A coaching change late Monday night startled the Milwaukee Bucks, but less than 24 hours later they rebounded to snap a four-game losing streak.
One night after coach Scott Skiles and the Bucks mutually agreed to part ways new coach Jim Boylan led the Bucks to a 109-99 win over the Phoenix Suns.
The response to new coach Jim Boylan was solid in his first game (Gary Porter/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).
The victory stopped Milwaukee’s four-game skid, which spanned a week and a half. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute said told reporters Tuesday that though the move surprised him, he could also see the writing on the wall indicating that a change might be coming.
« I was shocked obviously, » he said. « But I had an idea the team wasn’t really happy with the way everything was going. Not this year but over the last couple years with Skiles. Every time there are frustrations and you add the four-game losing streak we were riding, you never know what can happen. »
No. 12 said that he will always have fond memories of Skiles, his first ever coach but knows from his experience as a restricted free agent last offseason that basketball is a business that can sometimes be cruel.
« It was a great experience learning under him. He gave me an opportunity and was my first coach so I’ll always remember that, » Luc said. « The business we’re in you can be here in Milwaukee one day or in L.A. the next, or whatever. Same with the coach. He can be coach one day and not coaching the next. »
The Bucks’ on-court response to the change was strong. After a tough first that saw Milwaukee allow Phoenix to score 33 points on nearly 64 percent shooting, they limited the Suns to just 66 points on less than 34 percent shooting. Luc did strong work on forward Jared Dudley, who went just 4-of-11 from the field over the final three quarters.
No. 12 scored 11 points in 25 minutes on Tuesday and his role is not expected to change (Getty Images).
Luc’s role didn’t change much with the new coach. He started his 13th straight game, though this one came at small forward, scored 11 points and added four rebounds in 25 minutes in the win. His best work came in the second half when he scored seven points on 3-of-5 including his fourth three-pointer of the year. Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball believes not much will differ for the Prince with Boylan in the head role.
« He’ll be getting more and more time at the small forward slot according to Boylan, due to the number of bigs on the roster, but his game doesn’t change much. He did hit a three, which is always fun to see. Depending on the lineups he’s out there with, he may have to be on the perimeter a bit more, but it won’t be drastic so long as he’s out there with a more perimeter oriented Ilyasova.
Luc noted that the Bucks have some experience under Boylan, who coached the team previously when Skiles fell ill or was ejected from a game.
« The team responded pretty well to him. He knows the team and he knows what the city wants, what the guys want. Sometimes it’s good for an assistant coach to come up because the players are more comfortable with the assistant. He understands some of the struggles the players are going through, from an assistant’s perspective. Now he’s the head coach. It’s a good change for the team. Now it’s up to the players to make the best of it. »
The Bucks (17-16) complete a back-to-back on Wednesday night in Chicago, where they’ll play a Central Division showdown with the Bulls (19-13).
The Bucks split a pair of games against the Bulls back in November, but the one they won was in Chicago, a 93-92 win on November 26th. Luc missed both games while still recovering from his knee injury.
Wednesday’s tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.
- Bucks beat Suns 108-99 in Boylan’s first game (The Associated Press, January 8, 2013)
- Bucks win Boylan’s debut by beating Suns, 108-99 (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 8, 2013)
- Bucks players’ reaction to coaching move (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 8, 2013)
- So begins the Jim Boylan era (Brew Hoop, January 8, 2012)
- Boylan’s debut a success: Bucks 108 – Suns 99 (Bucksketball, January 8, 2012)