The Nuggets fired coach Brian Shaw after 1½ seasons on Tuesday, with the team at 20-39 and on a six-game losing streak. Assistant coach Melvin Hunt will be the interim coach.
The timing of the dismissal was somewhat surprising given that just last week general manager Tim Connelly signaled Shaw's job was safe at least through the end of the season.
''We were hopeful we could dig ourselves out of the hole, play more respectful basketball,'' Connelly explained. ''Unfortunately, our struggles have been pretty immense and led to today.''
Shaw went 56-85 for a .397 winning percentage. The Nuggets have lost 10 consecutive games at home, one shy of tying the franchise record set in 1997-98. The team has nosedived since the All-Star break, and attendance has suffered.
Asked if Shaw lost the locker room, forward J.J. Hickson said, ''not in my opinion.''
''Have to look in the mirror individually, and own up to some of the stuff that's going on around here,'' Hickson added.
Nuggets 106, Bucks 95— Danilo Gallinari scored a season-high 26 points, Kenneth Faried had 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Denver ended its losing streak and won at home for the first time since Jan. 14, hours after Shaw was fired.
Hawks 104, Rockets 96 — In Atlanta, Jeff Teague scored 25 points, Al Horford added 18 and NBA-leading Atlanta rallied from an 18-point deficit to win its fifth straight game.
Bulls 97, Wizards 92 — Nikola Mirotic scored 23 points to lead the host Chicago over Washington, which was led by John Wall's 21 points and 11 assists.
Hornets 104, Lakers 103 — Al Jefferson had 21 points and 16 rebounds, Mo Williams added 20 points and 13 assists, and host Charlotte beat Los Angeles for its third win in four games.
Kings 124, Knicks 86 — Rudy Gay scored 25 points as visiting Sacramento handed the New York its worst loss of the season.
Jazz 93, Grizzlies 82 — Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors scored 21 points each to lead Utah on the road.