Reggie Theus got barely more than 100 games to lead the Sacramento Kings before they headed in yet another direction with yet another head coach.
Theus was fired by Sacramento yesterday after a 6-18 start to his second season with the club. Assistant coach Kenny Natt took over the last-place Kings for last night's game against Minnesota.
Natt, a first-time head coach who has the job on an interim basis, is the fourth coach in less than 3 years for the Kings. Assistant coach Chuck Person was fired along with Theus, who was 44-62 in his brief tenure with Sacramento.
Last night, Francisco Garcia scored 21 points, John Salmons added 17 and host Sacramento beat the woeful Minnesota Timberwolves, 118-103, to give Natt his first win.
The Kings lost 10 of their last 11 to fall into the Pacific Division cellar, with only a win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the last 3 1/2 weeks. Sacramento's 24-point home loss to the New York Knicks on Saturday night, the ninth loss in 10 games at Arco Arena, was Theus' final game.
"When you look at the overall level of performance that we've experienced this year, it's just not where we want to be," said Geoff Petrie, the Kings' top basketball executive. "Sometimes you just need to try a different voice if you want to try and change things."
Theus is the sixth coach fired in the NBA already this season, following the 76ers' Mo Cheeks, P.J. Carlesimo (Oklahoma City), Eddie Jordan (Washington), Sam Mitchell (Toronto) and Randy Wittman (Minnesota).
Theus said he was grateful for the opportunity to run an NBA club.
"It was a great experience, and I just wish I could have seen it through," Theus told KHTK-AM, the Kings' flagship radio station. "For it to have been better, a lot of things would have had to have been different. I think we were entertaining. Good and bad, when people came to games, it was fun."
In games last night:
* At Boston, Rajon Rondo scored 12 of his career-high 25 points in the final 5 minutes, 20 seconds and Kevin Garnett had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Celtics to their 15th consecutive victory, 100-91, over the Utah Jazz. Kendrick Perkins added 15 points and 14 rebounds for Boston, while Paul Pierce scored 15 before he was helped off the court when he hit the floor on defense with 31 seconds left. Paul Millsap scored a career-high 32 points with 10 rebounds for Utah.
* At Phoenix, Mike D'Antoni got a warm welcome in his return to Phoenix, but frigid long-range shooting doomed his New York Knicks in a 111-103 loss to the Suns.
Steve Nash scored 21 points, including a game-clinching three-pointer with 28 seconds to play.
Nate Robinson scored 27 for New York.
* At Toronto, Vince Carter had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Ryan Anderson added 21 points, and the New Jersey Nets beat the Raptors, 94-87. Devin Harris scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for Toronto.
* At Miami, Michael Redd scored 16 of his 21 points in the first quarter, and the Milwaukee Bucks started quickly before holding off a late rally to beat the Heat, 98-83.
Rookie Mario Chalmers had 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while Dwyane Wade added 15 points for the Heat.
* At Atlanta, Joe Johnson scored 18 of his 28 points in the second half to lead the Hawks to an 83-79 victory over Charlotte, extending the Bobcats' losing streak to seven games. Boris Diaw led Charlotte with 25 points.
* At Dallas, J.R. Smith scored 25 points, Carmelo Anthony added 23, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Mavericks, 98-88. Dirk Nowitzki had 27 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas.
* At Washington, Danny Granger scored 27 points and Marquis Daniels had 20 as the Indiana Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 118-98 win over the Wizards. Antawn Jamison had 26 points and a season-high 15 rebounds for Washington.
* At Oakland, Jameer Nelson scored 32 points, including five three-pointers to lead the Orlando Magic over the Golden State Warriors, 109-98. *