Milwaukee Bucks fire coach Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd
Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd watches during the first half of an NBA game against the Miami Heat. –The Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks have fired coach Jason Kidd following a midseason slide that left the playoff hopeful in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Assistant coach Joe Prunty was serving as head coach for Monday night’s game against Phoenix.

It was a surprising end to Kidd’s three-plus season tenure in Milwaukee, when the Bucks made the playoffs twice. Giannis Antetokounmpo turned into an All-Star under his watch. The Bucks were considered an emerging force in the East at the start of the season.

But the Bucks have lost four of five going into Monday and had been prone to defensive lapses especially on the perimeter.

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General manager Jon Horst says “a fresh approach and a change in leadership are needed to continue elevating our talented team towards the next level.”