HOUSTON (AP) -Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy was fired Friday, less than two weeks after Houston made yet another first-round playoff exit.
The Rockets went 52-30 this season but lost to Utah in seven games, raising the possibility that Van Gundy was going to resign or be dismissed. This was the Rockets' third first-round loss in four seasons under Van Gundy.
Van Gundy had one nonguaranteed year left on his contract, meaning the team held the option to retain him.
The 45-year-old coach led the Rockets to a 182-146 record in four seasons. But Houston went 7-12 in three postseason appearances and more was expected from teams anchored by All-Stars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. McGrady dropped to 0-6 in playoff series when the Rockets lost to Utah.
Van Gundy was working in television when the Rockets hired him before the 2003-04 season. Before that, Van Gundy coached the New York Knicks for seven seasons, leading them to the NBA finals in 1999.

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