- The Washington Times - Friday, January 23, 2009

From combined dispatches

The Memphis Grizzlies have fired coach Marc Iavaroni after a lackluster 11-30 start.

Team spokesman Dustin Krugel confirmed Iavaroni’s dismissal Thursday night but would not say who would coach the Grizzlies on Friday night against the Knicks. General manager Chris Wallace was traveling to New York.

Iavaroni led the Grizzlies to a 22-60 record last season in his first year as an NBA coach.

The Grizzlies are the seventh team to fire their coach this season, joining Washington, Toronto, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and Minnesota.

Iavaroni, who has spent 19 years in the NBA as both player and coach, replaced interim coach Tony Barone on May 31, 2007.

Barone, a former director of player personnel, took over for Mike Fratello, who was fired with Memphis sitting a woeful 6-24.

Before joining Memphis, Iavaroni spent five seasons as Mike D’Antoni’s lead assistant with the Phoenix Suns.

He previously served as an assistant with the Miami Heat under Pat Riley and with the Cleveland Cavaliers under Fratello.

ALL-STAR: Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard - who leads the NBA in rebounds, blocked shots and double-doubles - got a record 3,150,181 votes to lead this season’s All-Star team.

The Feb. 15 game in Phoenix will mark the third All-Star trip for Howard, who will be starting for the second time and easily topped the previous record of 2,558,278 votes collected by Houston’s Yao Ming four years ago.

MOURNING: Alonzo Mourning has decided to retire rather than mount another NBA comeback at age 38.

The seven-time All-Star center said he won’t return from a devastating leg injury in 2007. He’s not under contract but had been working out at the Miami Heat’s complex and still had a spot in the team’s locker room.

Mourning hasn’t played since tearing the patellar tendon and quadriceps muscle in his right leg Dec. 19, 2007, the fourth anniversary of his lifesaving kidney transplant.

WARRIORS: Monta Ellis will be in uniform for Golden State on Friday night for the first time this season when the Warriors host Cleveland.

The Warriors decided after Thursday’s practice to welcome back Ellis, who has missed the entire season while recovering from a left ankle sprain suffered five months ago in an accident on a motorized scooter.

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