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Dallas fires Johnson after short playoff run

May 01, 2008|From the Associated Press

The Dallas Mavericks fired coach Avery Johnson on Wednesday after flopping in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year.

Johnson, 43, leaves with an impressive resume after three-plus seasons, but Mavericks owner Mark Cuban couldn't tolerate two straight years of first-round exits -- or the fact that Dallas has gone 3-12 in the playoffs since blowing a 2-0 lead in the 2006 NBA Finals against Miami.

"This is something that needed to happen," said Johnson, who had three years left on his contract. "There's no animosity or bitterness. We all still really care about each other, but it was time to go in a different direction."

The final mark during Johnson's tenure: 194-70 in the regular season, 23-24 in the playoffs.

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Phoenix Suns General Manager Steve Kerr acknowledged differences with Coach Mike D'Antoni but insisted he wants him back for a fifth season despite the team's first-round playoff loss to San Antonio.

Kerr also denied an SI.com report Tuesday night that said D'Antoni would not return.

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Seattle SuperSonics swingman Kevin Durant will be announced today as the NBA rookie of the year, the Associated Press said.

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Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce, fined $25,000 for what the NBA called a "menacing gesture" toward Atlanta forward Al Horford during Game 3, denied that it was gang-related, saying, "I 100% do not in any way promote gang violence or anything close to it."

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