The skidding Chicago Bulls fired Coach Fred Hoiberg on Monday and promoted Jim Boylen, an associate head coach, in hopes of lifting the team from the bottom of the standings.
Chicago is averaging 103.4 points a game — 28th in the N.B.A. — and is being outscored by an average of 9.6 points.
Hoiberg, who dealt with a veteran roster that did not fit his style and injuries to key players starting in training camp, never found his footing in Chicago. It added up to a record of 115-155 with one postseason berth in three-plus seasons. The Bulls have gone 5-19 this year; entering Monday’s games, the only teams with worse records were Cleveland and Phoenix.
Even so, the teams’ executive vice president for basketball operations, John Paxson, insisted this decision was about more than just wins and losses, citing a lack of “energy and spirit.”
“We were in a similar situation last year at this time,” Paxson said. “But the entire energy about this group was different back then. We felt that here in the last several weeks, that something’s different.”
Paxson also said the Bulls were committed to Boylen as their long-term coach and that General Manager Gar Forman was “absolutely safe.”
“We can own ‘Bulls’ across our chest better,” said Boylen, a first-time N.B.A. head coach.
Hoiberg found himself in a tough position, with four of the team’s top players being injured, a run that started early in training camp.
Forward Lauri Markkanen, the centerpiece of Chicago’s rebuilding plan, missed the first 23 games this season after spraining his left elbow at practice in late September.
Guard Denzel Valentine will miss the entire season because of a left ankle injury. Forward Bobby Portis (right knee) has played in four games, and point guard Kris Dunn (left knee) has appeared in one; those two are expected back soon.
“For us to sit here and think that just because we’re getting guys back, I think that would mask the problems that we’ve seen,” Paxson said. “We gave Fred an opportunity. He did a lot of good things for us. But I’m tasked with, Gar’s tasked with, looking at the underlying things in the organization.”
WIZARDS 110, KNICKS 107 Bradley Beal scored 27 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 21 off the bench to lead visiting Washington past the Knicks.
John Wall had 18 points and 15 assists for the Wizards, who collected their third road win of the season and beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden for the ninth consecutive time.
“I feel like every time I step into this building, I need to have a great game,” Beal said. “That is how I approach it. It is a true basketball building. There is legacy and history here.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. had 20 points for the Knicks, who have lost three of four. Damyean Dotson scored 17, and Enes Kanter had 13 points and 16 rebounds.
Washington, which trailed by 61-52 at halftime, opened the third quarter with a 28-8 run and went ahead, 80-69, on Wall’s dunk with 3:33 left in the period.
“We didn’t come out ready,” Kanter said. “They had more energy, and we just couldn’t respond.”
The Knicks closed the gap to 86-80 at the end of the quarter and made it 88-84 early in the fourth. The Wizards scored the next seven points and went on to lead by 105-89 on Wall’s jumper with 4:24 to play.
The Knicks mounted a frantic rally and pulled to 107-104, on Noah Vonleh’s layup with 35 seconds left.
But Wall hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds to go that mostly ended the Knicks’ hopes. Courtney Lee ended the scoring with a 3-pointer for the Knicks with less than a second remaining.
“That’s us. That’s our team,” Knicks Coach David Fizdale said. “As long as there’s time on the clock, our guys will fight to try to win the game.”
CAVALIERS 99, NETS 97 Jordan Clarkson had 20 points and 11 rebounds, the newcomer Alec Burks threw down a two-handed dunk with 3.2 seconds left in regulation, and Cleveland Cavaliers held off the host Nets.
Tristan Thompson had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who had lost four in a row. D’Angelo Russell scored 28 points for the Nets, who have lost seven straight and nine of 11 over all, including their last six at home.
Cleveland led by 91-80 with 6:03 left in the fourth quarter after Rodney Hood hit an 18-foot jumper. The Nets then went on a 17-6 run, tying it 97-97 on the rookie Rodion Kurucs’s put-back layup with 18.9 seconds left.
Burks drove past Spencer Dinwiddie for the dunk that sealed it for Cleveland, which had been winless since beating Philadelphia and Houston on Nov. 23-24.
Dinwiddie, who had 18 points off the bench, then put a 3-point attempt short of the rim with 2 seconds left.