Mavericks fire Avery Johnson after another playoff flop

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DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Mavericks today fired coach Avery Johnson. The league's highest payroll produced a second straight first-round knockout from the playoffs.

Johnson leaves with an impressive resume after three-plus seasons. But Mavs owner Mark Cuban couldn't tolerate a bottom line of being 3-12 in the playoff since blowing a 2-0 lead in the 2006 NBA finals.

The final slate on Johnson's tenure: 194-70 in the regular season, 23-24 in the playoffs. Johnson was a championship-winning point guard for San Antonio during his long career.

He became the Dallas coach-in-waiting when he joined Don Nelson's staff before the 2004-05 season. Johnson only had to wait a few months. Nellie stepped aside in
March 2005 and the player known as "The Little General" took over.

The Mavs went 16-2 the rest of that season and won a playoff series. Then, in Johnson's first full season, Dallas went to the NBA finals for the first time and he was named the league's coach of the year.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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