Found January 31, 2013 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
MILWAUKEE -- There's little question Ersan Ilyasova was playing with doubt and a touch of fear in the back of his mind early this season.November struggles had former Bucks coach Scott Skiles cutting his minutes, and Ilyasova's confidence was plummeting along with his numbers. These days, he's a different player or rather, the one he was last season. "Ersanity" appears to be back. With his minutes up, Ilyasova is averaging 15.1 points and 7.7 rebounds since Jim Boylan replaced Skiles on Jan. 8. He's shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 50.0 percent on three-pointers since the change. "I'm just getting my confidence back, and when I get wide-open shots, I'm able to knock them down," Ilyasova said. "We've started playing better as a team, and we're sharing the ball offensively." Skiles and Ilyasova didn't see eye to eye. When the fifth-year Turkish forward struggled for a stretch, his minutes suffered because Skiles preferred to play the hot hand. The veteran coach said he couldn't give a struggling player extended minutes to snap out of a funk at the expense of the team, and who could blame him? Though that type of coaching works for some, it didn't for Ilyasova. He needs to feel good to play well, and it just wasn't happening in his first year after signing a lucrative five-year deal last offseason. After averaging career highs with 13.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 2011-12, Ilyasova was at 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds when Thanksgiving hit. His shooting numbers were abysmal -- 31.3 percent from the floor and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc. "My concern (was) about the minutes," Ilyasova said. "When you come off the season I had last year, I didn't expect to play less than I did last year. That didn't motivate me well. It's really hard to play the way I was playing with Skiles. Whatever I did affected my minutes when I missed a couple of my first shots." When Boylan took over, his first move was to reinsert Ilyasova into the starting lineup. He understood the value of a big man who can both spread the floor and hit the boards and was going to give the 25-year-old the minutes to get on track. Thus far, the move has worked brilliantly suddenly Ilyasova is tied for fifth in the NBA in three-point shooting at 43.7 percent. "When I came in, my job was to try to get him back to a good place," Boylan said. "The last several games, he's been looking really good, the Ersan of last year. So hopefully we can keep that going." When Ilyasova stopped making shots, he wasn't rebounding as aggressively, either. The tip-ins he frequently got last season weren't there. In fact, Ilyasova was struggling to rebound on both ends of the floor. That's all changed under Boylan, too and the best evidence is the four-game week Ilyasova had from Jan. 19-26. He averaged 25.5 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists while making 63.1 percent of his three-pointers and became the first player in the league this season to post back-to-back games of at least 27 points and 14 rebounds. "That's part of my game, to be active," Ilyasova said. "Some nights you aren't going to hit those shots, but if I have this in my pocket just go in there and get on the offensive glass and try to crash it. Try to get second-chance opportunities. Those plays, that's all about second effort." As Ilyasova has surged, the Bucks' offense has as well. Milwaukee is averaging 102.8 points per game under Boylan and with Ilyasova back in the starting lineup. When center Larry Sanders rolls to the rim, the defense is forced to make a decision. With a big emphasis on stopping guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis from driving, the defense often double-teams the penetrator. Sanders then dives to the basket and the other big man picks him up, leaving Ilyasova open for a three-pointer. If the defense decides to stay with Ilyasova, Jennings and Ellis have a clearer path to the basket because more often than not, the lightning-quick guards can beat their man off the dribble. "When he's making shots like that, it opens up the floor for us a whole lot," Jennings said. "When he brings the intensity, guys can't really stay on me on the pick-and-rolls because Ers is going to knock down shots. It's the best of both worlds." Facing a 6-foot-10 power forward who can step out and hit a three is troubling for opponents. Now that Ilyasova is back among the league leaders in three-point percentage, he's a matchup nightmare. "He's a tremendous player," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "Ilyasova, I've always been a huge fan. He's a guy who can shoot the three, rebounds. He's tough; he defends." Even at his lowest point, Ilyasova knew this turnaround was possible. He just needed the consistent minutes to make it happen. "Last year when I got those minutes, I started to produce more and it was real disappointing this season at the beginning," Ilyasova said. "(Under Skiles) I didn't expect to play that much. Now we made the changes, and I have my confidence back and I feel much better." Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Ilyasova Regaining Confidence, Shooting Touch Under Boylan

Ersan Ilyasova is now tied for fifth in the NBA in three-point shooting at 43.7 percent.

Remembering the 1993-1994 Milwaukee Bucks

The 1993-1994 Milwaukee Bucks were historic.  They were the worst team with only 20 wins in the last 20 years of this mediocre (at best) franchise.   That’s 62 losses folks. It was at the epicenter of my fandom of all things sports.  Still living in the dorms with plenty of free time.  I remember these Bucks very well. Mike Dunleavy was the coach and trying to bring life to...

Stern chooses Nets' Lopez for All-Star spot

MILWAUKEE The door that had opened for Brandon Jennings to make the All-Star Game has been slammed shut. NBA commissioner David Stern has picked Brooklyn center Brook Lopez to replace injured Boston point guard Rajon Rondo on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Jennings was not chosen initially when the reserves were announced last Thursday but seemed to be one of the favorites...

Bulls capitalize on shorthanded, tired Bucks

MILWAUKEE More often than not, numbers can tell the story. Two major numbers worked against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. Chicago turned 19 Milwaukee turnovers into 24 points and the Bulls scored 66 points in the paint on their way to a 104-88 victory at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. "We made mistakes and they capitalized," Bucks guard Monta Ellis said. ...

Bucks attempt to slow New York star Anthony

The Milwaukee Bucks have enjoyed plenty of success against the Atlantic Division this season, but like many teams, they had none when they faced New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony in November. The Bucks seek to even the season series with the Knicks, and they have played well at Madison Square Garden in recent seasons heading into Friday night's matchup. Milwaukee (24-20...

Magic-Bucks Preview

The Milwaukee Bucks have cooled off this week, but a visit from an injury-plagued opponent could help them get back in the win column. The Bucks appear to have a good chance to end their string of seven straight losses to the Orlando Magic on Saturday night. Milwaukee (24-21) won eight of its first 11 under interim coach Jim Boylan, but it has since sputtered offensively in back...

Bulls 104, Bucks 88

Nate Robinson scored 16 of his 24 points in the second quarter, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 104-88 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. Jimmy Butler, a second-year pro from Marquette, had 18 points and five rebounds in a return to the arena where he played college basketball. Samuel Dalembert had 14 points and a season-high 13 rebounds for the Bucks. Ersan Ilyasova...

Bulls finally beat Bucks in third attempt

MILWAUKEE -- There would be no comeback this time. After surrendering double-digits leads in their last two losses against Milwaukee, the Chicago Bulls put a halt to every attempt at a surge Wednesday, holding on to beat the Bucks 104-88 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Nate Robinson scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second quarter, and five other Bulls players scored...

Bucks-Knicks Preview

The Milwaukee Bucks have enjoyed plenty of success against the Atlantic Division this season, but like many teams, they had none when they faced New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony in November. The Bucks seek to even the season series with the Knicks, and they have played well at Madison Square Garden in recent seasons heading into Friday night's matchup. Milwaukee (24-20...

Friday Night Knicks Curse…Real or Fiction?

Bucks @ Knicks: MSG 730pm The Knicks continue their home stand at the Garden against two of the most explosive guards in the league, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, as well as the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks.  The Bucks are currently seeded 7th in the East and since new coach Jim Boylan has taken over the Bucks have opened up the offense.  They are pretty strong on the glass...

Magic at Bucks game preview

Game time: 8:30 p.m. TV: FOX Sports Florida The Milwaukee Bucks have cooled off this week, but a visit from an injury-plagued opponent could help them get back in the win column. The Bucks appear to have a good chance to end their string of seven straight losses to the Orlando Magic on Saturday night. Milwaukee (24-21) won eight of its first 11 under interim coach Jim Boylan,...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.