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Raptors fire head coach Dwane Casey after 59-win season, No. 1 seed in East

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Raptors fire head coach Dwane Casey after 59-win season, No. 1 seed in East

The No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and a franchise-record 59 wins were not enough to save Dwane Casey's job, as the Toronto Raptors have decided to fire their head coach following another early playoff exit.

The Raptors beat the Wizards in the first round, but then got swept by the Cavaliers in the second round. Though Casey has had tremendous success with Toronto in the regular season, the postseason has been a different story and often because of LeBron James.

The Raptors have been bounced in the playoffs by the LeBron-led Cavs in each of the past three years. Cleveland has marched to the NBA Finals in three straight seasons, dispatching the Raptors and other Eastern Conference powers along the way. They may be headed towards their fourth straight Finals and for James that would mean eight in a row.

Getting swept certainly did Casey no favors. The disastrous end of their playoff run raised questions about whether the Raptors are getting further and not closer to beating James. They are seeking a playoff breakthrough and the current path isn't going to cut it.

It seems unlikely, however, that coaching is the problem. James is an all-time great and to beat him in the playoffs generally requires multiple top-shelf superstars. Though DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are All-Stars, and though they now have one of the deepest benches in basketball behind them, clearly the Raptors do not have enough.

A coach alone is not going to make the difference between a sweep and a series win against a player as good as James. That is not how the NBA usually works. They only have so much control over the game.

The Raptors' GM Masai Ujiri said just this week that Toronto is not going to undergo a rebuild. They won 59 games, so that is understandable. But clearly they need to make some significant roster changes if they are going to achieve their playoff goals.

As for Casey's future, there are four current head coaching vacancies. The two best openings are in Milwaukee and Detroit with the Bucks job being the better of the two because of Giannis Antetokounmpo. The other two jobs are Orlando and Atlanta, which have a long way to go to regain relevancy.

Coaching Antetokounmpo would give Casey a player who might someday soon be capable of outdoing James in a playoff series. DeRozan and Lowry could never reach that level during his tenure.

When it comes to the Raptors, maybe ex-Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer would make sense. He's a good coach, but it's not like he has had great success against James and the Cavs, either.

There have been many good teams that just could not solve James. The Raptors are one of them and Casey has become the latest to lose his job because of it.

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Plenty of all-time statistical milestones in sight for Wall, Beal and company

Plenty of all-time statistical milestones in sight for Wall, Beal and company

Last season alone saw John Wall set the Wizards/Bullets franchise records for career assists and steals, as well as the mark for assists in a single season. Bradley Beal moved all the way up to second in franchise history for career threes.

This year should produce plenty of milestones for the Wizards, if their players continue their recent career pace. Here is a look at some milestones to expect from Wall, Beal, Dwight Howard and others…

John Wall

— is likely to move into the top 40 all-time for career assists this season (he’s currently 64th). He averaged 783.3 per season from 2014-17, that pace would push him past Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Walt Frazier and others this year

— is currently 10th on franchise list for games played, only five games behind Phil Chenier. A full 82-game season would put Wall at fourth in franchise history and push him past guys like Jeff Malone, Gus Johnson and Brendan Haywood

— is 559 minutes away from 20,000. Only two players in franchise history have reached that mark with the team: Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes

—  is 409 points from passing Unseld (10,624) for third on franchise scoring list

— is 73 steals away from 1,000

Bradley Beal

—  is seven three-pointers away from passing Gilbert Arenas (868) for the most threes made in franchise history; based on his current pace, Beal could hit his 1,000thcareer three this season

— Beal could become one of only eight players to reach 1,000 threes by the end of their seventh NBA season. That list includes James Harden, Stephen Curry, Ray Allen, Klay Thompson and Damian Lillard

-is 241 three-point attempts away from passing Arenas (2,430) for most in franchise history

Dwight Howard

— is only one point away from 18,000, he should get to 19,000 this season; Howard is 383 points from passing Tracy McGrady (18,381), 824 from passing Isiah Thomas (18,822), 942 from passing Scottie Pippen (18,940)

— if he plays a full 82-game season, Howard will pass these players in career games played: Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Manu Ginobli, George Gervin and Charles Barkley

— is 79 minutes away from passing Unseld on the all-time list, with a full season he could move into the top 50 all-time for minutes played

— is 648 rebounds from passing Hakeem Olajuwon (13,748) for 14th all-time, is 669 from surpassing Unseld (13,769) for 13th; Howard has already passed Shaquille O’Neal, Barkley, Dennis Rodman, Patrick Ewing and others

— is 40 blocks away from passing Manute Bol (2,086) for 17th all-time, is 73 from passing Shawn Bradley (2,119) for 16th, is 91 from eclipsing Ben Wallace (2,137) for 15th

Otto Porter

—  is 77 threes away from 500

Austin Rivers

— is 88 threes away from 500, 13 assists away from 1,000, 174 rebounds away from 1,000 and 105 minutes away from 10,000

Pro Basketball Reference was used for this research


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Wizards' John Wall hilariously reacts to NFL kicking struggles: 'Put me in coach'

Wizards' John Wall hilariously reacts to NFL kicking struggles: 'Put me in coach'

The NFL’s kickers had a rough weekend with both the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings missing last-second field goals, which could have saved their teams.

If you weren’t rooting for either of these teams to win, this weekend’s struggles were quite comical, and John Wall got a kick out of it. Literally.

The Washington Wizards point guard had a good laugh at the expense of the Browns’ and Vikings’ kickers -- -- and in his Instagram story Sunday, he posted a video of himself showing off his kicking skills with the caption, “Put me in coach”.

“You see the [expletive] that’s going on today? I could get a job!” Wall says while kicking and laughing. “Far right, it’s no good!”

Looking for their first win since 2016, the Browns had the ball and trailed the New Orleans Saints, 21-18, with eight seconds left in the fourth quarter. Kicker Zane Gonzalez missed a 52-yard field goal that went wide right, and the Saints won. It was Gonzalez’s second missed field goal of the day – along with two extra points – which cost his team a total of eight points. The Browns waived him Monday.

Also Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings road game against the Green Bay Packers, Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson missed all three of his field goal attempts, including two in overtime, both of which were wide right.

Packers kicker Mason Crosby also missed an overtime field goal – though this one was wide left – and the game ended in a 29-29 tie.

Maybe John Wall should give football a shot.