Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 1/8/13
A victory over the defending NBA champs late last month had the Milwaukee Bucks off to their best start in seven seasons. They haven't won since, and now they're getting a new coach. In the first game since Scott Skiles and the team parted ways, Milwaukee will try to avoid its first five-game losing streak in exactly one year Tuesday night against a Phoenix Suns club on the verge of its first 10-game road skid in 27 seasons. Since a 104-85 victory over Miami on Dec. 29 moved them a season high-tying four games above .500, the Bucks (16-16) have gone winless while surrendering 105.8 points per game. It's unclear if the skid led directly to the departure of Skiles, who was in his fifth season coaching the team. His tenure came to an abrupt end Monday - assistant Jim Boylan will reportedly serve as interim coach - even though the Bucks remain in playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Skiles' defensive-minded style didn't seem to click with the Bucks' roster, built around scorers Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. "The real challenge is we've had a couple of years in a row where ... we didn't buy into our defensive system," Skiles said before the season began. "If we do that, we'll be a good defensive team. If we don't, we won't. That's the real challenge, getting guys to buy in on that on the floor, give the effort, focus and concentrate as necessary to be a good defensive team." Milwaukee is also trying to fix its offensive struggles after getting outscored by a combined 111-76 in the second half of its last two losses versus Houston and Indiana. "The second half has been killing us - we've been coming out with a lack of energy," Jennings said after the Bucks matched a season-low point total in Saturday's 95-80 loss at the Pacers. Jennings may be happy to match up with Phoenix's Goran Dragic on Tuesday instead of Steve Nash, who was traded by the Suns to the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason. Jennings' two lowest-scoring games of last season (three and five points) came against Nash, who had 28 points and 28 assists in Phoenix's season sweep of the Bucks. The Suns (12-23) have dominated this series with 37 wins in the last 42 matchups, but they open their four-game trip with one victory in their last nine contests. Phoenix, a loser of four straight visiting East teams, last dropped 10 in a row on the road from Oct. 25-Dec. 3, 1985. "We're in a bad spot right now," coach Alvin Gentry said after Sunday's 92-81 loss to Memphis. "Number one, we've got to stay together. We can't fragment right now. That's the easiest thing to do. Number two, we've got to play better. And number three, we've got to believe in ourselves. We're not going to play out the season or anything like that." It could turn into that if the Suns' offense doesn't improve. Phoenix has reached 100 points just once in its last nine contests - a 111-107 loss at Minnesota on Dec. 29 - and it's averaged 80.5 with 35 total turnovers in the last two. "You've gotta move the ball," swingman Jared Dudley said. "We're not a team that can just hold the ball ... and go give it to Kobe and LeBron and (they'll) save the day. Until we figure (that out) we'll just keep doing these interviews and keep losing." The Suns, whose next victory will be their 2,000th, have won two straight and 16 of 21 at Milwaukee following a 107-105 victory on Feb. 7 that completed a second straight season sweep. Phoenix's 109-93 home win last Jan. 8 sent Milwaukee to its season-high fifth consecutive defeat. These teams will meet again in the desert next Thursday.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

DeMar DeRozan: It will be ‘pretty tough’ for me to leave Raptors

Super Bowl referee says Cotchery play could have been a catch

The NBA is one step closer to putting ads on jerseys

Archie Manning defends Cam Newton over press conference

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Chris Harris: Von Miller should get paid more than JJ Watt

4 likeliest Dwight Howard trade scenarios

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Penn State the latest to offer generic football jerseys for sale

Gary Bettman praises the NHL’s new website and app (which are currently awful)

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

Von Miller likely to get franchise tag from Broncos

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker