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Rick Adelman is out as coach of Houston Rockets

Rick Adelman is out as coach of the Houston Rockets.

The team announced that the Rockets and Adelman “have mutually agreed to part ways.” Adelman’s contract expires on June 30.

General Manager Daryl Morey said in a statement Monday night that the decision came after “numerous discussions and careful consideration.”

The 64-year-old Adelman went 193-135 in four seasons with the Rockets. The .588 winning percentage was the highest among the 11 full-time coaches the franchise has had. Adelman led the Rockets to their only playoff series victory since 1997. His career record is 945-616 and he ranks eighth in all-time wins.

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“I have enjoyed my time in Houston over these past four seasons,” Adelman said in a statement. “We accomplished quite a bit, despite overcoming numerous obstacles during the past few years.”

Adelman accepted the Houston job in 2007 and envisioned building a championship contender around Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. By the end of Adelman’s first season, both All-Stars had injuries that would require surgery.

With Yao healthy and McGrady still hurting, Houston reached the Western Conference semifinals in 2008-09, snapping a streak of seven consecutive first-round exits for the franchise.

Yao broke his left foot in the playoffs and underwent surgery that would keep him out the entire 2009-10 season. The Rockets went 42-40 without him and missed the postseason after winning at least 50 games in each of the previous three years.

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The Rockets traded McGrady to New York in February 2010, and Yao played only five games in 2010-11 before he was sidelined again, this time with a stress fracture in his left ankle.

Houston went 17-8 after the All-Star break and fell short of the playoffs again, despite a 43-39 record.

Chauncey Billups is expected to miss the second game of the New York Knicks’ playoff series against the Boston Celtics because of a left leg injury. Coach Mike D’Antoni said the starting point guard was “very questionable” for Tuesday night’s game in the first-round series.

Billups was hurt in the final minute of the Knicks’ 87-85 loss Sunday night. He was replaced by Anthony Carter with 51 seconds left and the game tied at 82. He said doctors told him he had strained his left knee or thigh muscle.

The NBA said Kendrick Perkins’ basket with 1:05 left that put the Oklahoma City Thunder ahead to stay in a 107-103 playoff win against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday should have been waved off as basket interference.

In a statement, the NBA said Perkins touched the basketball while it was still “in the cylinder,” or directly above the basket, in violation of the rules.

The basket put Oklahoma City ahead 102-101, and Denver didn’t score on its next two possessions.

Portland Coach Nate McMillan was fined $35,000 by the NBA for disparaging comments about the officiating in Game 1 of the Trail Blazers’ playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks. McMillan was angry because Dallas took 29 free throws and his team took 13. Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki had 13 free throws in the fourth quarter alone, helping lead Dallas to an 89-81 victory.

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Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard became the first player to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award three straight seasons. Howard received 585 points, including 114 first-place votes, from a panel of 120 sports writers and broadcasters. Boston’s Kevin Garnett finished second with 77 points and Dallas’ Tyson Chandler was third with 70.

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Jason Williams has decided to retire after a 12-year career. Williams missed the final 17 games of the season with lower back soreness.

ETC.

North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes will return for his sophomore season instead of declaring for the NBA draft.

Barnes was the Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year, averaging nearly 16 points. The 6-foot-8 forward was widely regarded as the nation’s top freshman entering the season and helped the Tar Heels win 29 games and the ACC regular-season championship before falling a win short of the Final Four.

The Tar Heels will return all five starters and their top seven scorers from last season, making them a favorite to enter the year ranked No. 1.

“As a team, we’re preparing for a special season,” Barnes said in a statement. “My offseason plans are to diligently work on honing my basketball skills in all areas with one team goal in mind — to bring the 2012 national championship home to UNC.”

Barnes’ announcement came nearly two weeks after 7-foot junior Tyler Zeller and 6-10 sophomore John Henson also decided to return to school instead of declaring for the draft. North Carolina also adds a pair of McDonald’s All-Americans in big man James McAdoo and perimeter shooter P.J. Hairston.

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Barnes was projected in several mock drafts as a high first-round pick.

Washington State guard Klay Thompson has announced his intention to enter the NBA draft, but will hold off on hiring an agent until he’s certain about his draft position. Thompson was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection after averaging a league-high 22 points per game in his junior season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to the Chicago Bears at London’s Wembley Stadium in October if the NFL season isn’t altered by a labor dispute.

Five retired players are suing the NFL Players Assn. in federal court, claiming the organization denied them and other former athletes lucrative royalties from licensing deals that used their images.

The class-action lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles and was first reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The suit alleges breach of fiduciary duty by the players association and its for-profit Players Inc. subsidiary.

Among those suing the players association are former Washington Redskins receiver Walter Roberts III, former Baltimore Colts linebacker Bob Grant and former Cincinnati Bengals safety Marvin Cobb.

More than 2,000 ex-players agreed to a $26-million settlement two years ago over similar allegations. However, the new suit claims thousands of other players are entitled to royalties from video games, trading cards and other products that used their voices and photos.

Mason Rudolph, who qualified for the U.S. Open at the age of 16 and was the 1959 PGA Tour rookie of the year, has died. He was 76. He died Monday at a Tuscaloosa, Ala., hospice.

A grand jury indicted a former University of Virginia lacrosse player on murder and other charges in the death of a member of the women’s team whom he had been dating. Besides first-degree murder, 23-year-old George Huguely of Chevy Chase, Md., faces felony murder, robbery, burglary, statutory burglary and grand larceny charges in the May 3, 2010, death of Yeardley Love.

Huguely is accused of entering Love’s apartment and slamming her head into a wall. Authorities said Love, of Cockeysville, Md., died of trauma to the head. Huguely has been held in jail since his arrest.


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