David Zalubowski, Associated Press
Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw argues for a call with referee Leroy Richardson duiring the third quarter of the Nuggets' NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, in Denver. The Suns won 110-96.

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets have fired coach Brian Shaw after 1½ seasons.

General manager Tim Connelly said in a statement Tuesday: "You won't find a better guy than Brian and he is one of the brightest basketball minds I've ever been around. Unfortunately things didn't go as we hoped, but we know with his basketball acumen that he has a very bright future ahead of him."

Assistant coach Melvin Hunt will serve as interim coach.

Shaw went 56-85 for a .397 winning percentage. Denver takes a 20-39 record and a six-game losing streak into its game against Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

Shaw replaced George Karl, who was ousted after Denver won a franchise-record 57 games in 2012-13 only to be bounced from the first round of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

Shaw's first season as an NBA head coach was marked by injuries and a long-running dispute with veteran point guard Andre Miller. The Nuggets went 36-46, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002-03.

The Nuggets returned to health this season but failed to live up to expectations and have nosedived since the All-Star break. Attendance also has suffered.

Still, the timing of Shaw's firing was somewhat surprising given that just last week Connelly signaled Shaw's job was safe at least through the end of the season.

After winning three titles with the Los Angeles Lakers during his playing career, Shaw won two more as an assistant under Phil Jackson before becoming associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers. He interviewed for a dozen head coaching positions before Nuggets President Josh Kroenke hired him on June 25, 2013.

AP Sports Writer Arnie Stapleton contributed.