Originally written on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 10/24/14
51
As much as the Bucks have struggled this season, especially in the second half, there is reason for optimism as the team continues its west coast road trip tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers.Once again, head coach Scott Skiles' team is among the league's best defensive squads. The Bucks are second in turnovers forced (19.2 per game), third in opponents' field goal percentage (.412), three-point field goal percentage (.269) and tenth in points allowed (91.8)."We're OK," Skiles said before the Bucks faced the Clippers Saturday. "We have a ways to go, though. During parts of the game, we're getting away from what we normally do. We're getting a little soft on the ball for instance, we're having trouble with pick-and-rolls."Skiles isn't overly concerned about the defense, both because of the overall body of work and the early nature of the season. He had said throughout training camp that the condensed nature of the season would necessitate a lot of on-the-job training, and that theory has played out so far."We've got a lot of new players trying to learn in a short amount of time," Skiles said. A victory tonight is important for Milwaukee, which dropped to 2-4 on the season with three losses in a row, including a heartbreaking 103-100 loss Thursday at Sacramento. The Bucks would like to finish the trip strong but will be challenged in back-to-back games against the Clippers and Sunday at Phoenix."Nobody wants to go home 2-6," Skiles said. "We've got to make a stand right now. A bunch of teams with around our kind of record. You can't afford this year to fall too far behind.""These are two huge games for us."All hands on deck: As has been the case for much of this trip, Skiles will be shorthanded against the Clippers. Andrew Bogut is still away from the team for personal reasons and Mike Dunleavy, Jr. is still gone with a groin injury. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute sat out Saturday with ongoing soreness in his knee and Beno Udrih was back on the bench Skiles will have first-round draft pick Tobias Harris for the first time this season. Harris hasn't been available due to the after-effects of a bout of dehydration during the preseason. The coach isn't sure what to expect from Harris, but does think he'll play a significant role with the Bucks as the season rolls along."We really have had very limited practice time," Skiles said. "We like we've seen, we just haven't seen enough yet. We look at him as an important part of the team, though."He does a bunch of things very well. he can shoot, he can handle, good size, pro athleticism which we need and he can go down in the post on smaller people."Homecoming: Saturday marked a homecoming for Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, who grew up in nearby Compton. This is the Bucks' only trip to Los Angeles this seasonIt's a little different scenario in LA these days, where the Clippers, thanks to the combination of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have become darlings of the city."The fact that this has been a Lakers town forever, it's exciting for the city," Jennings said.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Four Questions for Game 3 of the World Series

Percy Harvin not planning on changing

Ricky Williams: People are let down when I turn down weed

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

Randall Cobb: Contract situation played role in slow start

Notre Dame WR faces discipline if he hooked up with porn star?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

PGA president calls Ian Poulter ‘lil girl’ for Nick Faldo comments

Belichick declines to address Revis' reported tardiness

Texas mayor delays Halloween for Friday night football game

C-USA hired PR firm to help Marshall’s playoff chances

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift, blames media for scrutiny

Report: Cowboys could limit DeMarco Murray's touches

Blazers, Seahawks owner Paul Allen gives $100M to fight ebola

'FIFA 15' glitch turns goalie into headless giant with no arms

WATCH: HBO releases trailer of 'The Offseason: Kevin Durant'

Broncos corner snags INT, then takes pregnant wife to hospital

Gurley dressed up as a pirate for Halloween, yelled, 'Free me'

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Nick Saban pens touching letter after high school coach dies

NBA Replay Center readies for its debut on Opening Night

WATCH: Former NBAer delivers vicious flying elbow Down Under

RNS looking to add agents with existing client rosters

Would World Series win make the Giants a dynasty?

NFL teams facing potential must-win scenarios in Week 8

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!

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

NBA Replay Center debuts next week

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Programs with a lot on the line this week

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift

Lakers: Steve Nash out for season

Is Mack Brown SMU's best option?

Are sports leagues finally getting serious about domestic violence?

Brian Urlacher rips Jay Cutler

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.