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News » NOTES Tighter defense stressed Skiles not happy with points allowed

NOTES Tighter defense stressed Skiles not happy with points allowed

NOTES  Tighter defense stressed  Skiles not happy with points allowed By TOM ENLUND

St. Francis - The Milwaukee Bucks will be looking to polish elements of their game when they take on the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.

The Bucks want to improve their defense and play more physical Basketball without sending the opposition to the foul line all night.

Asked what kind of style he envisioned his team playing, it was clear coach Scott Skiles has not been pleased with his team's defense in the first two exhibition games.

"Style is irrelevant if teams are scoring (over) a hundred and shooting 50%," he said. "Then there is no style. Our style has to be that we have to really tighten up our defense.

"Nothing against our guys, because I like this group and it's a good group to work with, but out of 30 coaches I bet 27 or 28 of them would say if we're giving our opponents 117 points, we're not going to win many of those games. So we're not unique with regard to that. We've got to get that down in the 90s and then we'll have a chance."

In the first exhibition game, Minnesota scored 117 points and shot 50.8%. In the second game, Detroit scored 113 points and shot 55.9%. The Bucks lost both games.

"We're not playing physical enough, that's for sure," said Skiles. "The first game we were half-a-step slow and fouling people and then we kind of made a point of emphasis that we have to stop fouling, so (against Detroit) they just pretty much just drove by us all the time.

In an effort to get a more physical front line at the beginning of the game, Skiles plans to start veteran Kurt Thomas at power forward against Chicago in place of Ersan Ilyasova. Skiles intends to use different starting lineups in the next few games.

"It's a work in progress where we're all trying to get on the same page with a lot of new faces. We've got time to get it done. It's just time to come out and have a really good effort on both ends and see what happens."

In the two exhibition games, Minnesota shot 56 free throws compared to 38 for the Bucks , while Detroit shot 46 to the Bucks' 40.

"We're fouling too much, definitely," center Andrew Bogut said. "We're learning how to play physical without fouling, and that's everybody, including myself. Not knocking the new referees, but they're making adjustments from the league they're in to the NBA, so there's a lot of things out there and we just need to adjust our game."

A new language: Thomas, who joined the Bucks in an off-season trade with San Antonio, is with the seventh team of his 15-year career and says the most difficult part of joining a new team is getting familiar with the terminology.

"It's all about just learning the language," he said. "Learning the sets that the coach wants on the offensive and defensive end. After about a week or so, you get comfortable with what the coach is looking for from you out there on the floor and everything is good."

Secret to success: Bogut says the Bucks will have to have a blue-collar approach to win this season.

"I think we have to be a team that wins the rebound count, wins the hustle-point counts, and I think we're capable of doing that," he said. "I think it's going to be a long season if we don't. But Coach has had his system in and I think most guys respect that and accept it."

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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Added: October 11, 2009


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