Monthly Archives: février 2011

The Big Apple Challenge

The eyes of the City of New York locked on newest Knick Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday night. So did Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Luc and the Bucks were inside Madison Square Garden Wednesday taking on the Knicks, who had just a day earlier pulled off a trade for the All-Star, Anthony. It was an electric atmosphere to say the least:

« That’s what you play basketball for, to play in this type of atmosphere, » Luc said.

It was also the second meeting between Luc Richard and the former Denver Nugget in two weeks. No. 12 was looking forward to the meeting from the moment he heard about the trade.

« It’s tough to play a player of his caliber because he makes a team so much better, » Luc said. « It’s his ability to score, and he does it in different ways. But it’s fun. That’s what we play the game for, to go against the best. Every time you go against the best, it’s an opportunity to show you can compete. »

Luc often talks about how scorers are going to get their points, but the objective is to make it as tough as possible for them to do it. No. 12 did just that to Anthony on Wednesday, forcing the new Knick to take 25 shots to score 27 points (10-of 25).

But while the Prince appeared to win the battle with Melo, his Bucks couldn’t claim the war. Anthony’s 40 percent from the field, combined with huge contributions from his teammates, were just enough for the Knicks as they edged the Bucks, 114-108.

« If before the game, you tell me Carmelo is going to go 10 for 25, I’ll take that, » Bucks coach Skiles said. « We did a respectable job on him. »

But No. 12 noted that once Anthony got it going early, it made the Knicks as a whole hard to contain:

« He got into it early, » Luc said after the game. « When a player like that gets going early, he’s hard to guard and hard to slow down. I tried my best against him and made it tough on him. But still he found ways to get it done. »

Luc got the start, his 30th of the season, on Anthony and used his floor time effectively, playing well on defense while contributing seven points, eight boards, two steals and block.

At the outset of the game, No. 12 drew a charge as he tried to set the tone for the Bucks on defense.  But Anthony’s first points just over two minutes into the game broke a 4-4 tie, and spurred a 16-6 Knicks run to take a 20-10 lead. New York led by nine after one, but the Bucks pulled right back into it in the second with the help of four points and four rebounds from Luc. They trailed by just two at intermission.

Coming out of the locker room, Milwaukee seized the lead as Carlos Delfino hit a three and Andrew Bogut followed with a hook to give the Bucks a 62-59 edge. But the lead was shortlived, and the Knicks went on an 11-2 run to seize control for good.

During that run, Luc pulled down his fifth and sixth offensive rebounds of the game, but Milwaukee couldn’t convert on either.

No. 12 shadowed Anthony for the rest of the game, but the Bucks were undone by the scoring of a plethora of other New York players, including 21 points from Chauncey Billups and 23 from Toney Douglas. In the end it was a team effort from New York:

« We’re not playing against Carmelo; we’re playing against the Knicks, » Luc Richard said. « They’re very good players and they’ve been around the league so long, they know how to play. You can put them out there pretty much on any team and they’ll be effective. And they have a really good coach (Mike D’Antoni) who is probably going to put them in a situation where they are going to be able to succeed. »

NEXT UP
The Bucks return home this weekend, where they’ll play six of their next seven games starting with the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

The Bucks have had most of their success on their home court, and with Luc Richard clinging to Chicago’s big scorers, the game between the Central Division rivals is always interesting.

Tip-off is at 7:30 CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED ARTICLES

Luc At the Break

Throughout the first half of the season, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has not only done everything asked of him, but has shined while doing it.

The third-year pro has, with ease, transitioned from starter to reserve, several times helping an injury-plagued Bucks team at every turn. But it’s not just that he’s been there. Luc has also played well in both capacities. While some players may not be as comfortable with a fluctuating role, Luc Richard has never wavered in his drive.

So far this season, Luc Richard has already accumulated six double-doubles, after compiling just four over the last two years. But the Prince’s offensive capabilities have been just the tip of the iceberg as far as his contribution to the team goes.

While the Bucks are thrilled with Luc’s offensive output, head coach Scott Skiles knows Luc’s biggest asset is his ability to shut down the opposition’s top player with his defense. Defending the best in the league is a night-in, night-out challenge for Luc, and he always meets the task with an unquestionable work-ethic:

« I never let anybody out-tough or out-work me, » Luc said.

Luc has been a shining example of heart and adversity in the NBA as he works to achieve the goals he dreamed of as a youngster halfway across the world in Cameroon. And while the Bucks are searching for their rhythm, a young core of players, including Luc, center Andrew Bogut, and point guard Brandon Jennings, has fans looking forward to the years ahead.

BY THE NUMBERS
Here are a few highlights from Luc’s season to date:
Games missed by Luc Richard this season, the least of any Milwaukee player
Career high in assists for Luc, accomplished February 3rd against Golden State
6  No. of double-doubles this year for Luc  
11 Career high in offensive rebounds pulled down against the Warriors
19 Career high in total rebounds set that same night against Golden State
29 Starts for Luc this season, most of them in a pinch for injured teammates
46.1 Luc’s field goal percentage, third best on the Bucks
47:22 Career high In minutes played against Charlotte. Luc missed just 38 seconds.
286  Total rebounds for Luc Richard this season, fourth on the team
300  Total points for Luc Richard this season
THEY SAID IT
Those around Luc are quick to praise him for his effort, hustle and prowess on the defensive end. They agree he truly is one of the best defenders in the league:

Bucks Coach Scott Skiles:

« Luc has a knack laterally that a lot of people don’t have. If you put him in some sort of lateral race, I doubt he’d win too many of them. But he anticipates; he’s in a stance. That’s why he can guard people at multiple positions. And he’s got enough thickness to his body that he can battle somebody like that. »

Clippers forward Blake Griffin on Luc:

« He’s a great defender.”

Skiles on No. 12’s success against Blake Griffin:

« I doubt anybody is going to guard him any better than that, 1-on-1. That guy is so big and quick, and Luc did a great job on him, no question.

Bucks center Andrew Bogut on Luc’s defense of Kobe Bryant:

« He’s our best perimeter defender. Kobe’s going to score 20 just because of the amount of shots he gets up. We just need Luc to keep contesting every shot and make sure [Bryant] knows he’s there every shot. »

Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings on Luc’s defense of Monta Ellis:

« Luc Mbah a Moute did a good job on Monta Ellis; it’s not easy guarding that guy. I’d put him at the top right now as one of the hardest guys to guard in the NBA. He just goes and he can score at will. »

Coach Scott Skiles on Luc’s stability:

« He comes in with his defensive presence, and he knows everything we’re trying to do. Obviously, we still have some kinks to work out because we have half a new team, but he knows everything we’re trying to do and I thought he really stabilized us tonight. »

AS SEEN BY:
Astute NBA observers point out things like No. 12’s instincts, concentration, awareness and his hard work and dedication to the team and his craft, all making Luc Richard an asset to the Bucks and their fans.

Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball

« Anticipation and instincts were the words of the night when Mbah a Moute’s defense was a topic.  All of the athleticism and studying in the world can make a player a good defender, but sometimes it’s the things we can’t measure that put a player over the edge and turn him into a great defender.  Coach Skiles certainly seems to think that’s the difference for Mbah a Moute. »

Alex Boeder, Brew Hoop

« This is the player. The player who hauls in more than half (4) of your offensive rebounds, the player whose defensive prowess is never quantified statistically (1 steal, 0 blocks), the player who plays 38 minutes without a turnover or missing a shot (he missed only a 40-footer at the first quarter buzzer), the player who defends and frustrates and tugs at the other team’s star player, every team’s star player, even as his own home crowd is cheering for that star player (add Blake Griffin to that list which already includes Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, etc.). This is the player you miss, someday.

Jeramey Jannene, The Bratwurst

« Moute Kicks Boute -Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is the silent assassin on the Bucks. He typically has to defend the best offensive player on the other team, be it Dirk Nowitzki or Kevin Durant. As a reward for his hard work, Mbah a Moute never gets a single play called for him. So how does he post a career average of seven points a game? The offensive glass. Despite being undersized as a starting power forward, Luc Richard yanks down over two offensive rebounds a game. Those rebounds usually go straight back up and result in two points for the good guys. »

Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop on the things that make Luc stand out:

« The defense, we know all about that, but it just doesn’t get old. A big offensive night producing a lot of points is a lot more straightforward, and is easier to understand and see. These ace defensive games from Mbah a Moute? We know his positioning, spacing, concentration, feet, and awareness make it work, but none of it is so obvious to make it routine to watch.”

Zach Harper of ESPN on Luc’s Defensive Player of the Year Credentials:

« LRMAM isn’t the type of guy to get his proper due defensively. However, Luc Richard has been one of the most versatile defenders while guarding just about every position on the floor and helping stop pick-and-roll plays with his quick feet and expansive wingspan. »

IN HIS OWN WORDS:
Luc remains steadfast in his pursuit of NBA achievement. Remembering where he came from drives him to get better on a daily basis. 

« I remained positive and I kept dreaming, » he said. « I knew what I wanted to accomplish which was to get into the NBA and I just kept putting that in front of me and I kept chasing it. My family support also played a big part in it. » – Luc Richard on his road to the NBA.

Luc Locks Down on Blake

Throughout the past three seasons, NBA stars such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Joe Johnson have all gone through fits when playing the Milwaukee Bucks.

The cause is one of the best and most underrated defenders in the NBA: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. On Monday night, Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin was added to the list.

The Bucks defeated the Clippers, 102-78, on Monday at the Bradley Center, and No. 12 provided an impact on both sides of the ball.

After averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in this, his rookie season, last night it was time for Griffin to get the nitty-gritty Luc Richard treatment.

The Bucks had planned to use a variety of looks to combat the high-flying Clipper, but when an injury took starter Ersan Ilyasova out of the game just two minutes in, the Prince was called upon to fill the void.

Griffin still neared his 20 and 10 averages, but in order score his 19 points, Luc and the Bucks forced the rookie to take 19 shots, 12 of which he misfired on.

« He’s a great defender, » Griffin said after the game.

Bucks head coach Scott Skiles was especially impressed with Luc’s defensive performance. For teams around the NBA, Griffin has proven near impossible to stop, but No. 12 did as well, or better than anyone before him, as Skiles told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« I doubt anybody is going to guard him any better than that, 1-on-1, » Skiles said. « That guy is so big and quick, and Luc did a great job on him, no question.

« Luc has a knack laterally that a lot of people don’t have. If you put him in some sort of lateral race, I doubt he’d win too many of them. But he anticipates; he’s in a stance. That’s why he can guard people at multiple positions. And he’s got enough thickness to his body that he can battle somebody like that. »

Luc is used to the seeing big name players when on defense, but his key to success, while simple, always remains the same, as he told the MJS:

« I never let anybody out-tough or out-work me, » said No. 12 after his performance against Griffin, who finished well under his season averages in most categories. « They feed off getting dunks and throwing the ball up and stuff like that. We wanted to keep them out of the paint and make sure they took jump shots. »

Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball said it was Luc’s intangibles — things like anticipation and instincts — that made Monday’s performance stick out:

« Specifically, Mbah a Moute was able to thwart that famous Griffin spin move on a couple of occasions, poking it away before Griffin could get past him and to the hoop for one of his highlight reel jams that have so often come off spins.

« Anticipation and instincts were the words of the night when Mbah a Moute’s defense was a topic.  All of the athleticism and studying in the world can make a player a good defender, but sometimes it’s the things we can’t measure that put a player over the edge and turn him into a great defender.  Coach Skiles certainly seems to think that’s the difference for Mbah a Moute. »

Luc Richard admitted that the young forward made him bite at times, but for the most part, his defense remained right for the majority of the game:

« He got me a couple times too. Once he got me, I kind of knew what to do.  He does it so well, that it’s hard.  I kind of do a good job of reading where he’s going, knowing his moves, stuff like that.

« It’s [about] knowing what kind of player he is, what he does and it’s also instincts. A lot of times a guy can spin or do a certain move, you try to prepare for it but he does it so well that it’s hard.  But when you have good instincts, you’re able to do well. »

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com’s Eye on Basketball broke down one play where Luc, with some help from his friends, prohibited Griffin’s signature spin.

« For a while there you were starting to wonder if anything could stop Blake Griffin. And I’m not just talking NBA players. Brick walls, atomic weapons, the name of Love, we were running out of ideas as to how to slow down the superfreak. But as the Clippers continue their slide back into Clipperdom, nights like Monday night show us if you’ve got the right defender, you don’t have to be eaten alive by the monster that is Blake Griffin. »

To see Moore’s point-by-point breakdown, click here.

Luc also credited his teammates for their help on such plays:

« It’s not an easy matchup, » Mbah a Moute said. « Every time you go against a guy like that you’ve got your hands full. Our goal was just to keep him out of the paint; that’s what he does best right now. Fortunately for me, my teammates were there every time. Every time I got beat, Bogues would always come on one of his spins and the guards would come in and dig. Just our awareness defensively was really good tonight. »

NOT ALL DEFENSE

While Luc had his hands full with Griffin, it didn’t stop him from putting up a stellar offensive performance as well.

The Prince played an integral role on offense in Milwaukee’s win, scoring his third double-double in the last seven games.

No. 12 was able to get to the free-throw line effectively, shooting seven-of-nine from the stripe, and finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and an assist. But the two stats that really stuck out to Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop were point differential and turnovers, drawing Luc Richard double recognition:

+27. Luc Mbah a Moute’s differential, best of all.

« This is the player. The player who hauls in more than half (4) of your offensive rebounds, the player whose defensive prowess is never quantified statistically (1 steal, 0 blocks), the player who plays 38 minutes without a turnover or missing a shot (he missed only a 40-footer at the first quarter buzzer), the player who defends and frustrates and tugs at the other team’s star player, every team’s star player, even as his own home crowd is cheering for that star player (add Blake Griffin to that list which already includes Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, etc.). This is the player you miss, someday.

NEXT UP

The Bucks hit the national stage Wednesday night when they welcome Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets to the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Following their victory over LA, the Bucks remain four games out of a playoff spot. Jeremy Schmidt from Bucksketball, for one, would like to see more of last year’s Bucks playing together:

The chemistry between the Bucks players from last season, Bogut, Jennings, Delfino, Salmons and Mbah a Moute in particular, was on display Monday night.  It felt all sorts of 2010 in the Bradley Center.  They knew where each other would be, Salmons could drive and kick to Jennings or swing that extra pass to Delfino.  The ball was shared and everyone knew they would get the ball back.  There was no selfishness and there was trust.  Everyone knew the plays and what to do.  That was a team that trusted each other.

Tip-off with the Nuggets is at 8 p.m. MST and you can see all the action on ESPN.

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The Prince Does His Part

Things haven’t come easy for the Milwaukee Bucks this season, but Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has been there to smooth out some of the rough patches.

The Bucks are on the cusp of the No. 8 playoff spot. Luc Richard knows that this team will have to keep their heads down and work harder. A pep talk from Bucks’ owner Herb Kohl could be just what the team needed.

Kohl spoke to the team on Monday, and they responded on Tuesday with a 92-74 win over the Toronto Raptors.

« (Kohl said) that it’s time, » Luc told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. « It’s time to start putting wins together. We have 33 games left and right now we’re not in the playoffs. We have the potential. We have a good team. We have good players. We can make the playoffs, so it’s time to go out there and play like we want to make the playoffs. »

The pep-talk seemed to motivate No. 12 in particular, who had his second big night in a week.

Luc Richard posted his fifth double-double of the season against Toronto, and second in three games, finishing with 10 points, and out-rebounding everyone else on the court (14 boards) in just 29 minutes of play off the bench. Luc explained his effort to the Journal-Sentinel:

« I was just trying to do a little more to get the win, » he said. « We needed to get out of this losing streak. I had opportunity to get rebounds, so I was trying to get extra possessions for the team. »

When told of his stats for the night, Luc said there was only one stat that mattered to him:

« It’s better to see that we won by however much we won by, » he said.

With injuries to starters throughout the year, Luc Richard has proven time and time again that he is able to adapt to any role that the team throws at him, as illustrated in Tuesday’s victory. Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop has been quick to give the Prince credit when credit was due, and Tuesday night was no different,

« Luc Mbah a Moute. Without looking at the numbers, The Prince had a nice game. Looking at the numbers, The Prince had a nice game. On a rare night when the Bucks were not misfiring on the vast majority of their shots, Mbah a Moute gathered a healthy portion of those that did miss the mark. Mbah a Moute pulled down seven offensive rebounds, and a quick dig through the play-by-play reveals that he personally scored six points directly off his own offensive rebounds.

And the box score won’t show any steals or blocks, but Luc defended an oversized Andrea Bargnani capably, often pushing the seven-foot Italian away from the hoop. Usually it looks like Bargnani doesn’t need much encouragement to hang out near the perimeter, but he barked at the official at one point after getting muscled out of the lane by Luc, who also helped hold Amir Johnson to 5 points. Meanwhile, Mbah a Moute totaled 10 points on 6 shots along with 14 rebounds as the sixth man extraordinaire. »

Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball gave Luc some acclaim for his defense on the Raptors’ big man:

« Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Mbah a Moute split the duty on the Raptors center.  When Bargnani had Mbah a Moute on him, he would often take him to the post, only to realize he wasn’t strong enough to back down the Bucks forward.  He settled a number of times for turnaround jumpers or fadeaways that had little chance. »

The Tuesday night win snapped a four-game losing streak, but the Bucks couldn’t carry that momentum on the road and fell on the second half of a back-to-back in Washington to the Wizards, 100-85 on Wednesday night.

SETTING A STANDARD
During the Bucks’ first game of 2011 (January 1st) against the Dallas Mavericks, Luc Richard was diagnosed with a mild concussion after butting heads with a Dallas defender.

The incident opened Luc’s eyes in more ways than one.

No. 12 not only missed no games, but played a game-high 42 minutes just three days later against the Miami Heat.

Other professional sports leagues like Major League Baseball, and more prevalently, the National Football League, have been issuing new standards when it comes to concussions. Luc Richard believes that the NBA needs to follow suit.

While the Prince’s concussion was mild, he believes that there is room for improvement when it comes to testing, as Luc explained to the Associated Press.

« I didn’t have to do any tests because we were on the road and doctors were here, » Luc said. « They just asked me how I was feeling, and I told them I was feeling better. They were like, ‘You’re fine. »‘

Mbah a Moute said he knocked heads with a Dallas defender on Jan. 1 and returned three days later, despite some soreness on his left side of his head. The experience has made him think there should be a league-wide policy to handle every concussion.

« There should be standards in the NBA. You need to do these tests and pass these tests before you can come back on the court. Bottom line. We definitely don’t get as bad concussions as football and other sports, but a concussion is a concussion. It’s a serious injury and there should be tests. »

No. 12 said it’s a matter of making sure the player is safe short and long-term:

« I think it’s only right. It doesn’t cost anything. It’s something that people should want to do if you have a concussion, » he said. « I would want to do those tests to make sure I’m OK, to make sure I’m ready to be back on the court and not expose myself again. »

To read more about concussions in the NBA, click here.

NEXT UP
The Bucks wrap a short two-game road trip on Friday when they take on one of the Western Conference’s most improved teams, the Memphis Grizzlies.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

But after Friday, the Bucks can look forward to playing eight of their next nine games on their home court in Milwaukee.

The Bucks are three-and-a-half games back of the No. 8 spot in the East behind the division-rival Indiana Pacers, and should be prepared to use their homestand to gain some ground.

That home stretch starts against the Pacers on Saturday at 7:30. You can see that game on FSN Wisconsin as well.

RELATED ARTICLES

Career Night is No Solace

Like any true professional, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute values the team performance over individual achievement.

So even after one of the biggest nights of his career, Luc couldn’t take any comfort from a 100-94 Bucks loss to the Warriors on Thursday night.

No. 12 received his second straight start in place of injured center Andrew Bogut and made the most of it, playing a starring role all night for Milwaukee.

The Prince showed his stuff with a career-high 19 rebounds, including an incredible 11 off the offensive glass, giving his team multiple second-chance points to keep the game close.

To put that number in perspective, Luc Richard had 11 of the 20 offensive rebounds that the Bucks had as a team and even more impressive, the Golden State Warriors, as a group, only had eight total offensive rebounds.

« I was just trying to make things happen for the team, » Luc told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. « When Bogut is out, somebody has to pick up the slack for rebounding. I was just trying to do that. »

Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball was left impressed by Luc’s toughness on the glass:

Without Andrew Bogut (bruised right knee), Luc Mbah a Moute stepped up on the glass.  The Bucks forward established a new career best with 19 rebounds, 11 of them on the offensive end.  Against an undersized team like the Warriors, Mbah a Moute can thrive inside.  They don’t have the same type of shot-blocking or muscle at the rim.  Mbah a Moute is as tough as anyone and he showed that to the Warriors.

To go along with his career-night on the boards, No. 12 hit on 6-of-12 field goals, good for 15 points, a season-high for the Cameroon native. Luc also added five assists and two steals in an excellent all-around performance.

Frank Madden of Brew Hoop called Luc’s performance in Thursday night’s game simply « amazing. » He named Luc in both the « Three Bucks » and « Three Good » portions of his game recap, because No. 12 was that good:

From Three Bucks:
« Luc Mbah a Moute. Just a monster effort from the Prince, who simply outworked the bigger Warrior frontline to grab 11 of the Bucks’ 20 offensive rebounds and finish with 15 points (6/12 fg), a career-high 19 boards, and five assists. »

From Three Good:
« Luc’s work. Seriously, that was some amazing work. Despite his obvious size disadvantage, he put up the same scoring line as David Lee while out-rebounding one of the league’s better rebounding PFs 19-7. »

Josh Whitling of ESPN’s fantasy basketball blog also lofted some praise Luc’s way:

« Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had one of the most unexpected dominant efforts of the season Thursday, scoring 15 points with 19 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals. That marks his season high in rebounds, points and assists. »

But Luc wasn’t gloating after the game. Instead, he took a leadership role, pinpointing what he and his teammates didn’t do and how they can improve. No. 12 thought the Bucks were in a position to win the game, but he said the loss had little to do with effort, and more with making the most of opportunities, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« We had a lot of good things going on, offensively, » Mbah a Moute said as the Bucks locker room emptied out and players started heading for the bus. « Against a team like that, we really didn’t get stops when we needed to.

« We turned them over 17 times and only got 16 points out of it. We had a lot of times where we were in transition and didn’t convert. That’s tough for us, especially the way we’ve been playing. So every time we have the ball in transition, we need those big-time. »

Still in a game where they missed two of their key players down the stretch, Bogut and Brandon Jennings, who is working his way back from a foot injury that limited him to less than 20 minutes Thursday and kept him off the floor in crunch time, the Bucks can take some positives moving forward.

They are still well within reach of a playoff spot and with plenty of the season left, the Bucks have time to close the gap.

« We can’t get down, » Luc said. « We’ve got to find a way; we’ve got to play harder. We’ve got to scratch and grind. »

NEXT UP
The Bucks see their schedule lighten up quite a bit over the next 10 days.

With a playoff spot on the line, the Bucks know they have to win the games that they’re supposed to and five of the six teams they play over the next week and-a-half sport records below .500. Four of their next six games are at home and they also play three of the five teams below them in the Eastern Conference in the upcoming stretch.

That stretch kicks off Saturday night when Milwaukee welcomes the Detroit Pistons to the Bradley Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 CST and you can catch all the excitement on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED ARTICLES

Bucks Back in the Hunt

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks were clicking on all cylinders over the past week, starting with a big win over their Eastern Conference rivals the Atlanta Hawks.

In their defeat of Atlanta, the Bucks overcame an 11-point fourth quarter deficit and completely locked down defensively in the final quarter, holding the Hawks under 23 percent from the field.

Luc started the fourth quarter and then played an offense-defense trade-off with Ersan Ilyasova for the final minutes of the game. In that quarter, No. 12 and his teammates limited Atlanta’s scoring duo of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith to just two points each on a total of 10 shots between them. Luc also pitched in three rebounds and an assist in the fourth.

The Bucks, with confidence in tow, took their 98-90 victory over the Hawks on the road and produced similar results in Toronto.  Luc Richard led all Bucks bench players with seven rebounds against the Raptors and Milwaukee took home the victory, 116-110.

While No. 12 secured the glass on the defensive end, his teammates poured it in on the other end, shooting 55.3 percent from the field on their way to victory.

They carried that momentum into the weekend and over his last two games, Luc has shot an impressive 7-of-9 from the field. He compiled five points and five boards in a win over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night, then added 10 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting, along with six rebounds against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.

Luc Richard played 22 minutes off the bench in L.A., and managed to drain all of his shots, while recording a team-high point differential (+7) and rotating defensive duties on rookie Blake Griffin.

After winning three of their last four, the Bucks have climbed to a 19-27 record and currently remain just a half game behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. The recent win streak is a product of the Bucks playing a better brand of basketball while getting healthier by the day.

This week, Milwaukee saw both their starting point guard and small forward return to the line-up. Brandon Jennings and Carlos Delfino have already provided a spark for the team and Head Coach Scott Skiles believes that now is the perfect time to strike and make a run for the playoffs, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« All the teams have records around ours, » Skiles said. « This is a logical time for us to start playing really well and our guys are starting to filter back right now. We’re starting to get a little bit more healthy. It’s hard to judge anybody on our team, and we don’t want to judge anybody harshly, until all our guys are back. »

NEXT UP
The Bucks are on the West Coast this week to take on the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors on back-to-back nights.

Luc Richard averaged 10.5 points and over 10 rebounds in two games against the Warriors last year, so he should be ready and waiting for Thursday night to come.

But the Bucks will have to take down Steve Nash and the Suns first on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED ARTICLES
Monday game report: Bucks at Clippers (JS Online, Feb. 1, 2011)
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute Splits (ESPN, Feb. 1, 2011)