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Magic Fires Rivers After 1-10 Start

November 19, 2003|From Associated Press

The worst start in the 15-year history of the Orlando Magic cost Doc Rivers his job, the first coaching casualty of an NBA season that has barely begun.

Only a few hours after Rivers talked to reporters about how management had stuck behind him despite a 1-10 start, he was fired and replaced by assistant Johnny Davis.

General Manager John Gabriel delivered the news late Monday night at the team's hotel in Salt Lake City after the Magic's loss to Utah. Assistant Dave Wohl also was fired.

"It is part of sports," Rivers said. "I thought I had a good run here. Things just didn't work out in the end. Maybe the players need to hear another voice."

Rivers, 171-168 in four-plus seasons, was named NBA coach of the year in his first season after directing a team that had four non-drafted starters to a 42-42 record. The Magic reached the playoffs in the last three of Rivers' four seasons but was ousted in the first round.

"I'll go home, walk in the house and reintroduce myself to my family," Rivers, 42, said. "I'll see what I want to do. There'll be some options."

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Portland Trail Blazer guard Bonzi Wells was suspended for two games without pay and stripped of his co-captain's title by the team for cursing Coach Maurice Cheeks after being taken out in the third quarter of Monday's loss at Dallas.

"It just gets old. I'm sick of it," Cheeks said. "I'm sick of always saying he didn't mean it and all that. Players have to be accountable for what they do and what they say."

On Nov. 4, Wells was fined for making an obscene gesture toward a Portland fan.

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