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GM Ryan McDonough: Suns stopped responding to Jeff Hornacek

Jeff Hornacek, Ryan McDonough

Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek, right, answers a questions as general manager Ryan McDonough, left, watches at a news conference during an NBA basketball media day Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough says coach Jeff Hornacek was fired because the players weren’t responding to him.

Now the job has gone on an interim basis to Earl Watson, who at 36 becomes the youngest coach in the NBA.

McDonough says the team has not played with maximum effort the past few weeks.

He says he and Watson spoke to the players before Tuesday morning’s shootaround and told them that more is expected of them, regardless of what they think of the team’s talent level.

To provide help on what would have been an extremely inexperienced coaching staff, the Suns have hired Bob Hill as an assistant. Hill is a former head coach of the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs.

Phoenix has lost 19 of 21 games.