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Saturday, March 17, 2012
Trail Blazers clean house, fire McMillan, release Oden
PORTLAND, Oregon — The Portland Trail Blazers fired coach Nate McMillan on Thursday, one day after a 42-point loss to the New York Knicks.
The Blazers have lost seven of their last 10 games to fall out of the Western Conference playoff race. Portland (20-23) is in 12th place in the West and last in the Northwest Division.
The firing was part of an overhaul that included releasing former No. 1 overall draft pick Greg Oden and trading veteran center Marcus Camby to the Houston Rockets and versatile forward Gerald Wallace to the New Jersey Nets.
"The moves that we made . . . today really set us up for this summer with the draft and with free agency to really be able to move in the direction that we want to move in and make this team better," Blazers president Larry Miller said in a news conference.
Assistant coach Kaleb Canales will be the interim head coach.
"Hard to see coach Nate go," All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge tweeted. "He was my coach since day one and I've grown a lot under his coaching."
McMillan went 266-269 in over six seasons as coach of the Blazers and led them to the playoffs in the previous three seasons. But the Blazers failed to make it out of the first round in each of those trips to the postseason, and the warning signs started to pop up early that this season was going to be rough.
General manager Rich Cho was abruptly fired in late May, just weeks before the NBA draft. Once the lockout was lifted in December, Brandon Roy, the heart and soul of the team, was forced to retire because of ongoing knee problems, Aldridge was slowed in camp by a heart condition and Oden had yet another season end early because of knee surgery.
The chemistry in the locker room, and on the court, seemed to disintegrate as well.
Portland traded Camby to the Rockets for center Hasheem Thabeet and point guard Jonny Flynn and Wallace to the Nets for center Mehmet Okur and forward Shawne Williams.
Wizards down Hornets
NEW ORLEANS — John Wall had 26 points and 12 assists, and the Washington Wizards won hours after making a multiplayer deal at the trade deadline, 99-89 over the New Orleans Hornets on Thursday night.
Earlier in the day, Washington traded guard Nick Young and centers JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf to Denver as part of a three-team deal.
Mavericks 101, Bobcats 96
In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points and the Mavericks rallied from 14 points down in the second quarter.
Thunder 103, Nuggets 90
In Denver, Kevin Durant scored 24 points, Russell Westbrook had 23 and Oklahoma City beat the short-handed Nuggets.
Jazz 111, T-Wolves 105 (OT)
In Salt Lake City, Gordon Hayward scored 18 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and Paul Millsap made a flurry of key plays in the final minute to lead Utah past Minnesota.
Suns 91, Clippers 87
In Los Angeles, Shannon Brown scored a season-high 21 points, including four free throws in the final 1:33, to help short-handed Phoenix end a four-game road losing streak.
With the Suns playing the middle game in a stretch of three in three nights, coach Alvin Gentry had Steve Nash and Grant Hill both sit out in street clothes.