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SONICS

On the eve of what might be the most important game of George Karl's coaching career in Seattle, he said he was "angry."

Then he refused to say why.

Presumably, it has something to do with his future as coach of the Sonics, who host the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 5 of a first-round playoff series today.

"I'm angry, I'm angry, there's no question that this guy's angry," Karl said. "There's a lot why I'm angry, but I'm not going to go there. I'm just angry."

Before the playoffs got under way, owner Barry Ackerley pointed out that Boston, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sonics were the only teams in NBA history to have won 55 or more games a season for six consecutive years.

"Where are my rings?" Ackerley asked. "Boston's got rings. L.A. has got rings. Where are my rings? I didn't get a ring."

If the Sonics lose to the Wolves at the Key Arena, where they've lost to them twice already this season, it could be Karl's final game with the Sonics. His contract runs out on July 1.

BLAZERS: Eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers a second straight year, Portland will shift its attention to re-signing Damon Stoudamire, the player looked to for the leadership this brash, often undisciplined team needs.

"We can't talk until July 1," Blazers president Bob Whitsitt said. "But once we get to July 1, that's something we're definitely committed to doing."

Stoudamire and the Blazers had at least a general idea of what a new contract would entail when he was traded to Portland from Toronto Feb. 13.

"I don't think they traded three players to get me here and have me leave, so I don't think it's going to be that hard," Stoudamire said. "Bob and I are on the same page."

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