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Kentucky's kids suit Calipari; not kids in Kings' front office

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Kentucky's kids suit Calipari; not kids in Kings' front office

A lot of rumors will circulate about who will be the next coach of the Sacramento Kings, with the assumption that George Karl is a lame duck with is firing inevitable. But Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk.com pours cold water on the notion that John Wall's college coach is next in line.

According to Helin, who talked to a person with knowledge of the situation, the initial report about Kings owner Vivek Ranadive being prepared to make John Calipari a supposed offer that he can't refuse next summer is untrue.

Calipari is king at the University of Kentucky where he's competing for national championships every year. He had a failed bid in the NBA with the Nets, whom he coached from 1996-98, with a 72-112 record.

If Calipari were so inclined to return to the pros, it probably would be in a far more stable situation to rectify that failure rather than with Ranadive's troubled franchise in Sacramento where the star player DeMarcus Cousins has clashed with Karl. Cousins went to Kentucky, as did 2015 lottery pick Willie Cauley-Stein. 

But the ownership under Ranadive has been nothing short of a circus, with front-office novice Vlade Divac as a GM and vice president who has chided Karl publicly and clearly doesn't like him. The Kings also are 5-9.

Unless Ranadive were to offer Calipari a healthy ownership stake in the franchise there's no plausible reason why he -- or anyone of the coach's reputation or caliber -- should take such a job.

Ranadive, after all, told his previous coach Mike Malone, who was fired against the will of his players early last season for being 11-13 without an injured Cousins, to consider playing four players on defense vs. five while using a cherry-picker to get layups on the other end. The reason? It worked for Ranadive when coaching his daughter's middle-school basketball games.

Despite knowing this, Karl's hubris blinded him and he wanted this job. He desperately wanted to coach in the NBA again after getting fired by the Denver Nuggets in 2013 following a 57-win season and Coach of the Year honors.

He'd have been better off waiting because coaching gigs in the NBA come open routinely. The Kings have talent worth coaching, but it's about more than just on the floor. It's the support system, the "team" behind the scenes, which is why some places are more desirable to coach than others. Everyone realizes that this is a hired-to-be-fired position.

Ranadive is a brilliant businessman, a self-made software billionaire, but has yet to figure out his lane and how to stay in it when it comes to basketball. For him to tell a coach like Karl, who has been on NBA sidelines since 1984, played for Dean Smith and the North Carolina Tar Heels and then spent five years in the NBA as a player, how to do his job is insulting. That's like Karl telling Ranadive how to run his software businesses. 

Ranadive will keep striking out to find a credible coach if this continues unless that coach is a "yes" man which will immediately make him no longer credible. When your franchise is respected -- think the Oklahoma City Thunder when they lured Billy Donovan from the University of Florida -- you don't have to beg a coach to come. These Kings, however, will spend a lot of time on their knees.

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards squeeze by Pistons 97-95: Five takeaways

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 5: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 5: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

GAME 5: WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT TORONTO RAPTORS

Series: Series tied 2-2
Where: Air Canada Centre
Tip-off: 7:02 p.m. (earlier tipoff than usual)
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Pivotal game

The Wizards have done their part in winning both games at home to even up this series at 2-2. Now comes Game 5, which could very well determine who takes this series.

Winners of Game 5 in a seven-game series tied at 2-2 hold a 164-34 (.828) record all-time. That means teams that lose Game 5 come back to win the final two games and the series only 17.2 percent of the time.

The Wizards need to get this one and they know all too well why. Last year they were in this same position in their second round series against the Boston Celtics. They went down 0-2, won the next two games but then lost Game 5 and ultimately the series in seven games.

Road warriors

The Wizards will also have to do something they have yet to do in a while in Game 5 and that is win on the road. Though they have won eight straight home postseason games, they have lost their last six on the road. It goes back to that Celtics series when Washington lost all four games in Boston. The last time they won on the road in the playoffs was Game 6 last year against the Hawks.

The Raptors are particularly tough in Toronto. They were 34-7 this season at home, tied with the Houston Rockets for the best record in the NBA. 

The recent historical odds are also in Toronto's favor. Since 2003, the home team has won each of the first four games in a seven-game series 35 times. In those series, the home team has held a Game 5 record of 22-13 and a series record of 26-9. If the Raptors get Game 5, history will be on their side to go on to win the series.

Can Otto get going?

Games 3 and 4 in Washington saw All-Star Bradley Beal break out to score 28 and 31 points. Will we see the same from Otto Porter before this series is over?

Game 4 seemed to suggest that is possible. After scoring only one point in the first half, Porter erupted for 10 points in the third quarter alone. Though he only scored 12 points in the game overall, it was the most aggressive we have seen him all series.

Porter is averaging just 10.3 points per game through four playoff games. He is shooting 50 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from three, and as long as the Wizards are winning he won't complain, but Porter can do much more than that on offense. If he starts scoring more, the Wizards will be tough to stop.

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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WALL HAS REACHED PEAK FORM AMAZINGLY QUICK

WALL IS BOYCOTTING DRAKE'S MUSIC DURING SERIES

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes, Travis Thomas and Julie Donaldson reset the series and looked ahead to Game 5.

They were joined by TSN Sports anchor Kayla Grey to find out the Toronto perspective. The Wizards have all the momentum in this series, now they just have to keep it going.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!