NBA Roundup: Poor Start Dooms Bulls’ Hoiberg

  • FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2018, file photo, Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg questions a call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, in Dallas. The Bulls fired Hoiberg Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2017, file photo, Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, left, and his assistant Jim Boylen, right, look on from the sidelines during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, in Chicago. The Bulls fired Hoiberg Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski, File)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2018, file photo, Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg gestures during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, in Chicago. The Bulls fired Hoiberg Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2017, file photo, Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg is shown during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Denver. The Bulls fired Hoiberg Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

  • Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic (15) during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Chicago — The Chicago Bulls came into the season thinking they would start to climb in the wide-open Eastern Conference with a promising group of young players. A coaching change wasn’t part of the plan.

The skidding Bulls fired Fred Hoiberg on Monday and promoted associate head coach Jim Boylen in hopes of turning around a miserable season. Chicago is averaging 103.4 points — 28th in the NBA — and is getting outscored by 9.6 per game. They are a woeful 5-19, better only than Cleveland and Phoenix.

Hoiberg, who had to deal with a veteran roster that didn’t fit his style early on and then injuries to key players starting in training camp, never found his footing in Chicago. It added up to a 115-155 mark with one playoff appearance in three-plus seasons.

Executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson insisted the decision went beyond wins and losses, citing a lack of “energy and spirit.”

Paxson also said the Bulls are committed to Boylen as their long-term head coach and that general manager Gar Forman is “absolutely safe.”

Boylen becomes the sixth coach hired by the current front office. He spent four years as the head coach at the University of Utah. Over 20 years in the NBA, he also has been an assistant in Houston, Golden State, Milwaukee, Indiana and San Antonio.

Monday’s Games

Nuggets 106, Raptors 103

Toronto — Nikola Jokic capped a triple-double with three free throws in the final seven seconds, Kyle Lowry missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer and Denver overcame an injury to leading scorer Gary Harris to beat Toronto.

Jokic made it 104-103 with a free throw with 7.0 seconds left, then hit two more foul shots with 5.6 seconds remaining before Lowry bounced a 26-footer off the rim.

Warriors 128, Hawks 111

Atlanta — Stephen Curry scored 30 points, Kevin Durant had 28 and Klay Thompson chipped in with 27 as Golden State cruised past Atlanta, snapping a six-game losing streak on the road.

With Curry scoring 18 points in the opening quarter, this one was never in doubt.

Clippers 129, Pelicans 126

New Orleans — Tobias Harris made two clutch free throws with 4.7 seconds left to close out a 27-point performance, and Los Angeles held off New Orleans.

Dino Gallinari scored 24 points, and Lou Williams topped off his 20-point night with a long, contested, off-balance jumper that gave the Clippers a 127-124 lead with 6.4 seconds remaining.

Thunder 110, Pistons 83

Detroit — Steven Adams scored 21 points, Russell Westbrook added 18 and Oklahoma City ended Detroit’s five-game winning streak.

Paul George added 17 points for the Thunder, who are 15-3 since losing their first four games.

Timberwolves 103, Rockets 91

Minneapolis — Karl-Anthony Towns helped erase a 14-point halftime deficit to lift Minnesota over Houston.

Towns led Minnesota with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins had 16 points.

Cavaliers 99, Nets 97

New York — Jordan Clarkson had 20 points and 11 rebounds, newcomer Alec Burks threw down a two-handed dunk with 3.2 seconds left in regulation and Cleveland avoided a fourth-quarter collapse against Brooklyn.

Wizards 110, Knicks 107

New York — Bradley Beal scored 27 points, Kelly Oubre Jr. had 21 off the bench and Washington beat New York.

John Wall had 18 points and 15 assists for the Wizards, who collected their just their third road win of the season and beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden for the eighth straight time. Markieff Morris also had 18 points and Otto Porter Jr. scored 15.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 20 points. Damyean Dotson scored 17 and Enes Kanter had 13 points and 16 rebounds for New York, which has lost three of four.

Washington trailed by as many as 11 points late in the second quarter, but Beal’s layup with 6.6 seconds remaining got the Wizards within 61-52 at halftime.

Washington then opened the third quarter with a 28-8 run and went ahead 80-69 on Wall’s dunk with 3:33 left in the period.

The Knicks closed the gap to 86-80 at the end of the quarter and pulled within 88-84 early in the fourth.

However, the Wizards scored the next seven points and went on to lead by a game-high 16, 105-89, on Wall’s jumper with 4:24 to play.

New York mounted a frantic rally and pulled within three, 107-104, on Noah Vonleh’s layup with 35 seconds left.

But Wall hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left that mostly ended New York’s hopes. Courtney Lee ended the scoring with a 3-pointer with less than a second remaining.

Emmanuel Mudiay had 16 points for the Knicks, and Vonleh had 11.