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Struggling Bulls fire head coach Skiles

Los Angeles (dpa) - With no answers on how to turn around their fortunes, the struggling Chicago Bulls on Monday fired head coach Scott Skiles, following a disappointing 9-16 start.

"This was a difficult decision to make but one that was necessary at this time," Bulls general manager John Paxson said in a statement, "Scott helped us in many ways during his time with the Bulls."

   Despite a young core of top notch players led by Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, veteran defensive standout Ben Wallace, and Argentine Andres Nocioni, a shakeup was needed for the underachieving Bulls, who were booed by their loyal hometown fans after a half- hearted 116-98 loss to Houston on Saturday night.

 "I don't have a long-term solution as of today," Paxson added. "I'm disappointed in the way we're playing, the way we're competing, the energy or lack thereof that we're playing with on the floor."

   The Bulls did not name a replacement for Skiles, who guided the Bulls to a 165-172 record and three playoff appearances, since taking over for Bill Cartwright in November 2003.

 Instead, assistants Pete Myers or Jim Boylan will run the club for the remaining 57 games, beginning with a road contest against defending NBA champion San Antonio on Wednesday night.

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