Their season is over, but Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks left Atlanta on Sunday with their chins up.
After a Game 6 loss at home on Friday, Sunday afternoon’s game in Atlanta was a win or go home situation, and unfortunately for the Bucks it was the latter.
They fell behind early, but it seemed like the Bucks had a second life toward the end of the first half, going on a 9-2 run to end the second quarter and cut the deficit from 20 to 13. The Bucks played their hearts out, but the Hawks were able to hold on and advanced to the second round in a 95-74 victory.
Luc battling for a rebound during Game 7 (Getty Images).
The match-up was the only series to go the full seven games and Luc Richard knows what that means, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
« Everybody doubted us and no one thought we were even going to make it to the playoffs. We made it and we took the third team in the East to seven games, and we had a chance to win at home. So we’ve got to feel pretty good about ourselves. But at the same time we’ve got to learn, especially about the magnitude of a Game 6 and having a chance to close it at home. »
Though it was the last game of the season for Luc, the Bucks forward ended his first playoff series on an excellent note. Frank Madden of Brew Hoop included No. 12 in the Three Bucks section of his Game 7 recap:
« Luc Mbah a Moute: 22 min, 13 pts, 5/9 fg, 3/4 ft, 6 rebs, 1 to, 1 stl
The curious thing about Skiles’ decision to bench Mbah a Moute to start the third? Mbah a Moute had nothing to do with the Bucks’ first quarter collapse. He picked up his second foul with the Bucks up 13-11, then didn’t return until Atlanta had run off 11 straight points. Luc had a number of nice finishes around the hoop in finishing with 13 points on a tidy nine shots and his -2 rating was the best of any Bucks starter by a wide margin. »
Luc also had four points and eight rebounds in the Bucks’ 83-69 Game 6 loss in Milwaukee. He finished the postseason averaging 9.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Both numbers eclipsed his season averages.
THE CORE REMAINS
Going forward next year, it is probable that recently named NBA Executive of the Year, Bucks GM John Hammond, will be making moves to improve upon an already very good team.
But for now, a young core of talent will most likely stay the same. Rookie point guard Brandon Jennings will be a year older, center Andrew Bogut will hopefully be healthy, and the rest of the NBA will have to once again worry about being shut down on any given night by one of the league’s top defenders in No. 12.
Luc Richard is already looking forward to next year:
« I’m sure management is going to make some changes, but from what we’re starting to build it’s looking pretty good. We’ll go back at it again and be a better, stronger, more mature team. »
Mbah a Moute sees Bucks’ season as learning experience (MJS, May 2, 2010)
Improbable season ends with a whimper (Brew Hoop, May 2, 2010)