Wednesday, January 28, 2004

NBA: O'Brien resigns as coach of second-place Celtics



The Associated Press

WALTHAM, Mass. - Jim O'Brien quit as coach of the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, after half a season under new boss Danny Ainge.

Ainge said O'Brien told him he wanted to resign Tuesday morning, at one of their regularly scheduled meetings to discuss "philosophical differences" on running the team.

"The philosophical differences, I thought, were much smaller than Jim thought," said Ainge.

Assistant coach John Carroll will take over for the rest of the season, Ainge said. Another assistant coach, Dick Harter, was let go.

Ainge said he took a more long-term view of building the team, while O'Brien was more concerned with short-term results.

"Jim did not see that long-term vision that I saw," said Ainge, who took over as the team's director of basketball operations during last season's playoffs.

Ainge also was trying to add more offense to the team, while O'Brien emphasized defense.

Ainge, who said he was surprised by O'Brien's decision, also said he had had differences with O'Brien over whether to play some of the older players on the team.

"We felt that there was a ceiling on the success of the old players ... so we did not always agree on the players who should be on the court," Ainge said.

A call placed to O'Brien's agent, Lonnie Cooper, wasn't immediately returned.

The Celtics are 22-24 after reaching the playoffs the past two seasons. O'Brien's resignation came one day after Byron Scott was fired as coach of the New Jersey Nets, the only team ahead of Boston in the Atlantic Division standings.

LAKERS: Center Shaquille O'Neal went through a light practice and might play tonight at Seattle after missing the last 12 games because of a strained calf.

PACERS: Forward Ron Artest has torn ligaments in his left thumb that will require surgery, but maybe not until after the season.

HORNETS: Forward Jamal Mashburn, who has been sidelined since hurting his right knee in training camp, was activated and is expected to play against Milwaukee today.

Spurs 77, Knicks 67

NEW YORK - Charlie Ward, a member of the Knicks for 9 1/2 seasons, put the Spurs ahead for good with a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter and finished with eight points.

Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 30 points and 19 rebounds.

Suns 89, Hawks 85

ATLANTA - Shawn Marion scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half to help Phoenix snap a three-game losing streak.

Nets 94, 76ers 76

PHILADELPHIA - Richard Jefferson scored 30 points for New Jersey in Lawrence Frank's first game as interim coach.

Philadelphia played without Allen Iverson, who was still bothered by a right index finger sprain.




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