Last year Mike James played for the Detroit Pistons, one of the best defensive teams over the last couple of years.  Coach Terry Porter is hoping James' pit bull mentality inspires his fellow Milwaukee Bucks.

"That's how I've always played defense, aggressive," James said. "And I'm going to continue to be aggressive on the defensive end."

"One day in Detroit they just started calling Lindsey Hunter and I the pit bulls and the name just stuck with us," James said. "The players started calling us pit bulls because the way we used to defend.

"Every time we used to go in the game, Rasheed Wallace used to act like he was taking the dog chain off us. As if to say, 'It's time for you to sic 'em all now.' So it stuck with us. And then the crowd got with it and they started making pit bull signs."

The Bucks made positive strides defensively last season, their first under Porter, but more of the same is necessary this season, also.

During the 2002-'03 season, the Bucks were one of the worst defensive teams in the league, giving up 99.3 points per game (25th in the league) and allowing opponents to shoot 45.8% (27th).

Last season, the Bucks were still far from a great defensive team, yet did show improvement as they yielded 97.0 points per game (21st) and a 45.2% defensive field-goal percentage (23rd).