Coach Lon Kruger was fired by the slumping Hawks, the second Atlanta coach to be let go yesterday.

"I guess when you talk about wins and losses, we haven't gotten the job done, and so it didn't really come as a surprise," said Kruger, who led Atlanta to an 11-16 record.

The news came hours after the NHL's Thrashers, a team also owned by AOL Time-Warner, fired Curt Fraser.

The Hawks have lost seven of their last 10 and have been criticized by Fs Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Ira Newble about the team's readiness.

Hawks assistant coach Terry Stotts was to be named interim coach. Assistant Gar Heard also was fired.

* TOUGH BREAK: Kings G Bobby Jackson will be sidelined for about six weeks with a broken left hand. Jackson injured himself Wednesday against the Lakers when C Shaquille O'Neal knocked the ball out of his hands while he was driving to the basket. Jackson underwent surgery yesterday at UC Davis Medical Center. He is averaging 19.5 points, but has been coming off the bench since Mike Bibby returned from an injury.

* VIEWER FRIENDLY: ABC Sports' deal with the league got off to a promising start. The network's coverage of the Kings' 105-99 victory over the Lakers on Wednesday drew a 5.8 overnight rating, the highest for a Dec. 25 NBA broadcast since 1997.

-- From News Services