Skiles expects turnaround but rues missed chances

Published: 11/14/2007 12:31 AM

Anyone using the Bulls' 1-5 start as proof that the team needs to make personnel changes is ignoring history, coach Scott Skiles said.

"With all the expectations and everything, if this was the first time we started like this, there may be more of a sense of panic around here," he said Tuesday at the Berto Center.

"But because we've started not so well in the past and the same guys have in pretty short order got it rectified and come back and played very well, we can't do anything foolish."

At the same time, Skiles doesn't want anyone getting used to these slow starts. Last season the Bulls started 3-9 and recovered to finish 49-33.

"Now the season's over, you win 49 games and you look back and realize that eight games you just booted away and you could have won 55," he said. "So we don't ever want to start like this and have this be a yearly thing where we always look back and say, 'Boy, we really turned it around.'

"When the season starts is when you've got to be ready to play."

Added Ben Gordon: "This is a place where this team has been before, and we always manage to fight our way out of it. I think we'll do the same thing. We just have to get rolling sooner than later."

Skiles supports meeting: Scott Skiles endorsed Monday's players-only meeting before it even happened. Veteran forward Adrian Griffin organized the session to help figure out what's gone wrong during the 1-5 start.

"Griff came to me after the game (Saturday) and asked if I minded," Skiles said. "I said, 'No, that would be great.' So he took charge and did it. I think it's great anytime guys can get together and talk like that.

"My understanding was there were some good things said. That's all well and good, but we still have to perform."

Travel partners: Even though the Bulls have fared poorly on the annual November road trip since the end of the championship era, some players promoted the idea that going on the road could be good for the team.

"Playing on the road, you spend a little more time with each other," Kirk Hinrich said. "There's more camaraderie."

"Joe (Smith) lives out in Phoenix, so a couple guys are going to go have dinner at his house," Ben Gordon said. "Hopefully this road trip will bring us closer together and, when we're out on the court, it will show."

Gut-check time: Guard Kirk Hinrich on enduring back-to-back three-hour practices the past two days:

"It's been kind of a gut-check. Everybody's been trying to put a finger on what's wrong with this team. By getting a lot of reps here in practice and working hard, it just helps you get the bad taste out of your mouth from the bad start. Whenever you put in a good day's work, even though our record is what it is, you still feel better than if you didn't."

The Bulls won't practice today, only meeting at the airport for the flight to Phoenix.