Scott Skiles Interview
The Chicago Bulls this season have a 25-32 record and while presently last in the Central division they're just one spot out of the final Eastern conference playoff spot. Before a Chicago-New York game in Madison Square garden, Bulls coach Scott Skiles spoke to the media. Only on InsideHoops.com will you see everything Skiles said.
Question: How much do you miss the size and strength that Eddy Curry had, and did you expect to be struggling this much without him?
Scott Skiles: Well, the team he went to is struggling mightily, I would say. What we miss most from Eddy is just his ability to catch the ball by the basket and dunk it. We don't have any other big men on our team that, when our guards penetrate, catch the drop-off passes and finish them strong. We've got some clever guys that can go up and shoot reverse layups or whatever and still get the ball up and in, but Eddy can just overpower people by the basket like that, so that's what we miss the most.
Question: Are you at all surprised that he has not really flourished here in New York?
Scott Skiles: No.
Scott Skiles: Just not.
Question: Did you at all dream that you might have the first overall pick when you guys made the Curry trade?
Scott Skiles: I'm not even thinking about that right now. I guess it's not a summertime thing, I guess that'll come up I guess in May sometime, when the lottery is, and we'll just see what happens when it happens.
Question: What's been the difference with your team this year from the second half of last year when you were going on a nice run?
Scott Skiles: A couple of things. We've really struggled to win close games. Last year we won a lot of close games. But all year long, we didn't come back after the summer with the same hunger and desperation that we had last year. You factor that in, we made some changes, that has to factor in. Our guys almost every night play hard and give what they can. We just have had many close games where we either had leads or been down one with a couple of minutes to go and have had a lot of trouble closing them out. Our count was at a dozen about two weeks ago, and we've had a couple or three since then. You get 12-15 games where you're right there at the end and not able to get them, that obviously hurts your record.
Question: You mentioned last night about Flip Murray being left open, resulting in the Cavs win yesterday. Can you estimate how many games you've lost in that type of situation?
Scott Skiles: That's one of the things that's happened to us, is our focus has wained in a lot of key moments. We had two really veteran leadership guys that really held us together last year in AD [Antonio Davis] and Griff [Adrian Griffin]. And their absence is, I don't know if dramatic is the right word, but the difference in the dynamic in our team has been palpable. Those are two guys that just sort of quietly, for whatever reason, even if they weren't in the game at those moments, somehow those things we didn't do. But it's our guys, they need the opportunity to make those kinds of mistakes, because that's how you learn. We all learn from our mistakes. We may not be learning at a pace that I would like, or whatever, but a lot of times you can't control that pace. It unfolds how it unfolds, and I would still go to battle with these guys any night. I like this team.
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