With last night's loss, Dallas has now failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs for two years in a row.
And apparently, that was more than Dallas owner Mark Cuban could stand.
So Johnson, who was named NBA Coach of the Year after he led Dallas to the NBA Finals in 2006, was let go. If Johnson's rise was meteoric, his fall was almost equally as dramatic:
"Johnson was named coach of the year in 2006 and took the Mavericks to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. The Mavericks went up 2-0 before Miami won four straight to take the series.(Hat Tip: Dallas Morning News).
In 2007, the Mavericks became the first No. 1 seed to lose in the first round of the playoffs in the best-of-seven format. Dallas had won a franchise-record 67 games before being eliminated by Golden State last spring. Those playoff heartbreaks, in addition to the disappointment against New Orleans, led to Johnson's dismissal."
Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News writes that Avery Johnson lost control of the team before the playoffs started. But he says that changing coaches won't be a cure-all for Dallas. Cowlishaw thinks that Dallas has attitude problems, and suggests that several personnel changes must be made in the off season:
"Bring in Jeff Van Gundy, keep Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd (you don't have any choice about that one at $21 million) and get rid of anybody else you choose to get rid of.
Van Gundy was less than a raging success in Houston, but he got Tracy McGrady to play defense and he had that team on the brink of a nice upset of Dallas three years ago even if the Rockets failed in the seventh game.
He doesn't just talk defense, he gets people to play it. And as we have seen from the vacations that the Mavericks, Suns and Nuggets are now free to pursue, defense matters."