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Thursday's Sports in Brief

Friday - 12/28/2012, 7:50am  ET

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Coach of the month in November, out of a job by New Year's.

The Brooklyn Nets have elevated expectations this season, and a .500 record wasn't good enough. Coach Avery Johnson was fired Thursday, his team having lost 10 of 13 games after a strong start to its first season in Brooklyn.

"We don't have the same fire now than we did when we were 11-4," general manager Billy King said at a news conference in East Rutherford, N.J. "I tried to talk to Avery about it and we just can't figure it out. The same pattern kept on happening."

Assistant P.J. Carlesimo will coach the Nets on an interim basis, starting Friday night with a home game against Charlotte. King said the Nets might reach out to other candidates, but for now the job was Carlesimo's. The GM wouldn't comment on a report that the team planned to get in touch with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was suspended one game without pay by the NBA for flailing his leg and making contact with the groin of Charlotte Bobcats' Ramon Sessions.

The incident happened with 8:12 left in the fourth quarter of the Heat's 105-92 victory over the Bobcats on Wednesday night. Sessions was called for a foul on the play. Wade will serve the suspension Friday night when the Heat visit the Detroit Pistons, and return Saturday night in Milwaukee.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard was fined $35,000 by the NBA for a flagrant foul against Denver's Kenneth Faried.

Howard was ejected with 5:02 left in the third quarter in the Lakers' 126-114 loss to the Nuggets on Wednesday night. He was called for a flagrant foul 2 when he jammed his hand in Faried's face as the Denver forward drove the lane.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol has plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

He was examined by a foot specialist and an MRI confirmed the diagnosis. Gasol is listed as probable for Friday night's game against Portland.

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton won't need surgery on his broken right pinky finger and is expected to be out at least a month.

PRO FOOTBALL

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -- Greg McElroy has a concussion and will be replaced by Mark Sanchez as the New York Jets' starting quarterback in the season finale at Buffalo on Sunday.

Coach Rex Ryan said McElroy, preparing to make his second NFL start in place of the benched Sanchez, was lifting weights and had headaches. He went to the team's training staff and then revealed he was suffering concussion-like symptoms after being sacked 11 times in the Jets' 27-17 loss to San Diego last Sunday.

Ryan says he chose to start Sanchez over Tim Tebow because the team has just two practices and a walkthrough to prepare before the game and he feels "more comfortable" with Sanchez.

RENTON, Wash. (AP) -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman won his appeal of a four-game suspension for use of performance enhancing substances, making him eligible for the NFL playoffs.

Sherman posted "I won," on his Twitter account, followed by teammates tweeting their congratulations.

The decision was made by former NFL executive Bob Wallace.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- A person familiar with the penalty says the NFL has fined Panthers quarterback Cam Newton $21,000 for abusive conduct toward a game official.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league hasn't announced the fine.

Newton shouted at and bumped referee Jerome Boger in the fourth quarter of Carolina's penalty-plagued 17-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- The San Francisco 49ers All-Pro tackle Justin Smith is unlikely to play Sunday in the regular-season finale against Arizona because of a partially torn left triceps. The injury could force Smith to miss some or all of the postseason.

DALLAS (AP) -- Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was driving with a suspended license and had a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit at the time of the car crash that killed teammate and friend Jerry Brown, according to documents released by police.

The 24-year-old Brent was tested after the crash in the early hours of Dec. 8 at 0.189 percent, well above the Texas limit of 0.08. One police report said Brent was intoxicated, driving over the speed limit and swerving out of one lane when he struck a curb in Irving, a suburb of Dallas, causing the car to flip over.

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