Kirk Hinrich: Skiles team is 'going to play hard'
Kirk Hinrich probably knows the Milwaukee Bucks better than anybody with the Wizards since he spent nearly four seasons playing for their coach, Scott Skiles, in Chicago. Skiles took over as head coach of the Bulls midway through Hinrich's rookie season and they made it to the playoffs in each of the next three seasons.
"He had a huge influence on my career. He helped me learn the NBA game. He was very influential in me becoming the player that I am today and just how I view the game," said Hinrich, who had his best seasons under Skiles, averaging 16 and 6.3 assists from 2004-07. "As soon as he got there, every player was held under a different precedent, and he holds everybody accountable, he demands the best of you and he demands that you be a pro and bring it every night. I think he's a good coach."
In Skiles's time in Chicago, the Bulls were one of the better defensive teams in the league, as they embodied the toughness of a coach who famously got into a scuffle with Shaquille O'Neal when he was a member of the Orlando Magic. The Bucks (14-24) have struggled this season, with Andrew Bogut working his way back from a serious arm injury and Brandon Jennings missing 13 games with a broken left foot, but Hinrich said there are certain expectations that come with a Skiles team.
"They are going to play hard," said Hinrich, who is 4-4 against his former coach the past two seasons. "Scott's teams have always been very good defensively. So it's going to be a challenge for us, obviously, because we haven't won a road game. I just think we've kind of lacked mental toughness this year, especially on the road. It seems like we're a little more confident, feel more comfortable on at home. Hopefully, we'll play with a lot of urgency and want to get that monkey off our back, keep playing well."
The Bucks have lost three in a row and six of their past seven games overall. They will be looking to avoid becoming the first team to lose at home to the Wizards, who are 0-19 on the road. "We're going to have to be able to match their intensity," Hinrich said. "If you're on that team and you're not going to defend, you're not going to play on Milwaukee. We have to be able to move the ball. We're not going to be able to go one-on-one. We're going to have to move the ball and be sharp, defensively. We're going to have to play with the same intensity that we've been playing at home."
FROM THE POST
Flip Saunders missed practice yesterday to tend to his ailing mother.
YI Jianlian has started to settle in and play well since knee injuries slowed him down earlier this season.
The panelists on Post Sports Live wonder if Monday's game could be a turning point for the Wizards.
John Wall talks about Monday's win over Utah.
A rare "Dagger!" was heard on Monday. Announcer Steve Buckhantz describes how it felt to use his signature call for possibly only the second time this season (DC Sports Bog).
AROUND THE WEB
USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt writes about Nick Young's emergence since the Gilbert Arenas trade and his rough journey to this opportunity.
At FanHouse, The Works analyzes LeBron James's latest Twitter disasters. Bonus: Scroll to the bottom for Wizards' sweet dreams.
The Heat lost their fourth straight game last night, but Greg Cote says don't read too much into it (Miami Herald).
| January 19, 2011; 8:15 AM ET
Categories: Morning brew
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