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Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009

Hornets pull plug on Scott

WESTWEGO, La. (AP) The New Orleans Hornets fired Byron Scott only nine games into the season on Thursday and replaced him with general manager Jeff Bower, hoping the man who put the current roster together can get more out of it on the court.

"I told Jeff, 'The genie's out of the bottle,' " Hornets chief operating officer Hugh Weber said. "Nobody can say he doesn't have the right players. . . . Jeff has hand-selected this team, and we like the idea that now he'll be held accountable for the results.

"Our expectations are high. Our sense of urgency is high. Our patience is low and we hope that translates into results quickly."

Scott, who only two seasons ago was the NBA coach of the year, was fired one day after a 124-104 loss at Phoenix dropped New Orleans to 3-6.

Bower, who will remain general manager while in his first head coaching job, immediately moved to name Tim Floyd his top assistant and said other assistants will be retained as well.

Floyd, a former Chicago Bulls and Hornets head coach, most recently coached at Southern California. He led USC to three straight NCAA tournament appearances, then resigned last June amid allegations he paid to have O.J. Mayo play for the Trojans. An NCAA investigation of the matter is ongoing.

Bower was Floyd's assistant coach with the Hornets during the 2003-04 season, and the two are still friends.

"I have a high comfort level with Tim, who has proven himself to be a quality coach, who has proven himself to have some very specific areas that he's outstanding in," Bower said.

The Hornets were 41-41 in Floyd's only season as head coach, losing in a seven-game series to the Miami Heat and then-rookie Dwyane Wade in the first round of the playoffs.

After spending 12 years as an assistant college coach at Penn State and Marist, Bower joined the Hornets' scouting department in 1995 and began his first stint as general manager in 2001. He returned to a front office role in Scott's first season and became general manager again during the 2005-06 season.

LeBron takes over

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James had little to say Thursday about the prospect of playing with Dwyane Wade next season, and that was fine. Having them on the same court was enough of a treat for now.

The two All-Stars put on a show in their first showdown of the season, and James scored 34 points to help the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Miami Heat 111-104.

Wade scored 36 points but couldn't rally the Heat from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Mo Williams made five 3-pointers and scored 25 points for the Cavs, while Shaquille O'Neal added 14 in a return to his former home court.

But in the end, it was James leading the way. He scored Cleveland's final eight points over the last 2:42. He finished with seven assists and went 16-for-18 from the free-throw line.

Michael Beasley scored 24 points for the Heat, who lost for only the second time.

Lakers 121, Suns 102

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 29 points, Andrew Bynum had 26 points and 15 rebounds in his return from injury and the Lakers routed Phoenix.

Josh Powell scored 14 points for the defending champions, who won their sixth straight and improved to 7-1 by handing the Suns their second loss of the season.

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