Scott Skiles didn’t even get half a season to try and steer the Chicago Bulls back in the right direction, and Pete Myers got just one game. Jim Boylan’s tenure will last at least until the end of the season.
Boylan makes his debut as interim coach of the Bulls when they continue their season series with the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
Bulls general manager John Paxson promoted Boylan on Thursday, saying Skiles’ former assistant will be the interim head coach for the rest of the season. Skiles was fired Monday after the team’s disappointing start, and Myers filled in Wednesday night as Chicago (9-17) lost 94-79 at San Antonio.
After four years as a Bulls assistant, Boylan will make his debut as a head coach.
“We need to get our guys believing in themselves again. That’s not always an easy thing to do,” Boylan said.
Chicago continued to struggle offensively in its first game without Skiles, shooting 41.0 percent from the field against the Spurs and getting held to its lowest point total since November. The Bulls, who have lost four of their last five, are last in the league in scoring at 91.5 points per game and field-goal shooting at 41.3 percent.
It could be tough for them to be competitive any time soon with their coaching situation in a state of flux.
“I’ve been here for four years with the same coach,” said Chicago swingman Luol Deng, averaging 18.0 points. “It’s going to be an adjustment.”
An inept offense has been the Bulls’ biggest problem all season. They have been held under 80 points six times, including a 78-72 loss to Milwaukee on Nov. 3.
Another matchup with the struggling Bucks (11-16), though, might give the Bulls a good chance to bounce back from their debacle against the Spurs.
Milwaukee has lost seven straight on the road, and will now play in a venue where it has struggled in recent years. The Bucks have dropped three in a row and 10 of 12 at the United Center.
Coming off a 125-105 loss to Denver on Wednesday night, the Bucks have lost three of four overall and are 4-12 since a five-game winning streak. Milwaukee hasn’t had a .500 record since it was 7-7 after a loss to New York on Nov. 30.
“It all comes down to playing hard,” Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “We discussed it and I’m not going to air a bunch of dirty laundry for what’s going on behind closed doors.”
Yi Jianlian had a career-high 29 points in a win over Charlotte on Saturday night, but the 7-foot rookie forward from China was held to eight on 2-of-11 shooting versus the Nuggets. He had the first double-figure scoring game of his career in November’s contest with the Bulls, finishing with 16 points and what was then a career-high eight rebounds.
Michael Redd had 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Milwaukee in that game. He is averaging 30.4 points while shooting 43.8 percent (21-for-48) from 3-point range in his last nine games against Chicago.
Redd, though, struggled against Denver, scoring nine points on 1-of-8 shooting as the Bucks fell to 7-1 when scoring 100 points or more.