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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers made a big change with another season falling apart, firing general manager Chris Grant on Thursday. Grant was fired a day after the Cavs dropped their sixth straight game, an embarrassing home loss to a Los Angeles Lakers team that started with eight players and finished with five. Vice president of basketball operations David Griffin will serve as acting general manager. Owner Dan Gilbert made it clear hes unhappy with what has transpired in a season that began with hopes the Cavs would make the playoffs after a three-year absence. "This has been a very difficult period for the franchise," Gilbert said in a statement. "We have severely underperformed against expectations. Just as this is completely unacceptable to our loyal and passionate fan base, season ticket holders and corporate partners, it is also just as unacceptable to our ownership group." Gilbert also met with reporters at the teams training facility following the announcement. He expressed confidence that the Cavs can show improvement under coach Mike Brown over the final 33 games. Grant was instrumental in the rehiring of Brown, who was fired during his first stint with the team in 2010. Gilbert was asked if Browns job was safe for the rest of this season. "Were going to see Mike Brown succeed this year because I think that hell be able to do good things and I think this team will be able to do good things," Gilbert said. "I think theyre going to look at each other and theyre going to look in the mirror and theyre going to rally." Gilbert also was asked why he decided to change his general manager but not his coach. "Coach Brown has only been here over half a season," he said. "Chris Grant has been here 8 1/2 years. Hes been the general manager almost four years. Theres a lot of talent on this team. I think everybody knows that." Gilbert promised last spring the Cavs would not return to the NBA lottery, but Cleveland is 16-33 and has dropped six in a row -- matching its longest losing streak of the season. The Cavs are 5 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference and their only win in the last nine games came over Milwaukee, which has the leagues worst record. "Accountability starts with me," Gilbert said. "I take responsibility for where were at." Grants tenure will be known for not being able to rebuild the Cavs fast enough despite having a slew of first-round draft picks, including two No. 1 overall selections. Grant addressed the teams poor play last week, saying everyone in the organization was accountable, including himself. Grant took Anthony Bennett with the first pick last June and then signed free-agent centre Andrew Bynum during the summer when no other team would offer the 7-footer a contract. Grant was able to unload Bynum in a trade with Chicago for Luol Deng, but the forwards arrival has done little to invigorate the Cavs. Cleveland has been under .500 since the fifth game of the season and the players have been slow to pick up Browns system on both ends of the floor. In a season thats already had too many low moments, the Cavs hit rock bottom Wednesday. Not only did they fall behind by 29 points to Los Angeles, the Lakers played the final few minutes with five healthy players, including one who was allowed to remain in the game after committing his sixth foul because coach Mike DAntoni was out of bodies. The Cavs were booed throughout the game and Brown, who has been unable to come up with any answers to stop his teams skid, benched All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and three other starters in the fourth quarter as Cleveland got back in the game before losing 119-108. The acquisition of Deng last month brought hope the season could be salvaged, but that proved to be temporary. The Cavs went 3-2 on a West Coast trip, but followed that with a 1-4 record on its longest homestand of the season. Cleveland then lost three consecutive road games, including a 31-point rout by the Knicks on national television. Grant joined the organization in 2005 as vice-president of basketball operations/assistant general manager. He was hired as general manager on June 4, 2010. Griffin was hired later that year after spending 17 seasons with the Phoenix Suns, the last three as the clubs senior vice-president of basketball operations. Ken Giles Jersey . On Thursday theyll learn even more. Despite the cloud of uncertainty that has followed them around from the moment general manager Masai Ujiri was brought in to put his stamp on the franchise, the Raptors have surpassed all pre-season expectations. Roy Oswalt Jersey .Y. - Brooklyn Nets centre Brook Lopez has a strained lower back and will miss at least a week. http://www.astrosteamproshop.com/Astros-...sey/.While Rosberg is coming off a strong victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton is dwelling on a mistake that ended his streak of five consecutive wins and kept him from increasing his advantage. Josh Reddick Jersey . But history aside, theyre still happy to participate in the Par 3 contest, traditionally held on the day prior to the first round of the Masters. J.R. Richard Jersey . Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist as the New York Islanders earned a 2-1 win over Ottawa Wednesday, leaving the Senators five points out of a playoff spot with just five games to play and four teams ahead of them.BUFFALO, N.Y. - Rex Ryan is a finalist for the Buffalo Bills head coaching job after landing a second interview with the team on Saturday night, a person familiar with the meeting confirmed to The Associated Press.The person added the interview with the former New York Jets coach began the second phase of the Bills search process. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not revealed details of its search to replace Doug Marrone, who stepped down abruptly on Dec. 31.ESPN.com first reported the development earlier in the evening.Without revealing who or how many, the person said the team intends to have second interviews with other candidates before making a decision on who to hire.The Bills interviewed 12 candidates over the past eight days in a process that concluded on Saturday, when Detroit Lions defensive co-ordinator Teryl Austin met with the team.Two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan, Bills defensive co-ordinator Jim Schwartz and Cincinnati Bengals offensive co-ordinator Hue Jackson were among those who also interviewed for the job.Ryan is very familiar with the Bills after spending the past six seasons coaaching their AFC East rival.dddddddddddd He had a 50-52 record, including 4-2 in the playoffs, with the Jets before being fired along with general manager John Idzik following a 4-12 finish.Ryans background is on defence, which also happens to be the Bills strength. Buffalos defence finished fourth in the NFL in yards allowed last season and produced three Pro Bowl linemen.Ryans challenge in Buffalo would be similar to the one he had in New York in providing a spark to a sputtering offence. The Jets finished 22nd in yards last season — four spots ahead of Buffalo.Quarterbacks were concerns for both teams, and involving two players selected in the 2013 draft.The Jets faltered behind second-year starter Geno Smith, who was eventually benched and replaced by Michael Vick.In Buffalo, second-year starter EJ Manuel was benched after four games and replaced by 10-year journeyman Kyle Orton, who has since announced his intention to retire.The Bills finished 9-7 to match their best record in a decade, but missed the playoffs to extend the NFLs longest active drought to 15 seasons.___AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL ' ' '
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