L.A. Lakers fire head coach 5 games into season

LOS ANGELES (CNN) - The Los Angeles Lakers fired second-year head coach Mike Brown on Friday, making the change after the NBA team lost four of its first five games of the new season.

Assistant Coach Bernie Bickerstaff will be interim head coach for Friday night's game against the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers said in a news release.

"This was a difficult and painful decision to make," General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. "Mike was very hard-working and dedicated, but we felt it was in the best interest of the team to make a change at this time. We appreciate Mike's efforts and contributions and wish him and his family the best of luck."

The Lakers, just two years removed from an NBA championship, are loaded with high-profile talent with the likes of all-stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, and they added former league MVP Steve Nash and former Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard in the off-season.

But Nash has missed most of the season's early games with an injury, and the Lakers struggled with a new offense Brown was implementing, going winless in the preseason and 1-4 since their regular season started on October 30.

Brown released a statement saying he had great respect for the family of Lakers owner Jerry Buss "and the Lakers' storied tradition, and I thank them for the opportunity they afforded me."

"I have a deep appreciation for the coaches and players that I worked with this past year and I wish the organization nothing but success as they move forward," Brown said.

Before taking the Lakers job in May 2011, Brown, 42, compiled a 272-138 regular-season record in five seasons as head coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers.


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