The NBA notebook …
DALLAS ó From the start, Avery Johnson was a perfect fit as coach of the Dallas Mavericks.
At the end, it was pretty obvious he wasn’t.
Johnson lost his job Wednesday, a move the team referred to as “relieving him of his duties.” The softer tone made sense considering that in three-plus seasons Johnson guided the Mavericks to the finals for the first time and to a club-record 67 wins the following season.
BOSTON ó Celtics forward Paul Pierce, fined $25,000 for what the NBA called a “menacing gesture” toward Al Horford during Game 3 of Boston’s playoff series against Atlanta, denied that the sign was gang-related.
“I 100 percent do not in any way promote gang violence or anything close to it,” Pierce said in a statement.
Although the gesture has been interpreted as a gang sign, Celtics basketball boss Danny Ainge said the three fingers represented “blood, sweat and tears.”
ROOKIE OF YEAR
SEATTLE ó The expectations were there for Kevin Durant the day he first arrived in Seattle: anything less than being the best rookie in the NBA would be a disappointment.
The 19-year-old didn’t disappoint. Durant, the Sonics’ dynamic young star, has been chosen as the NBA Rookie of the Year.
As the season progressed, Durant’s confidence grew even as the team stumbled through the worst season in franchise history. Durant averaged 21.8 points and shot nearly 53 percent in March. He capped his rookie season by averaging 24.3 points in his final eight games.
CLEVELAND ó Gilbert Arenas’ lost season is now over.
Arenas, who missed most of the regular season following knee surgery, decided to end his season moments before the Wizards faced an elimination game in their first-round playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers lead 3-2.
“Instead of me blocking the team from success, we just decided just go ahead and shut it down,” Arenas said an hour before tipoff.