    BEREA, Ohio -- For Jarvis Landry, peeking at his phone these days is like going over the middle for a high pass: he knows he's going to get slammed.

    "I can't even go on my social media without somebody heckling me about (my numbers),'' he said. "So I honestly I've just kind turned it off, but that's what I've got to do. I have to stay focused and understand there's a bigger picture. What we're trying to accomplish, that stuff doesn't matter.''

    The heckling is over things like his two catches on nine targets for 11 yards against the Chargers, and his 11 catches in his 29 targets from Baker Mayfield over the last three games for 114 yards and two TDs.

    "I've got to stay out of the numbers,'' said Landry. "I've got to stay to out of the talk of (nine) targets, two catches and all of that. If you don't watch the game, you don't understand that some of the targets aren't catchable, are throwaways, and a lot of times if they're throwaways I put myself in a position to raise my hand like he was throwing it to me when he might've not been, just so we don't get an intentional grounding or whatever it is.

    "I've just got to keep my head focused on the task at hand and make the plays when they come. That's the biggest thing.''

    Mayfield has shouldered the blame for his lack of chemistry with Landry, saying he's the best receiver in the NFL and that he has to do a better job for him.

    "He puts that on himself, but I do think that he throws a lot of catchable balls,'' said Landry. "To take some of that away from him, I have to do a better job of catching them more and making the plays for him. I'm working really hard at that, trying to do that and trying to earn more and more of his trust every day in practice."

    Landry said he's been spending extra time with Mayfield to figure out how they work together better.

    "Honestly, just getting in the film room, looking at the tape, seeing the communication or if we missed how can we get better at it and knowing the spot to be in,'' he said. "That's really it."

    He said it's not just him and Mayfield in those sessions.

    "No, it's everybody,'' he said. "I like to go into detail. I like to know what he's thinking. I like to know what (Todd) Haley is thinking. That way, we all can be on the same page.''

    With the Browns depleted at the receiver position, it's been Landry and The Others of late. Against the Chargers, he was double-teamed a lot while rookies Antonio Callaway and Damion Ratley struggled early on. That opened things up for Ratley, who wound up catching six of eight targets for 82 yards with a long gain of 27 in his first NFL start. But it's been heck on Landry, who led the NFL with 112 receptions in Miami last year.

    "If you're a defensive coordinator and if there's one guy to stop and you just stop that one guy, your chances go up of winning the game, so why not try to stop that one guy and just see who else can beat you?'' Landry said. "So again like I said, everybody's going to have to make plays, the running game's going to have to get going, and we're going to have to be creative as an offense to find ways to give me one-on-one matchups and I've got to win those.''

    Landry became frustrated at times during the 38-14 loss to the Chargers, and couldn't seem to get his game turned around. Once or twice, he dropped catchable balls, including one he tried to one-hand. So how can offensive coordinator Todd Haley keep Landry in the game mentally when things aren't going well?

    "We have a lot of good conversations,'' said Haley. "It's very hard for a guy that's 'the guy,' so to speak, and gets a lot of opportunities. The most important thing with Jarvis is that he's one of the leaders of our team, and as frustrating as some things may be, there are things that he cannot control and he has to continue to be a leader for us and go out and take every snap as if it is the most important play of the game because it could be.

    "Like I said, he did not do it, but nobody else did it either, including us as coaches."

    Haley acknowledge that the other players have to step up to help take some of the pressure off of Landry.

    "That's been my line for a couple of weeks now,'' he said. "We have to have guys step in and step up. We don't need them to be superheroes. We just need them to just do their job.''

    He complimented Ratley for having a good game after Rod Streater went down with a season-ending neck injury.

    "That's the game of football, though,'' said Haley. "We can't cry about it.''

    At his current clip (31 catches, 392 yards, 1 TD), Landry will finish the season with 83 catches, far fewer than his league-leading 112 last year. He'll also catch only three TDs, also far fewer than the nine he had last year in his third straight Pro Bowl season. The analytics site has him ranked 60th among NFL receivers this season. His 31 catches on 66 targets are tied for 26th in the league and his 392 yards are 28th. His 12.6-yard average is 53rd.

    But it's the trend that's concerning. Over the past three games, he's caught only 11 passes -- about 3.6 per game -- for an average of 38 per game.

    "Everybody's going to have to step up,'' he said. "That's the biggest part for our offense, just understanding that, that everybody's going to have to step up and make plays at some point in time, whether it's one catch or whether it's five catches, somebody's going to have to step up and make plays.

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    Boddy-Calhoun and Corbett have been waiting for potential opportunities for different reasons.

    BEREA, Ohio -- The last time Briean Boddy-Calhoun played significant defensive snaps came in Week 1 against Pittsburgh.

    The last time Austin Corbett played center in a real game since he was a freshman in high school was at the Senior Bowl.

    The former will definitely get called upon to play this Sunday. It seems less likely with the latter, but we'll keep an eye on things.

    Let's start with Boddy-Calhoun.

    He played 62 snaps against Pittsburgh, working mostly against JuJu Smith-Schuster in the slot. Smith-Schuster had a huge game: five catches, 119 yards and a 67-yard catch and run that helped set up the Steelers' second touchdown of the game.

    "It was all technique-based," Boddy-Calhoun said of his Week 1 performance. "It wasn't anything glaring as far as my ability. I just know that it was more scheme stuff, leverage, things of that nature, not just him flat out beating me. When you get that, you've just got to go and be better in practice and study the details more."

    Since then, Boddy-Calhoun has played a total of 39 snaps, with 33 coming in Week 4 against Oakland when cornerback Terrance Mitchell broke his wrist.

    This has been a strange season for Boddy-Calhoun, a Swiss Army Knife in the secondary the last two seasons. His ability to play both inside and outside was a big plus and he started lining up at free safety last season, too.

    His role this year, at least after that first week, has been cut. He backs up Damarious Randall at safety and spends most of the rest of his time on special teams. T.J. Carrie has taken the bulk of the work at nickel.

    That all changed Thursday when cornerback E.J. Gaines went into the league's concussion protocol. Gaines, who took over for Mitchell, is most likely out on Sunday and that means Carrie will move over to his spot.

    That opens up playing time for Boddy-Calhoun, who said he gives himself a 'C' for his performance so far this season.

    "I plan on playing as an 'A,' 'A-plus,' 'A-plus-plus' whenever my number is called," he said. "It's just a challenge, just because I've played as a 'C' doesn't mean I'm going to continue to play as a 'C.' I've always been a highly confident guy, my coaches have confidence in me when I'm on the field."

    Austin CorbettAustin Corbett could get a shot to play center this week in the unlikely event that JC Tretter can't go against the Buccaneers. 

    On to the other position to watch.

    Corbett played center at last winter's Senior Bowl on the South team. He played the entire third quarter at the position. Prior to that, he hadn't snapped since he was on his freshman football team.

    Starting center JC Tretter suffered a high ankle sprain against the Chargers and has been wearing a walking boot on his left foot -- though don't read too much into that.

    "I would not be surprised if I was in the boot after the game, too," Tretter said. "I think it is one of those things that is going to linger probably for little bit. Just about trying to get it as right in the seven days that you have to get it ready for Sunday and then do the exact same thing the next week."

    Tretter sounded like someone getting ready to play when he spoke on Thursday. Head coach Hue Jackson sounded like he thinks Tretter will be able to go, too.

    "Still feel good about JC," Jackson said. "The plan was to not do too much, as much as we can. (Friday), I would like to see a little of something and then go from there."

    You just never know with these things, though, and that means Corbett has to be ready to go at a moment's notice.

    "I gotta prepare like he's not playing," Corbett said. "I really gotta make that my mindset that I'm ready to go for anything, cause if he can't go for whatever reason, I've got to be there and we can't miss a beat with me in there."

    Corbett, the No. 33 overall pick in April's draft, has been inactive twice this season and has seen time strictly as an extra lineman in the other. Up until about a week before the season opener, he was on his way to starting at left guard with Joel Bitonio starting at left tackle.

    The Browns made the last-minute decision to use Desmond Harrison at left tackle and moved Bitonio back to guard. That started the wheels on Corbett, a left tackle throughout his college career, moving to the backup center role, something that wasn't totally unexpected. He and Earl Watford are the Browns' two options behind Tretter.

    Corbett said he had a few bad snaps early on, but has gotten more comfortable over time.

    "Out there at tackle you're completely on your own a lot, you're on the island," he said. "In there at center you're running the show and at the same time you have help on both sides."

    Tretter said Corbett has taken all the practice reps at center to prepare the Browns' defense and Jackson said Corbett has handled this week well.

    "Every week, we have continued to push him like that," Jackson said. "I think that he has accepted that challenge. I think that if he has to play, he will go out and play well."

    One player looking to bounce back. Another waiting his turn. At least one of them will get a long-awaited opportunity this weekend against the Buccaneers.

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    While players routinely skip bowl games, many feel quitting midseason is selfish and goes against any promise made on National Signing Day.

    Ohio State's Nick Bosa, who is predicted to go high in the NFL Draft, decided to skip the rest of the season to focus on the draft. According to the Buckeyes, the star defensive lineman says it's a business decision. Some understand Bosa's need to protect his body in order to maximize his financial potential at the pro level. However, while players routinely skip bowl games, many feel quitting midseason is selfish and goes against any promise made on National Signing Day. What do you think? 


    When millions of dollars are on the line, no one wants to stay in a situation where you can lose it all on one play. Bosa isn't being selfish, he's protecting his value -- a decision that can set him, his children and his children's children for the rest of their lives. 

    Bosa would've taken 12 weeks to recover from his injury and was estimated to come back in mid-December. There is no point in him staying with the team. It's not selfish and more players should take steps to protect themselves if they have an NFL future.

    When a college football player signs a scholarship contract, that's a promise to stay committed to the team. People can defend Bosa all they want, but the truth of the matter is that he quit on his team and everyone at Ohio State. 

    Bosa could've gone through rehab with the team and still prepared for the draft. He could've stayed in school and worked toward a degree. But no, he quit instead. Other players should not be as selfish as Bosa. They need to honor their commitments and stay with their teams.

    Column: Bosa, his tough choice and can OSU win without him?

    The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.


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    Check here for the live second-round leaderboard for the PGA Tour's The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges 2018 in South Korea.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Chez Reavie (4-under) led by one shot entering the second round of the PGA Tour's CJ Cup at Nine Bridges 2018 this week in South Korea. Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim were tied for second.  

    Marc Leishman, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Alex Noren, Adam Scott, Ryan Armour and Ian Poulter are among notables in the field.

    Site: Jeju Island, South Korea.
    Course: Club at Nine Bridges. Yardage: 7,196. Par: 72.
    Purse: $9.5 million. Winner's share: $1,710,000.
    Television: Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Golf Channel).
    Defending champion: Justin Thomas.
    FedExCup leader: Kevin Tway.
    Last week: Marc Leishman won the CIMB Classic.
    Notes: Brooks Koepka plays his first event since being voted PGA Tour player of the year. He also will be in Shanghai next week for the HSBC Champions. ... Thomas won the inaugural tournament in a playoff over Marc Leishman. ... The field includes 54 players who were in Malaysia last week for the CIMB Classic. ... Among those making their 2018-19 season debut are Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama and Ian Poulter. ... The $9.5 million purse trails only The Players Championship, the World Golf Championships and the majors on the PGA Tour schedule. ... Marc Leishman has won three of his four tournaments in the last 19 months. ... Shubhankar Sharma of India, tied for the 54-hole lead in Malaysia, tied for ninth. He is leading the Order of Merit on the Asian Tour.
    Next week: WGC-HSBC Champions and Sanderson Farms Championship.

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)

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    Mayfield doesn't have much in the way of weapons at the moment. Can he elevate what he does have?

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns are off to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend. It could be a shootout -- at least if Baker Mayfield can overcome a thinning wide receiving corps to keep up with Tampa's explosive offense.


    Mary Kay Cabot and I talked about that on the Thursday before the game in this edition of the Orange and Brown Talk podcast presented by Sibling Revelry Brewery.

    We also discussed:

    • The Browns wide receivers.
    • Will John Dorsey make a move at receiver?
    • Why isn't Duke Johnson getting the ball more?
    • The defense dealing with injuries.

    Want our podcasts delivered directly to your phone? We have an Apple podcasts channel exclusively for this podcast. Subscribe to it here. You can also subscribe on Google Play and listen on Spotify. Search Orange and Brown Talk podcast or click here.

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    Check here for video highlights from NBA games of Thursday, Oct. 18.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Los Angeles Lakers, in their first regular-season game with LeBron James, lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, 128-119, Thursday, Oct. 18, in Portland, Ore. Damian Lillard scored 28 for the Blazers, who have won 16 in a row in the series.

    LeBron scored 26 (9-of-16 shooting) and had 12 rebounds, six assists and six turnovers in 37 minutes.

    In the two games earlier Thursday, the host Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Chicago Bulls, 127-108, and the visiting Miami Heat topped the Washington Wizards, 113-112.

    Joel Embiid scored 30 for the 76ers, who rebounded from an opening-night loss at Boston on Tuesday.

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    The Cleveland Cavaliers will try to bounce back after a season-opening loss, as they continue their road trip against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

    MINNEAPOLIS -- The Cleveland Cavaliers will try to bounce back after a season-opening loss, as they continue their road trip against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. 

    When: 8 p.m.

    Where: Target Center

    TV: FoxSports Ohio

    Radio: WTAM 1100 AM; WMMS 100.7 FM, La Mega 87.7 FM.

    Online: FoxSports Go apps

    Last meeting: The Cavs won 140-138 in overtime, as former Cavalier LeBron James hit the game-winning jumper on Feb. 7, 2018. 

    Cavs minute: Cleveland lost its opener against the Toronto Raptors, 116-104, on Wednesday night. ... Five players (Kevin Love, Cedi Osman, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and George Hill) reached double figures in the loss. ... Osman recorded his first career double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. ... The Cavs hold a 7-1 record against Minnesota since the 2014-15 season, outscoring them by an average of 10.0 points. ... Kyle Korver is 30 points away from reaching 11,000 for his career. ... JR Smith (573 made 3-pointers) is six triples shy of moving past Daniel Gibson (578 3FGM) for 5th place in the team's record book. Smith missed the opener with right elbow soreness. He is not listed on the injury report. ... Larry Nance Jr. (sprained ankle) is also off the injury report after being sidelined for the preseason finale and Wednesday's game against the Raptors. ... Love spent six seasons with the Timberwolves before a blockbuster trade brought him to Cleveland in 2014. In five games against his old team, Love is averaging 13.6 points -- his lowest against any NBA opponent -- and 8.8 rebounds in 31.6 minutes. 

    Timberwolves minute: Minnesota, a playoff team last season, is coming off a four-point loss against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night. ... Friday night marks the Timberwolves' home opener. They have won two straight home openers and 19 of the last 23. ... The Wolves returned all five starters from last season's opener, the first time in franchise history they've repeated an Opening Night quintet. ... Jeff Teague led the Wolves in scoring on Wednesday, tallying 27 points, while Jimmy Butler added 23 and Andrew Wiggins chipped in with 20 -- becoming the first trio of Wolves to reach 20-plus points in a season opener since 1997. ... Wiggins, drafted first-overall by the Cavaliers in 2014 before being sent to Minnesota in the Love blockbuster, has tormented Cleveland during his career. In eight games against the Cavs, Wiggins is averaging 27.9 points on 54.6 percent from the field and 48.9 percent from 3-point range. 

    Probable starters:


    F Kevin Love

    F Cedi Osman

    C Tristan Thompson

    G Rodney Hood

    G George Hill


    F Taj Gibson

    F Andrew Wiggins

    C Karl-Anthony Towns

    G Jimmy Butler

    G Jeff Teague

    See Cavs stats

    See Timberwolves stats 

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