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Milwaukee Bucks Revamp Defense Under Coach Doc Rivers

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo pauses before an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

The Milwaukee Bucks, under the guidance of new head coach Doc Rivers, have made significant strides in improving their defense. Prior to Rivers taking over, the team struggled defensively, ranking 21st in the NBA with a defensive rating of 117.8. However, since his appointment, the Bucks have shown marked improvement, with their defensive rating improving to 113.8 over the last 15 games, now ranking eighth in the league.

Rivers' approach has been to simplify and organize the team's defensive principles. He has focused on clarifying player assignments, improving communication, and ensuring a more structured defensive strategy. This shift has led to a more cohesive defensive effort from the Bucks.

While there have been some setbacks, such as high-scoring games against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Miami Heat, the overall trend has been positive. The team has shown flashes of defensive brilliance, particularly in recent games following the All-Star break.

In a recent matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Bucks displayed a strong defensive performance, holding their opponents to just 98 points. Rivers praised the team's effort, highlighting their improved communication and execution of defensive switches.

Looking ahead, the Bucks face a challenging schedule against several top teams. The team will need to maintain their defensive improvements and consistency to compete effectively against tougher opponents.

Overall, the Bucks' defensive transformation under Doc Rivers has been a promising development. By simplifying their approach and emphasizing communication and organization, the team has laid a solid foundation for continued defensive success.

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