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(Reuters) - The slumping Phoenix Suns have fired head coach Jeff Hornacek and named assistant Earl Watson as the interim coach, the National Basketball Association team said on Monday.
The Suns began the 2015-16 NBA season with hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 2010 but have lost 19 of their past 21 games, a stretch that has seen the team without several key players.
"The Phoenix Suns have relieved Jeff Hornacek of his duties as head coach following his two-plus seasons in the position," the team said in a statement.
Under Hornacek, who had been in charge since May 2013, the Suns went 101-112, including a 14-35 mark this season that has them near the bottom of the league standings.
In Hornacek's inaugural season in 2013-14 the Suns went 48-34, followed by a 39-43 record last season.
Hornacek, 52, played six years in Phoenix during his career as a shooting guard.
Watson is also a former player who enjoyed a 13-year career in the NBA. The 36-year-old Watson retired in 2014 and is in his first season with the Suns coaching staff.
He will make his debut at the helm on Tuesday when Phoenix host the Toronto Raptors.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Additional reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue