Wins hard to come by for Bucks this season, as are fans

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The wins have been very hard to come by for the Milwaukee Bucks so far this NBA season, and not coincidentally, so have the fans. Can the organization turn it around on the court -- and in the seats?

There are many reasons why the Bucks have the worst record in the NBA so far this season. Coach Larry Drew feels one of those reasons is that the team often plays with a lack of energy -- and that could be partly attributed to a less-than-raucous atmosphere inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

"I try to remind our guys that's part of the NBA. It really is. That's part of the NBA. The crowd is what it is. We have to learn and me included -- we have to learn how to generate an excitement when we step out on that floor," Drew said.

"I think you create your own energy and it has to come within. Obviously, the fan support has been great considering the record, but you have to find your own energy, and it starts here in this locker room. Once you start creating momentum and playing a good brand of basketball, the crowd is going to come," Caron Butler said.

The crowd comes slowly this past Monday night (January 27th) -- but it was a Monday night, and a bitterly cold one at that.

The scene was familiar on Monday night. Milwaukee is second-to-last in the league in average attendance at 13,916 fans per game.

Given the Lakers' struggles this season and Kobe Bryant being hurt, the Clippers have become the big road draw from Los Angeles. Case in point, they played in front of 19,800 at Toronto last week, 21,755 at Chicago -- and at Milwaukee Monday night, considerably less.

"I think even if they were in first place, tonight wouldn't have been packed. We didn't want to come out in the weather and we had to play. It's hard on the fans but they have to hang in there. There are still Bucks fans. They are the same fans that sold out the arena. They're still in town, and they'll come back," Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers said.

Doc Rivers played in front of packed houses while at Marquette -- and as a visiting NBA player. Now, he coaches in quiet, and doesn't have to worry about overcoming much of a home court advantage.

"Whether people are there or not, what our record is or what it isn't, you gotta just come to play the game -- because we're paid to play and we gotta play hard and try to make this thing competitive," Luke Ridnour said.

It's not as though there is no track record for support in Milwaukee. When the Bucks have been competitive, the attendance has reflected that. The principles involved maintain that a new arena or not, lots of wins would mean lots of fans.

"Everything travels by word-of-mouth fast. Once you're playing a good brand of basketball and winning, people want to be part of that, people want to be associated with that movement, so once you win games, the crowd is going to come out. I'm from here and I've seen it over the years. Once you start playing good basketball, people stuff, good energy, and Milwaukee will support," Butler said.

The only team that ranks behind Milwaukee this season in attendance is Philadelphia. Like the Bucks, the Sixers are also struggling in the standings. They have the third-worst record in the NBA.

The Bucks have the worst record in the league right now.