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 also will remain general manager, immediately moved to name Tim Floyd his top assistant. Floyd, a former Hornets head coach, had more 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.
CAVALIERS 111, HEAT 104: At Miami, 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 win. 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. J.J. Hickson, making his third consecutive start, had a career-high 18 points.
LAKERS 121, SUNS 102: At Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 29 points while Andrew Bynum added 26 points and 15 rebounds as the Lakers cruised past Phoenix. Steve Nash (13 points) was the only Suns starter in double figures.