|Nocioni apologizes to coach for outburst during Saturday's loss|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 24 March 2008 12:59|
After playing about three minutes in the second quarter of Saturday night's game against the Pacers before being lifted, Nocioni yelled at Boylan, who then sent him to the locker room.
``What I said and what I did the other day was absolutely wrong. I have no excuse for what I did. I talked with the coach and I gave him my apology because I lost my control for the first time in a long, long time,'' Nocioni said Monday after practice in suburban Deerfield. He'd also apologized publicly after Saturday's game.
``I don't know why. I think it's because it's been tough and I think everybody's a little frustrated with what's going on with the team. It's no excuse, but it happened. I couldn't control myself and I was absolutely wrong,'' Nocioni said.
The firing of coach Scott Skiles on Christmas Eve and a three-team trade that sent away Ben Wallace and brought in Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes has been just part of the trying season for a team that had high expectations.
Earlier, the Bulls didn't get contract extensions done with Ben Gordon and Luol Deng, and the team was distracted by rumors of a Kobe Bryant trade.
But worse than blowing fourth-quarter leads to lose - as they did three times in a recent nine-day span to fall 15 games under .500 - the Bulls' comportment has been on the decline.
And Boylan, who'd been an assistant before being Skiles' replacement, has been forced to deal with more than just coaching.
``When these other things pop up, which no one's immune to ... They happen to everyone to some degree,'' Boylan said Monday.
``In our case, this year, it's more. I think a lot has to do with the expectations that were in place early, and we haven't met those, and the pressure that comes with it.''
Rookie Joakim Noah, who has moved into a starter's role after the trade, was suspended for two games in January after a verbal outburst at assistant coach Ron Adams in practice. It was initially a one-game suspension, but his Bulls teammates voted to extend it for an extra game. And a short time later, after a blowout loss to Orlando, Noah and Wallace exchanged words.
Tyrus Thomas, apparently unhappy with his playing time, was suspended by the team for two games after skipping practice earlier this month.
Chris Duhon missed a March 9 shootaround after being spotted the night before in Durham, N.C., at the North Carolina-Duke game. Duhon was benched for one game and inactive for another and fined. His playing time had been reduced since Hughes' arrival and he angered Bulls officials with a comment that ``I haven't been playing a lot anyway'' after missing the shootaround. Duhon, who also fought an illness recently, hasn't played since March 7.
Being an interim head coach puts Boylan in a tough situation. These incidents would not seem to help his cause of getting the job full time.
``People are writing about that, that I have no chance. I don't agree with that,'' Boylan said, adding that his conversations with GM John Paxson have been positive.
``He said it's about how the team is developing, how the young guys are getting better. I think a fair evaluation would be someone has a chance to have a training camp, get these guys organized and have some authority. It's not the easiest job in the world when you're the interim coach and things start to go in the opposite direction to reel guys back in.''
Asked if the players might tune him out because of the interim tag, Boylan said he wasn't sure.
``I'm not a mind reader. I just try to do what I can do with the situation that I'm in,'' he said.
``I try and keep my communication open with the players and I have a good relationship with the guys. But I do know that in an interim situation it's a little more difficult to handle than it is for guys who have a long-term contract.
``And players understand that that guy's going to be around and he's going to be your coach for a while, because players want to play. They want to please the coach so they can play.''
Despite the turmoil, the Bulls are still in the running for the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference.
Boylan said he understands why Nocioni, among others, is frustrated.
``He's sorry what happened. It's an unfortunate situation, but it did happen and we'll move on from it,'' Boylan said.
``In truth everything was fine right after it happened. I'd never hold any kind of grudge against a player for showing some emotion out there. Maybe it's not the right time to do it, but it is an emotional game. You play with spirit and you ask your guys to play with some passion. Sometimes it's hard to control it in the right way.''