In the news:
Struggling Nets fire coach Avery Johnson
Coach of the month in November, out of a job by New Year's. The Brooklyn Nets have elevated expectations this season, and a . 500 record wasn't good...
NEW YORK — Coach of the month in November, out of a job by New Year's.
The Brooklyn Nets have elevated expectations this season, and a .500 record wasn't good enough. Coach Avery Johnson was fired Thursday, his team having lost 10 of 13 games after a strong start to its first season in Brooklyn.
"We don't have the same fire now than we did when we were 11-4," general manager Billy King said at a news conference in East Rutherford, N.J. "I tried to talk to Avery about it, and we just can't figure it out. The same pattern kept on happening."
Assistant P.J. Carlesimo will coach the Nets on an interim basis, starting Friday night with a home game against Charlotte. King said the Nets might reach out to other candidates, but for now the job was Carlesimo's. The GM wouldn't comment on a report that the team planned to get in touch with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
King said the decision to dismiss Johnson was made by ownership after a phone discussion Thursday morning. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov had expressed faith in Johnson before the season.
Johnson was in the final year of a three-year, $12 million contract.
"It's a really disappointing day for me and my family. It's my wife's birthday. It's not a great birthday gift," said Johnson, whose team had fallen 6 ½ games behind the first-place New York Knicks. "I didn't see this coming. But this is ownership's decision."
• The Los Angeles Clippers extended their winning streak to 15 games, beating visiting Boston 106-77. Former Rainier Beach High of Seattle standout Jamal Crawford scored 17 off the bench for the Clippers in 23 ½ minutes.
• New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton won't need surgery on his broken right pinkie finger and is expected to miss at least a month.
• Miami guard Dwyane Wade was suspended one game without pay by the NBA for flailing his leg and making contact with the groin of Charlotte's Ramon Sessions in Wednesday's game. Wade will serve the suspension Friday when the Heat visits Detroit.
• Kevin Durant scored 40 to lead Oklahoma City to a 111-105 overtime victory over Dallas. The Thunder trailed by eight entering the final quarter.
• Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard was fined $35,000 for a flagrant foul Wednesday.