The Bucks snapped a four game losing-streak Tuesday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, beating the Suns 108 to ninety-nine. The win capped off a turbulent two days of announcements regarding the departure offour-year head coach Scott Skiles, as well as the placement of interim head coach Jim Boylan. With the win, the team avoids falling below .500 for the first time this season, as well as maintains a one game advantage over Boston in the conference.
In what was called a calm and unexpected discussion, Bucks general manager John Hammond and Skiles reached a mutual agreement for the two parties to part ways. In the midst of his fifth season at the helm of the team, Skiles could not manage to right the Buck's wavering consistency, leading them through a series of win-streaks and slumps over thirty-two games in 2012. Four consecutive losses to begin this year turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back, as Hammond made the coach aware of his thoughts at the Cousin's Center after practice on Monday.
Players immediately began commenting about the news on social media following its release, most wishing good luck to Skiles in the future and their thanks for his support and leadership. Star point guard Brandon Jennings had an especially heartfelt farewell message for his only professional coach, thanking Skiles for believing in him as a rookie and helping him become the player he is today.
Other players touched on the Boylan subject, especially his intentions to meet with every one of them personally to discuss their thoughts on the team. Center Larry Sanders said that Boylan's dedication to quality communication was a big boost for his confidence in the interim coach, adding that it will be a welcome improvement to the team's chemistry. Power forward Ersan Ilyasova put it bluntly when he said he felt uneasy playing under Skiles, worrying that any mistakes may cost him minutes. Boylan himself agreed that as an assistant under Skiles, he was often more preoccupied with keeping his job than he was with coaching the team.
Regardless of his fears, Boylan sustained various positions under Skiles for over ten-years at three professional institutions. Moving from head coach at the University of New Hampshire to a video-coordinator position for the Cavilers, Boylan first worked with Skiles as an assistant in Phoenix. The two met again in Chicago, where Boylan had his first mid-season takeover for Skiles, after the later was fired in 2008. As interim head coach there, Boylan finished the season with a twenty-four-and-thirty-two record.
Bucks Still Hope To Make Playoffs In 2013
Hammond is hoping for better than that in 2013, expecting Boylan to keep the Bucks within the top eight playoff spots for the eastern conference. Tuesday's game against the Suns was an optimistic debut for the second-time head coach, though Wednesday's test against fellow central division rivals the Chicago Bulls will be the first true test he faces this year.
As to the future, Hammond revealed that Boylan is a top candidate for the permanent job, though his performance throughout the rest of this season will decide that. Boylan's vacated assistant position is likely to go to scout Chris Gilmartin.