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News » BUCKS NOTES Defense putting clamps on opponents so far

BUCKS NOTES Defense putting clamps on opponents so far

BUCKS NOTES  Defense putting clamps on opponents so far By TOM ENLUND

St. Francis - The Milwaukee Bucks have played only five games.

Still, the numbers don't lie.

The Bucks are giving up 85.2 points per game. They are the only team in the league that has yet to yield 100 points in a game. And they are off to the best start in franchise history for points allowed after five games.

Not bad for a franchise that has not been known for its defense over the past several years.

Coach Scott Skiles said there are several factors involved.

"Preparation, hard work, everything," he said. "We work very hard at it. The guys are getting good at our schemes. We're contesting shots very well. We've been good on the defensive board. So all the factors you need if you're going to do that, we're doing them all fairly well right now.

"We've got a better commitment from the guys. We have a more energetic group. Guys have a lot of energy every day. It seems to be getting internalized rather than being inconsistent with it. You just hope it continues because it's a way we can win right now."

The Bucks have given up 99 points in a loss to Philadelphia, 85 in a victory over Detroit, 83 in a loss to Chicago, 72 in a victory over Minnesota, and 87 in a victory over New York.

The Bucks gave up 100.4 points per game last season, which ranked 16th in the league.

""We are what we are, and so far it's held us in games and covered for our poor shooting in some games where we've actually given ourselves a chance," Skiles said.

Starting times: The Bucks held their usual practice Monday, from 10 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m., and afterward, Skiles was asked about scheduling practices later in the day to give the players more time to sleep.

Boston, for one, has pushed its practice time back an hour to noon while San Antonio is now starting practice at about 4 p.m.

"Over the years, coaches have talked about that," Skiles said. "I can see the benefits of both. I think what coaches try to do is look at their own group and make judgments accordingly."

Some teams no longer hold shoot-arounds at the arena on the morning of a game. Instead, they are holding a walk-through at the team hotel when on the road or late in the afternoon at home when the players report for the game. Some are bypassing the shoot-around all together.

After flying back after their game in Minnesota last Friday night, they did not hold a shoot-around Saturday morning at the Bradley Center. Instead, they went through a walk-through at the Bradley Center 2? hours before game time.

"You could have the type of team where you may not think it's as necessary," Skiles said. "I don't think it's something you'd want to do if you had a lot of young players. They still need to be taught things."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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