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Florida fires coach Dan Mullen in fourth season as Gators implode one year after winning SEC East

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Florida fired coach Dan Mullen on Sunday after the Gators fell to 2-6 in SEC play, their worst conference winning percentage in a season since 1979. The program announced it was parting ways with Mullen and running backs coach Greg Knox will serve as the Gators interim coach. A press conference with Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.

It was a dramatic fall for Mullen, who led Florida to the SEC Championship Game and a third straight New Year’s Six bowl appearance last season. However, the Gators have lost four straight games against FBS opponents and are 2-9 against Power Five teams dating back to the final three games of the 2020 season. Florida nearly upset then-No. 1 Alabama in The Swamp back in September but has consecutively lost at Kentucky, at LSU, at South Carolina and at Missouri with a tough 34-7 defeat in the annual Florida-Georgia game. The Gators’ lone win since early October came 70-52 against Samford, a game in which Florida allowed a program-record 42 points in the first half … to an at-the-time 4-5 FCS team.

Mullen rode plenty of hype into Florida when he took over in 2018. He had led Mississippi State to its best stretch in program history from 2009-17 with the Bulldogs going 69-49 with eight straight bowl appearances. Mullen was also a “coming home” hire as the Gators’ star offensive coordinator under coach Urban Meyer who led a transcendent offense that helped win the program’s last two national championships in 2006 and 2008.

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Florida went 22-5 (11-5 SEC) over Mullen’s first two seasons with a pair of New Year’s Six bowl game victories. The Gators put together a record-setting offense in 2020 that kept them in College Football Playoff contention deep into the season before they unraveled in an upset loss to LSU and close defeat at the hands of Alabama in the SEC title game. Florida was then blown out 55-20 by Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, a game that may have served as a harbinger for what was to come this season as UF sat a number of its star players for various reasons.





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Can Blake Griffin Give The Celtics What They Need?

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(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

 

This has not been a good offseason for the Boston Celtics.

It started off well when they traded for Malcolm Brogdon, who should be a big boon for them this season, and then signed veteran forward Danilo Gallinari.

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Last season, Boston’s bench was weak offensively, especially during their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, and the arrival of Brogdon and Gallinari made it the favorite in the minds of many to return to the championship series.

Alas, Gallinari tore his ACL and is presumed to be out for all of the new season.

Then came the Ime Udoka scandal, which resulted in him being suspended by the organization, and his coaching future is very much up in the air.

To bolster their bench, the Celtics signed veteran Blake Griffin a few days ago.

Griffin is not exactly the high-fly act he was several years ago, but over the past season or two, he gave the Brooklyn Nets some decent spot duty, mostly off the bench.

At age 33, some say he’s washed up, while others think that, in the right environment, he can be a solid contributor.

 

A Look At Griffin’s Recent History

In the early-to-mid 2010s, the 6-foot-9 big man was a central part of the Los Angeles Clippers’ “Lob City” teams that were perennial contenders.

But they failed to reach the Western Conference Finals, and when they decided to blow it up and start over, Griffin was sent packing to the Detroit Pistons.

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He shook off some recent injuries to post 24.5 points a game during the 2018-19 season, which earned him his first All-Star bid in four years.

However, his game fell off precipitously the following year, when he only managed 15.5 points per contest, and midway through the 2020-21 campaign, Detroit waived him.

He was picked up by the Brooklyn Nets, and he looked revitalized, as his shooting percentages went way up, and he threw down 18 dunks for Brooklyn in 26 contests with it that year.

Earlier in the season, he had zero dunks as a member of the Pistons.

But last season, he regressed again, putting up only 6.4 points in 17.1 minutes a game while shooting only 42.5 percent from the field and 26.2 percent from 3-point range.

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What Do The Celtics Need From Griffin?

Boston needs accurate 3-point shooting, screens and picks, rebounding and defense from Griffin if he is to entrench himself in its rotation.

He has never been a shot blocker, but by bringing the effort defensively, he can endear himself to interim head coach Joe Mazzulla.

In the last seven seasons, he has shot over 36 percent from downtown only once, and that came in the 2018-19 campaign when he perked up to 36.2 percent.

If he does so again, he can space the floor for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as well as for Brogdon, who likes to get into the paint and score.

Right now, the Celtics are relying on Sam Hauser and Grant Williams to give it scoring off the bench in the frontcourt, and neither are proven scorers.

But Griffin is, and if he is spry enough, he will give the team an adequate enough bench to make another run at the finals.

The post Can Blake Griffin Give The Celtics What They Need? appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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3 NFL Teams Who Got Much Needed Wins In Week 4

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Things are already tight in the NFL with week four coming to a close.

With the wild week nearly behind us, there’s been some shake-ups with teams in the NFL.

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Some used the week to climb in the standings, while others maintained their leads.

As week four comes to a close on Monday night, which three teams got much needed wins during this past week?

 

3. Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals opened the week dangerously close to becoming 1-3.

However, the team was lucky to escape their Thursday night game with a victory against the Miami Dolphins.

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They did everything right, as their defense came away with two critical interceptions.

Vonn Bell‘s second interception ended the Dolphins’ drive to go ahead late in the fourth quarter.

But that wasn’t the only thing the Bengals got right on Thursday night.

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Their offensive line did a great job of protecting quarterback Joe Burrow.

As they only allowed one sack of Burrow, it helped keep the game close and their QB upright.

The win, which puts them at 2-2, puts them in a three-way tie in the AFC North.

After a poor start, the win gives them hope to contend in the AFC North with the Ravens and Browns.

 

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2. Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings came into their London game against the New Orleans Saints needing a win.

While they were 2-1, winning against the Saints gives them the top spot in the NFC North.

Their dramatic win over the Saints now puts them at 3-1, as they lead the NFC North via a tiebreaker with the Green Bay Packers.

During the game, the Vikings got everything they needed from their new top receiver, Justin Jefferson.

The young star finished with ten receptions for 147 yards while getting a rushing TD on a three yard run.

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That touchdown run gave the Vikings the lead and helped them win that game.

Now the Vikings head home to face the Chicago Bears for week five of the season.

 

1. Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills came into the 2022 season with all the hype behind them.

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They were the favorites to reach the Super Bowl from the AFC.

However, they almost left Baltimore with a 2-2 record, something the Super Bowl favorites didn’t need.

While the Bills secondary is dealing with injuries, they still picked off Lamar Jackson twice in the second half.

One of those interceptions gave the Bills the win, as they prevented Jackson from scoring in the red zone.

Their goal line stand with under five minutes in the fourth quarter made an enormous difference.

Had they allowed the Ravens to score, they might have lost the game.

However, the win puts them tied with the Miami Dolphins.

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While the Dolphins own the tiebreaker, the Dolphins losing Tua Tagovailoa to a head injury gives the Bills a chance to get back on top of the AFC East.

With the Bills at 3-1, they can continue to appear as Super Bowl contenders.

But if they would have lost, people might have thought the Bills were simply pretenders.

The post 3 NFL Teams Who Got Much Needed Wins In Week 4 appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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James Wiseman Gave Warriors A Preview Of How He Can Help Them

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(Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)

 

On Friday, the NBA’s first preseason game of the new season took place between the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards in Tokyo.

The game itself was rather ugly, as one may expect a preseason game to be – both teams shot under 37 percent, with the Warriors winning 96-87.

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Klay Thompson didn’t play, while Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins went a combined 2-of-18 from the field.

However, the notable aspect of the contest was the play of center James Wiseman, who played in his first NBA game since suffering a knee injury late in the 2020-21 season.

Coming off the bench, he played 24 minutes and put up 20 points and nine rebounds.

It was a glimpse of how he can help the Warriors be even more unstoppable this season.

 

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Wiseman Is The Big Man The Warriors Have Always Needed

During the Curry era, the Warriors have won four world championships, but they have always been mediocre or even weak in the middle.

Their starting centers over the last eight years have been unremarkable men such as Andrew Bogut, Zaza Pachulia and Kevon Looney, all of whom did little more than grab a few rebounds, set some picks and play some defense.

Wiseman can do all that and then some.

He is a strong scorer inside the paint, as he is capable of throwing down strong dunks in the face of a defender.

His nine rebounds is proof he can help Golden State limit teams to one shot, which is one of the big keys to their deadly transition game.

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Speaking of its transition game, Wiseman can get out on the fast break and finish.

On Saturday, the Warriors and Wizards faced off again, and Wiseman didn’t play well, going just 2-of-7 from the floor for eight points and three rebounds and 18 minutes.

But he did flash another aspect of his game by hitting a 3-pointer.

As a rookie during the 2020-21 season, Wiseman didn’t shoot well from downtown, hitting just 31.6 percent from that distance, but it’s a part of his game he could improve on.

The Warriors have never really had an inside threat offensively over the past several years, as they’ve been primarily a perimeter-oriented team that relies on lots of screens and ball movement to create good looks in their set offense.

But with Wiseman posting up on occasion and being a threat to catch the ball and finish in the paint, it could get Curry and Thompson easier looks from 3-point land.

 

Wiseman Can Help Extend Golden State’s Championship Window

Curry is 34 while Thompson and Draymond Green are both 32, and while none of them are old, head coach Steve Kerr needs to start thinking about conserving them a bit during the regular season.

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The best way to do so is to rely more on younger players, especially offensively.

Wiseman is not going to score a lot of points, at least during this phase of his career, but by having the occasional 20-point game, as he did on Friday, he can allow Curry, Thompson and Green to coast a little more, which would allow them to stay fresh for the playoffs and perhaps even add an extra year to their respective primes.

The post James Wiseman Gave Warriors A Preview Of How He Can Help Them appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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