Monthly Archives: avril 2010

Set to Stun

Fear the Deer, indeed. Down two games to none on Saturday, Luc Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks needed a win just to save hope.

Three games later, Milwaukee now needs just one win to finish.

No. 12 and the Bucks stunned the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, taking down the home team, 91-87, for a Game 5 win on the road. The Bucks now lead the series 3-2 and return to Milwaukee for a chance to clinch a trip to the second round in their place on Friday night.


Luc driving on Atlanta’s Al Horford during the win Wednesday night (Getty Images).

Luc did his part to help the Bucks get into the position to clinch, once again stifling Atlanta swingman Josh Smith all night while connecting for nine points on 4-of-8 shooting and grabbing five rebounds.

Milwaukee cut a late Hawks lead to four, but hope looked to be growing dim after a three-pointer by Jamal Crawford and a long two by Smith, as Atlanta quickly went back on top by nine with 4:10 left in the game.

But following Smith’s jumper, the Bucks went on an unbelievable 14-0 run thanks to clutch free throws, smart choices, and dominant defense. You could see the frustration on Hawks’ star Joe Johnson’s face when he fouled out on a charge drawn by Kurt Thomas with over two minutes left.

To go along with their 14-0 run, the Bucks played stout defense Wednesday night, much of it coming from John Salmons and No. 12, who covered Johnson and Smith, respectively. The two were able to work off each other as Jeremy of Bucksketball wrote:

« Salmons couldn’t have made his life any more difficult in the fourth quarter, making him hit shots falling away from the hoop with a hand in his face and maneuver through double teams instead of into open space. Salmons work allows Mbah a Moute to nest inside of Josh Smith’s head and changes everything for the Bucks. »

During the teams’ regular season meetings Luc Richard handled Johnson for most of his time on the court, but Bucks coach Scott Skiles couldn’t ignore Smith’s impressive performances in Games 1 and 2, so he dispatched No. 12 to slow Smith.

Salmons stepping up to the challenge in taking on Johnson has given Luc the advantage of not having to worry about anyone but Smith. It has shown in Smith’s line. The lengthy forward shot just 3-of-8 for seven points, only getting to the line once, and had by far the team’s worst (+/-) net points score of -13.

Paul Forrester of Sports Illustrated wrote glowingly of Luc’s work on Smith:

Where’s Josh? Defenders who aren’t swatting away shots at the rim require a more refined palate to appreciate, the kind that Josh Smith is developing in trying to overcome Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The Bucks’ 6-foot-8 defensive specialist made Smith little more than a bystander on offense for much of Game 5. He kept the Hawks’ explosive forward in front of him defensively and largely outside of the paint, where Smith has smartly spent more time this season in lieu of his previous ill-fated romance with the three-point arc. Mbah a Moute also paid careful attention to push Smith toward the perimeter when Atlanta shot, neutralizing Smith’s leaping ability on the offensive glass. Smith ended the night a quiet 3-of-8 from the floor for only seven points.

NEXT UP
The Bucks return home with a 3-2 series lead and a chance to clinch.

After a season-defining road win in Atlanta, the Bucks get a chance to win their first playoff series since 2001 at home in front of all their fans. A victory would set up a matchup with the Orlando Magic in the second round with a Friday night victory.

Tip-off is at 6:00 CST and Luc Richard has taken to Twitter, encouraging all Bucks fans to come out for the excitement, as he tweeted:

 » Fear the deer » great win tonight! We are gonna need the whole city at the Bradley Center on friday… »

If you can’t make it out to the Bradley Center on Friday, support your Bucks and watch the game live on ESPN.

RELATED STORIES
Progress is supposed to be a slow process (Bucksketball, April 29, 2010)
http://www.bucksketball.com/2010/04/progress-is-supposed-to-be-a-slow-pr…
Bucks center Thomas steps up, takes charge (MJS, April 29, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/92382929.html
Bucks stun Hawks to take 3-2 lead in first round series (SI.com, April 29, 2010)
Luc’s Twitter Page (Twitter, April 29, 2010)
http://twitter.com/mbahamoute

An Impact on O

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute’s impact has been felt on both sides of the court in the last two games of the playoffs and it’s no coincidence that the Milwaukee Bucks have begun to prosper.

Luc and his Milwaukee teammates continued to exceed expectations on Monday night with a 111-107 win at home in the Bradley Center. The victory evened up their first-round playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks at 2-2.

Though No. 12 averaged less than two points per game against Atlanta in three games in the regular season, Luc Richard has stepped it up to a higher level on offense in the postseason. Luc is now averaging 9.5 points per game after connecting for 10 points on Monday.

It was Luc’s second straight game hitting double digits in the scoring column. He also added five rebounds and an assist. Similarly to Saturday’s Game 3 win, Luc Richard said that ball movement was the Bucks’ best friend in Game 4, as he told theMilwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« We did a good job moving the ball. A lot of time our guards, whenever they were switching, were driving the ball and kicking it to somebody else right at the basket. So when ever they would drive, somebody would cut and get an easy layup. Easy points like that really helped us out. »

NEXT UP
It’s game 5 in Atlanta for the Bucks on Wednesday. Though a series winner won’t be crowned, by Thursday morning, either the Bucks or the Hawks will have a big advantage with two chances to advance. Tip-off of Game 5 is at 7:00 p.m. CST and you can see the game live on TNT.

RELATED STORIES
Bucks take care of business at home (MJS, April 26, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/92154874.html
Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks Box Score (ESPN, April 26, 2010)
http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=300426015

Luc Locks Up Smith

It won’t be that easy, Atlanta.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks struck back against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night with a 107-89 Game 3 victory. The Bucks win cuts Atlanta’s lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series entering tonigt’s pivotal Game 4.


Luc goes for the block against Atlanta’s Al Horford (Getty Images).

No. 12 was an all-around star on Saturday in the Bucks’ first home playoff game in four years, scoring 12 points and putting together an unbelievable defensive effort.

After Josh Smith nearly dropped a triple-double Tuesday night, Bucks Head Coach Scott Skiles made the decision to take Luc off Joe Johnson and put him on Smith. The move worked and, with Luc Richard on him, Smith struggled all night from the , shooting just 2-for-12.

Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop agreed that switching Luc Richard’s defensive assignment was the right idea. Smith’s struggles went much deeper than his shooting, said Boeder:

« Luc Mbah a Moute. Scott Skiles said in the pregame presser that he would start by sticking The Prince on Josh Smith and the result was fantastic: None of those game-changing dunks, half as many blocks (1) as Brandon Jennings, as many field goals (2) as Primoz Brezec in 30 more minutes, as many assists (1) as Dan Gadzuric, and not many more reasons to like the city of Milwaukee for Smith, who was boo’d every time he touched the ball.

« It wasn’t all Mbah a Moute, and the The Principal said as much after the game, diplomatically noting the team’s defensive effort. But he was the main guy battling and stifling Smith. And his 12 points on 5-7 shooting weren’t just gravy, they were hugely important. He made the first hoop of the game inside, and all five of his field goals came at the rim—which is just where we want him on the offensive end. »

Defensively, Luc Richard has been drawing the tough assignments all year, but for him it’s just another day at the office. He admits that every team is going to have an all-star caliber player that he’s going to have to take care of, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« There’s no toughest player. Every team has an all-star or somebody who will give you trouble on the defensive end. Obviously you’ve got LeBron, Kobe, Carmelo, all those guys; you can name Joe Johnson, Dwyane Wade, Brandon Roy. Every team has somebody who is really tough. »

GOING FOURTH
For game four, the Bucks will need a carbon copy of their Saturday night performance to keep the Hawks quiet.

Luc believes that in order to even the series and keep the pressure on Atlanta, the Bucks will also have to continue to get more guys involved:

« The ball was moving a little more. That’s our style of basketball. We share the ball. A lot of guys got involved. That paid dividends. »

He admits however, that the pressure has always been on the Hawks.

« We came in as the sixth seed. We’re just trying to make it tough for them so it’s no walk in the park, » Luc said.  « Even right now we have some belief, the way we played last night. If we come out and execute and play the same way, we’ll give ourselves a good chance. »

NEXT UP
Game 4 is a pivotal one for the Bucks.

Either they go back to Atlanta with the series tied and will have a chance to return to Milwaukee, or they go down 3-1 with an elimination game looming at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena.

Game 4 tips off at 7:30 CST and you can see all the action on NBA TV.

RELATED STORIES
Hawks grounded in Milwaukee (Brew Hoop, April 24, 2010)
http://www.brewhoop.com/2010/4/24/1441893/bucks-107-hawks-89-hawks-grounded
Is a close call coming (MJS, April 25, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/92058394.html
Mbah a Moute again guards opponent’s best (MJS, April 19, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/91566374.html
Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks Recap (ESPN, April 24, 2010)
http://espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=300424015

Luc Starts Strong

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute has already made a name for himself on the defensive end of the floor, but he showed in Tuesday’s Game 2 with the Atlanta Hawks that his offensive potential should not be taken for granted.

The 6-8 forward dropped eight of the Bucks’ first 10 points and as the Bucks scored only 20 points as a team in the first quarter, it’s safe to say that Luc kept them in the game early.

Luc torched his defender for four layups at the bucket. He tied the game at two when he took a pass from Carlos Delfino to the hole for a bucket just 1:01 into the game. Less than a minute later, Luc gave the Bucks a lead when he rebounded a miss by teammate Brandon Jennings and put it back to pull Milwaukee ahead 4-2.

Atlanta would follow with an 8-2 run before Luc took another run at the hole for two off an assist from Kurt Thomas. Just over a minute later he added two more when John Salmons found him near the buck for a fourth layup in the first six minutes of the game. He finished with eight points and two rebounds in the first quarter.

But after being down just six points at halftime, the Bucks were on the wrong side of an 11-2 run, and the Hawks rode it to a 96-86 game two win. No. 12 finished with eight points and four boards.

To avoid faling into a 3-0 hole, the Bucks’ offense needs to step it up Saturday night and Luc Richard knows it, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

“Our offense was very stagnant, especially in the second half. We have to do a better job exploiting their switches. When they switch, it makes us not as aggressive. Everybody kind of stops and it takes us out of our game. We’ve got to figure out ways to play our game, drive the ball, kick it, shoot threes like we always do, play with each other.”

DEFENSIVE HONOR
Defense continues to be the name of the game, but like in Game 1, No. 12 can’t do it all, said Frank Madden of Brew Hoop:

“But Luc Richard Mbah a Moute isn’t going to be able to sprout six more arms to cover all the ballistic Atlanta starters who again went off for double figures, especially an absolute beast-like Josh Smith.”

Luc did however receive votes on Tuesday for the Defensive Player of the Year award won by Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. The fact that Luc would receive votes is as clear a signal as any that he is quickly becoming one of the most respected defenders in the NBA.

LUC CAME TO PLAY
According to Washington Wizards guard Randy Foye, Luc Richard was ready to do work Tuesday night. Foye pointed out Luc’s great first quarter start. Said Foye via Twitter:

randyfoye: Mbah a Moute came to play he has almost all the Bucks points right now.

The Bucks Twitter page also noticed:

Bucks: Luc Mbah a Moute has 8pts as the Bucks trail by 6 midway through the 1st qt

NEXT UP
The Bucks have a chance to even the series with two homes games but they’ll need a big Saturday night win to put some pressure on the Hawks. Tip-off is at 6:00 CST and you can see all the action on ESPN.

RELATED STORIES
It’s not effort that’s lacking for Bucks (MJS, April 20, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/91674734.html
Talented trio’s performance gives Atlanta 2-0 lead over Bucks (MJS, April 20, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/91652279.html
Milwaukee Bucks Twitter Page (Twitter, April 20, 2010)
www.Twitter.com/Bucks
Randy Foye Twitter Page (Twitter, April 20, 2010)
www.Twitter.com/Randyfoye

 

Comeback Falls Short

Luc Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks used a late rally to turn their opening playoff game back into a contest.

But in the end, the Atlanta Hawks’ 22-point halftime lead was too much to overcome, and Milwaukee fell in Game 1, 102-92, at the Philips Arena.

Luc was his usual self, connecting on four-of-five shooting, grabbing six rebounds and playing terrific defense.


Luc gave Atlanta’s Joe Johnson fits all night (Getty Images).

While Luc Richard was busy holding down Joe Johnson, however, the Bucks had their hands full with Josh Smith. Head coach Scott Skiles left Luc on the court for 31 minutes to guard Johnson, but he understands the team needs to step up on defense, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« Luc did a respectable job on him (Johnson). In our opinion he’s one of the tougher guys to cover in the league. But one of our issues is Luc can only guard one guy. »

Luc Richard saw his minutes decrease toward the end of the season after Andrew Bogut was injured. But with the second season beginning and the importance of defense becoming paramount, No. 12 saw the floor and was a valuable asset for the Bucks on Saturday.

Luc was able to help limit Johnson to 22 points and the Hawks guard reached the foul line just twice. Jeremy from Bucksketball.com and Alex Boeder from Brew Hoop believe Luc Richard is going to have to keep seeing consistent playing time if the Bucks are going to have a shot.

Jeremy noted that Luc works well with Milwaukee’s other bigs, even with Bogut out:

« Going forward, Milwaukee will need to find a way to keep Luc Richard Mbah a Moute on the floor while keeping other bigs on the court. The LRMAM at the three experiment failed earlier this year, but him next to Ilyasova, Thomas, Salmons and Jennings may be a productive lineup for Milwaukee. Milwaukee made Joe Johnson work very hard for his 22 points and kept him off the free throw line yet again (10-21 FG 2-2 FT). A lot of the credit on that goes to Mbah a Moute. »

Boeder considered Luc one of the Bucks’ top performers Saturday night, including him in his « Three Bucks » section of his write-up.

« Luc Mbah a Moute: 31 min, 8 pts, 4/5 fg, 0/1 ft, 6 reb, 1 stl, 0 to

For better or worse, Skiles seemed determined to get Mbah a Moute his minutes, starting him against Johnson and leaving Delfino to cope with the bigger Smith. It’s tough to argue it was a good strategy in the first, but the Bucks’ starters looked a lot better in the third and overall Mbah a Moute helped limit Johnson to 22 points on 21 shots. »

NEXT UP
The Bucks will look to even the series at one each before heading back to Milwaukee when they take the floor in Atlanta on Tuesday night. Game two tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. CST and you can see all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED STORIES
Finding salvation in game one (Bucksketball, April 18, 2010)
http://www.bucksketball.com/2010/04/finding-salvation-in-game-one-hawks-…
Atlanta’s quick start dooms Bucks (Brew Hoop, April 18, 2010)
http://www.brewhoop.com/2010/4/18/1428495/hawks-102-bucks-92-atlantas-quick
Rally can’t overcome Bucks’ poor first half (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 17, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/91269124.html

 

Playoff Ready

The playoffs start Saturday and everyone here in Milwaukee is ready. It’s a great feeling. There are a lot of players who go through their whole careers without even getting to this level. For me to be able to enter the playoffs in my second year is definitely something I’m happy about. Hopefully it works out well for us. If we play hard, we’ll have a lot of success.

I’ve played postseason basketball before and for three seasons at UCLA we went to the Final Four, but obviously it’s a lot different here in the NBA. It’s a different situation because in the NCAA Tournament, its pretty much win or go home. You lose a game and you’re done. Here in the pros, you’ve got a whole seven game series so a lot of things can happen to cause momentum changes, injuries and different things throughout the whole series.

But something that’s key, the mindset that you have to have from beginning, it that you have to be ready at all times for the whole series. Having postseason experience is good, because I’ve been in a situation where it’s the end of the season and we’re playing for something big.


Luc has been bringing it at both ends of the floor (Getty Images).

You want to be in that situation. That means you had a successful season up until that point. So, having that mentality, knowing that you have to go hard pretty much every day because every game could be your last, is definitely going to help me during the playoffs.

We get matched up with Atlanta and we’ve already had some good battles with them this year. They are a team that does a lot of different things. They switch a lot defensively and give you us a lot of different sets to look at.

The ability to compete is going to be big for us. Every time we’ve played them, we’ve always come out and competed. That was good, but we need to step it up even higher in the playoffs. I’ll have a particularly tough matchup that I’ll have to step up for.

Joe Johnson is very tough to guard, obviously. He’s one of the best in the league. Sometimes I think he’s underrated. He’s a special player and he’s just got so much talent. The best way to guard him is to just give him different looks. You can’t feed him the same diet. You have to be physical with him sometimes. You have to be quick. You have to change personnel and give him a bunch of different looks, try to make it tough for him.

When you’re in college, you just watch games and you don’t really understand how good guys are or what it takes to defend certain guys. So I didn’t understand much about him until my rookie year, I got get a little bit of a feel for Joe. But he’s a tough player. It’s a real tough matchup and hopefully our team will come up with a good scheme to go against him. Hopefully we’ll be successful in that.

The veteran guys on this team, Jerry Stackhouse and John Salmons have tried to prepare us for what we’re about to experience. It’s going to be much more intense and it’s going to be crazy.

But I don’t think anybody can tell you how it is. You just have to experience it yourself. I’m excited about that, just having the opportunity to go out there and experience it myself. They can try to tell you everything about it, but you don’t really know until you experience it yourself. They’re just trying to get everybody to stay  focused and ready, stay engaged and be prepared for the whole series.

A FAMILY OF FANS
We have a really really good fan base here in Milwaukee. The people are very supportive of our team and some of our players, especially me. I feel like I have a good support group here, the fans have embraced me. I’m really happy for that.

Recently, I’ve been able to meet fans through Twitter giveaways and given out t-shirts like my Moute Kicks Boute T-Shirt. I did a ticket giveaway recently on Twitter and the response blew me away. It was surprising really, because I didn’t give any notice. I just did it one night. It was amazing how fast those people answered the questions, how well they knew me and knew all the answers to the questions I was asking. I think I might do another one during the playoffs.

It’s been a lot of fun and it’s a great way to interact with the fans and develop that relationship. Having that type of relationship with these people is important to me. You obviously want your fans to be behind you at all times. Developing a good relationship with them is the first step. Once you have that relationship with them, they get to know you better. They know sometimes you’ll have a bad game and they understand.

It’s kind of like your relationship with anybody in your family. Some days you’re going to be great and some days you’re going to be bad, but as long as you have a good relationship with those people and you understand that you’re on the same page, going in the same direction, it’s a good thing.


Luc will play a key role defensively when it comes to stopping the Hawks (Getty Images).

The people in Milwaukee are very characteristic of people from the Midwest. People from the Midwest are very nice people. They’re very warm and welcoming. They care about other people. You see the fans out there and they care a lot about how we’re doing they are here through good and bad.

The fans in Milwaukee, they’ve always been there, despite the bad years they’ve had. They have always been there. Once you have success, it’s also good for them. It shows in how important they’ve been to our run and the success we’ve had this year. I think we won like 28 games at home this year and it’s all because of those fans. They’ve been great.

They support us through the game from the beginning. They have stuff like Squad 6, which is Andrew Bogut’s section, and it’s pretty much like a student section in college. They’re up cheering the whole game.

It’s really amazing to see all those fans coming to the game with their different signs, the Fear the Deer movement and my Moute Kicks Boute shirts. Those people have embraced us and keep cheering us on,
supporting us throughout this whole season.

Bringing playoff basketball back to these people is huge for us. This city hasn’t been to the playoffs in a while and just brining back that atmosphere to the city, it will be great. I think it’s going to be good for the fans and for everybody involved.

Everybody is happy and everybody is excited. They can’t wait for the playoffs so hopefully when it comes, we can get everybody at the game and we get it crackin’.

AN EVEN GREATER CHALLENGE
We lost a big part of our team when we lost Andrew to that elbow injury.

It’s always tough when you have a player like Andrew go down. You really can’t replace him. The guy has been big, arguably the most improved player in the league. The way he’s been dominant defensively for us and on offense he’s given us that big presence inside too. It’s tough to lose that.

But it happens. It just means somebody else, and in this case everybody else, needs to step up. Everybody here has to do a little more. That doesn’t mean one person has to score 15 points and get 11 rebounds like Andrew does. It just means we each have to do a little bit more of what we do and be more focused.

For me, it’s about doing pretty much the same thing. Just grab an extra rebound or grab an extra loose ball defensively to get us an extra possession. We have to be solid and sound as a team, be there to have everybody’s back, be more aggressive on offense and do everything we can to help the team win.

Offensively, I think things are coming around for me personally. Sometimes it’s tough being out there in different situations with different lineups. It’s sometimes hard to get yourself going, but for the most part, it’s been going well. I’m out there making plays and helping the team. I find myself facilitating most of the time, but I take my chances when they present themselves. I just have to continue to work and get better.

I think we have a chance here. We need to just come out and play hard. If we fight hard, play good defense and we lay it all out on the table, we’ll see where it goes. If we can do that, I like our chances. But we have to do it. We have to come out every game, play hard and lay it all out on the table.

 

Offense, Defense

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute shined Friday night in the Milwaukee Bucks 95-90 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. No. 12 came just one rebound short of a double-double, and connected on 5-of-9 shooting for 13 points.

Luc Richard was involved in what Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called the play of the game:

« The Bucks’ biggest lead of the night was 58-45, and it came as a result of a four-point play. Center Kurt Thomas stripped 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday of the ball, and Brandon Jennings led a fast-break chance that resulted in a basket for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Philadelphia forward Andre Iguodala was called for a foul, and Mbah a Moute converted the three-point play. When Iguodala complained enough to get a technical, Jennings added one more free throw with 7:29 left in the third quarter. »

On top of a terrific offensive performance, Luc Richard shut down Sixers forward Elton Brand all night. The 76ers star ended the night with just two points on 1-of-7 shooting. Luc talked to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about his strong night:

« I felt like tonight our defense was pretty good early in the game. And I’m just being more aggressive and seeing what the offense gives me. »

DEFENSIVE SWINGMAN ARRIVES
Luc Richard quickly became one of the league’s best and most physical defenders this year.

No. 12 makes it clear that individual stats don’t matter. A tough shot is a tough shot, and at the end of the game, a win in a win, as he told Paul Forrester of Sports Illustrated:

« If someone gets 50 [points] but they had to take tough shots all night, I’m happy with that, especially if we win, » the Bucks’ 6-foot-8 forward said. « It doesn’t matter how much they score, because that’s what they’re going to do, so you just have to make it tough on them. »

His ability to use his body, his feet and his long wingspan make Luc Richard a versatile defender as Head Coach Scott Skiles said:

« It all kind of revolves around his feet. He moves very well laterally, so he can get down and guard smaller people. But he’s not afraid to use his body on bigger people. »

PLAYOFF PREVIEW?
Saturday’s 105-90 loss to the Boston Celtics was a possible playoff preview for the Bucks.

If Milwaukee can clinch the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Celts will likely be their first round opponent. Neither team, however, is locked into their spot. Boston is just one game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 3 spot and each team has two games remaining.

Likewise the Bucks are no sure bet for the No. 5 spot as they remain in a deadlock with the Miami Heat, each team sporting an identical 45-35 record with two games to play. The best way for the Bucks to ensure their seeding would be to win out. But that’s easier said than done. Milwaukee closes out the season against the Hawks tonight and the Celtics on Wednesday. One of those two games will be a preview of Milwaukee’s first round series, but it’s not known yet which it will be.

Luc Richard shut down Joe Johnson at the end of the fourth quarter during the Bucks’ last match-up with Atlanta. Luc will look for an encore performance Monday night at home in the Bradley Center as the Bucks try to finish the season strong. Tip-off is at 7:00 CST and you can watch the game on FSN Wisconsin.

The Bucks then get one more look at the Celtics when they close out the regular season in Boston on Wednesday.

RELATED STORIES
Bucks Are Money In Philadelphia (Brew Hoop, April 10, 2010)
http://www.brewhoop.com/2010/4/10/1414054/bucks-are-money-in-philadelphia-a
Bucks feed off of Delfino’s energy (MJS, April 9, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/90406984.html
Ron Artest among leaders in art of playing NBA perimeter defense (SI.com, April 8, 2010)
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/paul_forrester/04/08/defen…
Friday game report: Bucks at 76ers (MJS, April 9, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/90434309.html

 

A Week of Pain and Joy

Though they only played two games, the past week may have been one of the most eventful in Milwaukee Bucks franchise history.

After losing Andrew Bogut for the season, the Bucks bounced back against the Bulls and clinched their first playoff appearance since the 2005-2006 season.

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute played well all-around Wednesday night in the team’s 108-89 win over the last-place New Jersey Nets. Luc connected for six points and added three assists and three boards, in just 18 minutes of work.

WEEK IN REVIEW

In case you missed it, check out what else Luc Richard did this week.

4.07.2010 –  Playoff Bound Bucks
Luc is headed to the postseason for the first time in his NBA career and he also checked in on an elite list as ESPN’s John Hollinger named No. 12 to his All-Defensive third team.

Quotable:

« He can check 3s or 4s, inside or out, and remains the league’s most underrated defensive player…If he ever becomes competent offensively he’ll be an All-Defense fixture for the next decade. He’s that good. » – ESPN’s John Hollinger

NEXT UP
The Bucks travel to Philadelphia on Friday night to take on the 76ers. With a win the Bucks have a chance to split the season series and take an extra step toward clinching the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Tip-off is at 6:00 CST.

Saturday night, the Bucks return home to take on a potential first-round playoff opponent in the Boston Celtics. Milwaukee took down the Celts 86-84 at home March 9.

It will be a big test to see how they play without Bogut against a top-notch team. Tip-off is at 7:30 CST and you can see the game on FSN Wisconsin.

 

Playoff-Bound Bucks

For Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday was a night to remember.

When they defeated the Chicago Bulls, 79-74, the Bucks secured a spot in the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season. That made Milwaukee the sixth Eastern Conference team to clinch.

Luc logged four boards and a pair of steals in 16 minutes.

STEPPING UP
The good news was welcomed, particularly since center Andrew Bogut was sidelined just days earlier. With the team’s starting center out for the season, Luc Richard will be looked upon to pick up some of the slack.


Luc holds off Chicago’s Taj Gibson Tuesday night (Getty Images).

Said Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« Starting power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, often undersized at 6-8, also will be counted on to help even more with the rebounding chores, along with small forward Delfino. »

DIFFERENCE MAKER
No. 12 played a large role in the Bucks road to the playoffs, bursting on to the scene this year as a defensive specialist, and receiving perhaps the biggest compliment of his NBA career in early January. On Jan. 2, Luc held Kevin Durant to just 10 points after halftime in a 103-97 overtime win.

Afterward, Durant told the Associated Press:

« Nothing different from the first half, » Durant said after being hounded by Milwaukee defensive specialist Luc Richard Mbah a Moute most of the game. « He’s tough to try and score on. »

More recently, Luc locked down on the always dangerous Joe Johnson at the end of a very close game. With just 21 seconds left, Luc Richard entered the game for the sole reason of stopping Johnson. He forced Johnson to take a bad shot and the Bucks took the win, 98-95, said No. 12 to the AP:

« It’s tough [as] he’s got all the tricks with the way he was scoring. We just tried to make it tough for him, make him take tough shots and I did that. »

GETTING HIS DUE
Last week, ESPN’s Maurice Brooks had Luc Richard in fourth place for his personal Defensive Player of the Year list.

This week John Hollinger took a stab at choosing his first, second and third All-Defensive teams on the year, and Luc made an appearance there as well.

Third team: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee (-2.90)

He can check 3s or 4s, inside or out, and remains the league’s most underrated defensive player. Right now the only thing preventing him from ranking higher is his offense.

Hollinger went on to say that No. 12 could be an All-Defensive Team fixture for the next decade.

NEXT UP

The Bucks have clinched the playoffs, but with five games left on the schedule, the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference is still up for grabs. Milwaukee returns home tonight to take on the New Jersey Nets, who sport an NBA-worst 11-66 record.

Luc Richard is averaging 7.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in two games against the Nets this year, and the Bucks can take the season sweep with a victory. Game time is 7:00 CST and you can see all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

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A Winning March

The Milwaukee Bucks let one get away Wednesday night, losing 101-98 on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored four points on 2-3 shooting, and picked up four rebounds.

Even with their loss, the Bucks remain one of the NBA’s hottest teams. They finished the month of March with an 11-5 record and dating back to mid February have won 17 of 22.

With different players stepping up big every game for Milwaukee, No. 12 has occasionally seen fewer minutes. But Bucks’ Head Coach Scott Skiles wanted to make it clear that he doesn’t see any forthcoming changes in his starting five, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« Some of it is just game- related, and Ers (Ilyasova) is playing well. We’re still a team that has lot of interchangeable parts, and we try our best to use them all. Sometimes we’re not playing as well in a game, and that determines the lineup. He (Mbah a Moute) has had a couple tough games around the basket. He’s had some put-backs he normally would make and missed them. There’s no reason for us to change anything yet. »

WEEK IN REVIEW
In case you missed Luc Richard’s performances this week, here’s what happened:

3.30.2010 –  Fans Give Thanks
Several lucky Bucks fan got the chance to meet Luc Richard Sunday night, following a Twitter contest. No. 12 was on hand to give out « Moute Kicks Boute » shirts as well as tickets to Milwaukee’s 108-103 overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Quotable:

« Real people do real things. A great guy and I’m proud to have a guy like Luc on the Milwaukee Bucks. Fear the Deer! Moute Kicks Boute – Luc Fan, Timothy Williams

3.31.2010 – Doing It On D
ESPN analyst Maurice Brooks broke down the Defensive Player of The Year race, listing Luc fourth on his ballot.. No. 12 also helped the Bucks’ win over the Los Angeles Clippers with eight points, five boards and two assists.

Quotable:

« If you’re looking for a versatile defender who can cover four positions, rebound, block shots and lock down on the opponent’s top scorer, he’s your man. » – Maurice Brooks on Luc’s legitimate candidacy for DPOY. »

NEXT UP
This weekend will ba a challenge for the Bucks as they face a pair of playoff-bound teams.

Tonight, the Bucks head east to Charlotte for a battle of Eastern Conference playoff contenders. The Bobcats are currently No. 7 in the Eastern Conference standings but need a few crucial wins down the stretch in order to clinch a spot.

Luc Richard has seen plenty of success this year against the Bobcats, averaging 10.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games played. No. 12 missed the team’s first match-up against the Cats, a 95-88 win. Tip-off is at 6:00 CST and you can see the game on FSN Wisconsin.

The Bucks make a brief return home Saturday night to take on the red-hot Phoenix Suns. Luc’s effort was good for six points and five rebounds on Jan. 11 vs. the Suns, but Milwaukee lost the heart breaker 105-101. Tip-off is at 7:30 CST and you can catch the action on FSN Wisconsin.

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