Monthly Archives: avril 2011

Luc Makes One Last Stop

In the Bucks’ season finale on Wednesday night, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was tasked with his biggest challenge of the season: defending the NBA’s leading scorer Kevin Durant.

As expected, Luc came through for Milwaukee.

Wednesday night’s game was a culmination of fortitude, perseverance and development for No. 12 and the Bucks. The group knew they would be missing out on the playoffs, but came out hungry to end the season on a high note.

With a 110-106 win over the playoff-bound Oklahoma City Thunder, Milwaukee did just that. The Bucks finished the season with wins in four of their last five games.

Though many other playoff teams were resting their starters, the Thunder were at full force for most of the game as the Prince and his teammate Carlos Delfino worked to keep Durant at bay.

Bucks head coach Scott Skiles noted Luc’s versatility as he was drawing up schemes to keep Durant from his season average. As No. 12 knows, stopping one of the best scorers in the NBA takes a team effort.

« Luc can surprise you with his lateral movement and his ability to contest shots, » Skiles told theMilwaukee Journal Sentinel. « Carlos will start on [Durant]. And Carlos has done a nice job on the Carmelo (Anthony)’s and those types of people. We don’t lose a whole lot with Carlos, but Luc is definitely unique.

« You get your best defender at the times you need him on him, » Skiles added, regarding Luc. « But not necessarily the whole game. »

The Prince’s uniqueness along with a strong team defense held Durant to just four points in the first quarter. Durant played deep into the third quarter, logging 23 minutes while Luc and Delfino forced the Thunder star into 14 tough shots. Durant finished 13 points under his season average, putting just 14 on the scoreboard.

In both the first and third frames, the Bucks started slow, scoring less than 20 points in each quarter. Luc’s defense along with a 16-foot jump shot with just four minutes remaining in the first period kept Milwaukee close as they sought to find their rhythm.

As the second quarter progressed, No. 12 and the Bucks found themselves trailing by 11 points at one point. But a Michael Redd assist, driving layup and sweet jump shot sparked a 9-0 run to end the half with Luc and the Bucks leading 46-43.

The Bucks found their groove in the last portion of the season and it was very much evident in a fourth quarter rally, which took the hotly contested game to overtime.

It was no surprise that No. 12 and the Bucks’ team defense led the comeback as they held the Thunder to just 22 points in the fourth quarter to force the extra period. For the game, Milwaukee forced Oklahoma City into 23 turnovers as the Bucks recorded a season-high in steals with 15.

In overtime, the Bucks outscored the Thunder 14-10 to grab the win. Luc finished with six points, a rebound and an assist.

The win brought Milwaukee’s season record to 35-47 and they found themselves just outside of the playoffs, finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference. But the Bucks were far from satisfied with that result and know they have to get better to reach their goals next season, as Luc told the Journal Sentinel:

« It was a disappointing season as far as the team goes, » he said. « We should have been a better team than we were this year. It’s just unfortunate the way things went, but that’s the NBA, I guess. Sometimes you have good seasons. Sometimes you have bad seasons. I guess that’s how it is.

« You can make all the excuses and say, ‘Oh yeah, we had guys out’ and all that stuff. But we look at how we played and we never really got blown (out) or anything like that. We had very few games where we got blown (out). Most of the games we lost, we lost in the last minutes of the fourth quarter. »

Luc Richard’s progression as a reliable contributor on offense while playing the most minutes per game in his career (26.6) is a true testament to No. 12’s work ethic and the leaders the Bucks have surrounded him with.

As Milwaukee left Oklahoma City, the man who runs their point, Brandon Jennings spoke the words every Bucks player was thinking:

« This was a challenging season. You can’t take winning for granted so next year we just have to come back stronger. »

RELATED STORIES

Another Frustrated Foe

Defense made all the difference once again for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.

It was fan appreciation night at the Bradley Center and after falling behind early, the Bucks defense made sure that Milwaukee fans didn’t go home disappointed.

The Bucks put on a fourth quarter defensive clinic, overcoming a double-digit deficit by limiting the Toronto Raptors to just 15 points in the final frame. The defense led directly to offense late as the Bucks pushed past the Raptors for a 93-86 victory.

« We got a lot of transition buckets, » Luc’s teammate Keyon Dooling told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. « Our defense always sparks our offense. When we can turn a team over and convert – converting has been a problem for us throughout the season but tonight it wasn’t. »

The win, in their final home game of the season, closed out a season sweep of the Raptors, a first for the Bucks all season, as Frank Madden of Brew Hoop noted:

« The Bucks haven’t managed a 4-0 sweep against any opponent this season, though they did win their series with the Nets 3-0. »

Luc and the Bucks started off slow on Monday night and trailed 33-25 at the end of the first quarter. Toronto’s lead would balloon as high as 11 in the second, but as the end of the half approached, Milwaukee slowly chipped away at the lead. By halftime they had cut the deficit to just five.

A Luc layup early in the third quarter trimmed Toronto’s lead to just a single point as the Bucks rallied early in the second half. They pulled even multiple times in the third and trailed by just two entering the fourth. It was then that they turned up the defense and pulled away.

After falling behind 77-71 early in the fourth, the Bucks’ defense shut down the Raptors offense and reeled off a 15-0 run to take a nine-point lead. In the final three frames, Milwaukee outscored Toronto 68-53. Bucks coach Scott Skiles explained to theJournal Sentinel how the Bucks took control.

« We did a much better job (in the second half) getting stops and getting them off the glass, » Skiles said. « That got us out in the open floor. We had some deflections and steals. We were able to go down and have a nice stretch of easy layups for a change instead of having the burden on our half-court offense to get shots. I thought if we could get a spurt at some point, we could take control of the game. »

Luc finished with four points and three rebounds while helping to tame Toronto’s forward trio of Ed Davis, Joey Dorsey and James Johnson. The three combined to shoot 14-of-33 from the field and the Raptors shot just 37 percent as a team. No. 12 and the Bucks defense also forced the Raptors into 20 turnovers.

NEXT UP
Luc’s final test of the season may be his toughest yet.

No. 12 and the Bucks close their season Wednesday night in Oklahoma City against the Thunder where Luc will match up with the NBA’s leading scorer, Kevin Durant.

For the Bucks to go out on a high-note, the Prince will have to contain Durant, who, at 27.9 points per game, leads LeBron James by 1.2 points for the scoring title.

The Bucks lost their only other meeting with OKC this year, 82-81. Durant did not play in that game while Luc scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds and dished two assists.

Wednesday’s season finale tips at 7 on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED STORIES

Shut Down Again

When Milwaukee Bucks head coach Scott Skiles draws up a defensive game plan, at the center of it is Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

As formidable a force as the Bucks have on the defensive end, Luc’s lockdown defense helped the Bucks secure a split on the final weekend of the regular season.

« We’ve been a good defensive team basically the whole season and our numbers bear that out, » Skiles said. « We’re one of the better defensive teams. Our trouble has been on the other end of the floor. Our guys have hung in on the defensive end. »

In the second game of a back-to-back on Saturday, with Milwaukee coming off a tough 110-100 loss to Detroit, No. 12 zoned in on Cleveland Cavaliers forward JJ Hickson. Luc put in another dominant defensive performance, holding the Cavs forward to half his scoring average and Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop noted the Prince’s season-long supremacy over Hickson.

[We] observed J.J. Hickson’s bizarrely bad averages (2.7 points on 22.0 % shooting) in three games against the Bucks this season. Tonight, Luc Mbah a Moute’s defense rendered Hickson (who came into tonight averaging 22.0 points in April) nearly invisible offensively for most of the game yet again.

He finished 3-7 shooting with 11 points, which actually stands as easily his best effort against the Bucks this season, followinggames of 1-4, 1-4, and 2-10. Hickson, it should be noted, is arguably the team’s best player.

Luc and the Bucks performed well on the offensive-end as well, outscoring the Cavs 60-44 in the first half. In addition, Milwaukee finished with 31 assists against Cleveland, tying their season high, set on February 3rd against the Golden State Warriors.

« The guys moved the ball well again and found the open man, and knocked down some shots, » Skiles said. « We definitely needed to score tonight and we did. »

The much-needed offensive game flow for the Bucks began early, as Boeder wrote:

« In the first few minutes of the game, Brandon Jennings found Gooden, who immediately found Luc Mbah a Moute, who immediately passed to Jennings for a three. These were almost touch passes. The game flowed like that. »

The Milwaukee offense slowed down in the beginning of the second half, but the early effort had already established a 16-point lead at the end of the first half. That was enough for No. 12, who ended the game with 12 points and six rebounds, and the Bucks to close out a win with defense.

Skiles said after the game that the Bucks know they can rely on their defense, but when their offense steps up the way it did on Saturday, they can beat anyone on any night.

« The guys have hung in (defensively), » Skiles said. « With our record you would think we’ve had several blowouts sprinkled in there, but we don’t. We’re giving ourselves a chance to win a large part because the guys have been pretty conscientious on that (defensive) end of the floor.

« We just have to find ways to put the ball in the basket. »

NEXT UP
Milwaukee plays its last home game of the season tonight against the Toronto Raptors.

The Bucks will be looking for a season sweep of Toronto, who last came to Milwaukee on February 8th. That night Luc scored 10 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the 92-74 Bucks win.

No. 12 will also have a chance to give the Milwaukee faithful one final look at his superior defense as he tries to tame Toronto rookie power forward Ed Davis. Luc held Davis to just two points in the last meeting between the teams, a 104-98 Bucks win in Toronto on March 30th.

Tonight’s game tips off at 7 CT on FSN Wisconsin.

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Luc Proves His Value

As the Milwaukee Bucks prepare for the beginning of their offseason, they cannot look past the contributions of one of the most important factors in the success they did have this season.

While Milwaukee has been dogged by injuries all year, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has stepped in to play a big role. No. 12 has missed just three Bucks games this season, his 75 games played ranking second on the team.

Over those 75 games, Luc has provided the same steady defense that has made the Bucks one of the toughest teams in the NBA to score against over the last three years. But though Luc Richard’s game has never been one dimensional, he has worked hard to refine the offensive side and make himself an even better player.

Wednesday night, the Prince showed that what was once potential, is now a reality.

Led by Luc’s 14 points and 12 rebounds, the Bucks defeated the Miami Heat 90-85.

Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball.com noted Luc’s quick start as a boon to the Bucks in his Wednesday night recap.

« John Salmons led the way with 17 points, but it was Luc Mbah a Moute’s scrappy style of play that set the tone for Milwaukee.  Mbah a Moute helped the Bucks off to quick start, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the first quarter, as the Bucks jumped out to a 25-15 lead after one. »

From there it was left on the defense and No. 12 stepped up in a big way on that end as well. It was the second straight game that Luc and the Milwaukee defense pushed around one of the Eastern Conference’s elite, playoff-bound offenses. Miami superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh gave No. 12 and the Bucks D their due:

« Every time you play them, it’s going to be one of those grind-it-out tough games, » James said. « They make it very physical. … I’ve played against Scott Skiles teams when he was in Chicago and now in Milwaukee, and it’s always the same effort. »

« You have to give credit to their defense, » Bosh said. « They play good defense. … Things are going to happen like that sometimes. »

The win against a star-studded Heat team was a characteristic Luc effort, wrote Dan Sinclair of Brew Hoop:

Luc compiled the only double-double for the Bucks tonight, and he did it in typical Luc fashion: laying in easy buckets made possible by excellent off-ball movement and a few tip-ins. He also played tough defense down the stretch, guarding LeBron James on a night where it seemed inevitable that LeBron would take over.

HOT COMMODITY
The performance was another great example of why No. 12, who is a restricted free agent after the year, will be highly sought after this offseason.

Luc has shown Milwaukee that he can be a spark off the bench or the solid rock in the starting lineup. He has started 48 games for the Bucks this season, while coming off the bench in 27 games, proving an ability to do both capably.

While his offense has picked up, Luc’s defensive skills will always be what sets him apart. His length makes him a matchup problem from the post to the perimeter. He guards forwards with acumen and expertise, whether it be a power scoring four like Amare Stoudemire or a jump shooting three like Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.

He also gives point and shooting guards fits along the perimeter. John Hollinger of ESPN notes the Prince’s defensive versatility to guard any spot on the floor:

« Mbah a Moute remains the league’s most underrated defender, not to mention its most versatile. Against Dallas last season, he guarded Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry in the same game; neither player did jack against him. »

Luc’s unselfishness and consistency make him an NBA commodity. Other attributes that ESPN’s Hollinger has observed include Luc’s ability to guard the ball, his length, toughness, quick feet and quick hands.

Simply put, the Prince does the little things that help his team in a big way. He’s adept at setting screens and boxing out. He can be a dominating force on the defensive glass and racks up offensive boards with his hustle.

On offense, No. 12 might not stretch defenders beyond the three-point line, but he has shot just under 47 percent from the field in his career.  This season, Luc has equaled his double-double total of his two previous seasons with eight.

Luc Richard has also played his best basketball against the best teams in the league this season. He scored 16 points and added eight rebounds in just 26 minutes of play against the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls in late January.

In addition, Luc was astounding in the month of March. To start the month he dropped 19 points on the Boston Celtics while racking up seven boards. Later in the month, the Prince went on a stretch in which he scored in double digits seven straight times. For the month, he averaged 10.3 points per game.

Those around the Bucks are hopeful Milwaukee keeps him around, as Sinclair writes for Brew Hoop:

« Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows about my growing infatuation with Luc Mbah a Moute. More than just an exceptional defender, Luc is a serious hustle guy who rebounds with his body and gets good position on the offensive boards.

I’d love to see him improve his midrange jumper (only shoots 35% between 10-15 feet), but he’s extremely active in the flow of the offense and spots seams in the defense really well, always seeming to cut toward the basket at the perfect time. I really hope Milwaukee keeps him. »

His elite defensive skills with a rising offensive game attached make the Prince a rare asset in the league. If there is one player on the Milwaukee roster that GM John Hammond cannot afford to let slip through the cracks this offseason, it’s Luc.

RELATED STORIES

  • Bucks 90, Heat 85: Out but not down (Brew Hoop, April 8, 2011)
  • The Thrill of Victory Meets the Agony of Defeat: Bucks 90-Heat 85 (Bucksketball, April 7, 2011)
  • Wednesday Game Report: Bucks at Heat (Journal Sentinel, April 6, 2011)
  • Bucks Beat Heat 90-85, hurting Miami in East Chase (AP, April 6, 2011)
  • Things to shoot for (Brew Hoop, April 4, 2011)
  • Bucks truly are an enigmatic puzzle (Journal-Sentinel, April 8, 2011)As the Milwaukee Bucks prepare for the beginning of their offseason, they cannot look past the contributions of one of the most important factors in the success they did have this season.

    While Milwaukee has been dogged by injuries all year, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has stepped in to play a big role. No. 12 has missed just three Bucks games this season, his 75 games played ranking second on the team.

    Over those 75 games, Luc has provided the same steady defense that has made the Bucks one of the toughest teams in the NBA to score against over the last three years. But though Luc Richard’s game has never been one dimensional, he has worked hard to refine the offensive side and make himself an even better player.

    Wednesday night, the Prince showed that what was once potential, is now a reality.

    Led by Luc’s 14 points and 12 rebounds, the Bucks defeated the Miami Heat 90-85.

    Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball.com noted Luc’s quick start as a boon to the Bucks in his Wednesday night recap.

    « John Salmons led the way with 17 points, but it was Luc Mbah a Moute’s scrappy style of play that set the tone for Milwaukee.  Mbah a Moute helped the Bucks off to quick start, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the first quarter, as the Bucks jumped out to a 25-15 lead after one. »

    From there it was left on the defense and No. 12 stepped up in a big way on that end as well. It was the second straight game that Luc and the Milwaukee defense pushed around one of the Eastern Conference’s elite, playoff-bound offenses. Miami superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh gave No. 12 and the Bucks D their due:

    « Every time you play them, it’s going to be one of those grind-it-out tough games, » James said. « They make it very physical. … I’ve played against Scott Skiles teams when he was in Chicago and now in Milwaukee, and it’s always the same effort. »

    « You have to give credit to their defense, » Bosh said. « They play good defense. … Things are going to happen like that sometimes. »

    The win against a star-studded Heat team was a characteristic Luc effort, wrote Dan Sinclair of Brew Hoop:

    Luc compiled the only double-double for the Bucks tonight, and he did it in typical Luc fashion: laying in easy buckets made possible by excellent off-ball movement and a few tip-ins. He also played tough defense down the stretch, guarding LeBron James on a night where it seemed inevitable that LeBron would take over.

    HOT COMMODITY
    The performance was another great example of why No. 12, who is a restricted free agent after the year, will be highly sought after this offseason.

    Luc has shown Milwaukee that he can be a spark off the bench or the solid rock in the starting lineup. He has started 48 games for the Bucks this season, while coming off the bench in 27 games, proving an ability to do both capably.

    While his offense has picked up, Luc’s defensive skills will always be what sets him apart. His length makes him a matchup problem from the post to the perimeter. He guards forwards with acumen and expertise, whether it be a power scoring four like Amare Stoudemire or a jump shooting three like Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.

    He also gives point and shooting guards fits along the perimeter. John Hollinger of ESPN notes the Prince’s defensive versatility to guard any spot on the floor:

    « Mbah a Moute remains the league’s most underrated defender, not to mention its most versatile. Against Dallas last season, he guarded Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry in the same game; neither player did jack against him. »

    Luc’s unselfishness and consistency make him an NBA commodity. Other attributes that ESPN’s Hollinger has observed include Luc’s ability to guard the ball, his length, toughness, quick feet and quick hands.

    Simply put, the Prince does the little things that help his team in a big way. He’s adept at setting screens and boxing out. He can be a dominating force on the defensive glass and racks up offensive boards with his hustle.

    On offense, No. 12 might not stretch defenders beyond the three-point line, but he has shot just under 47 percent from the field in his career.  This season, Luc has equaled his double-double total of his two previous seasons with eight.

    Luc Richard has also played his best basketball against the best teams in the league this season. He scored 16 points and added eight rebounds in just 26 minutes of play against the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls in late January.

    In addition, Luc was astounding in the month of March. To start the month he dropped 19 points on the Boston Celtics while racking up seven boards. Later in the month, the Prince went on a stretch in which he scored in double digits seven straight times. For the month, he averaged 10.3 points per game.

    Those around the Bucks are hopeful Milwaukee keeps him around, as Sinclair writes for Brew Hoop:

    « Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows about my growing infatuation with Luc Mbah a Moute. More than just an exceptional defender, Luc is a serious hustle guy who rebounds with his body and gets good position on the offensive boards.

    I’d love to see him improve his midrange jumper (only shoots 35% between 10-15 feet), but he’s extremely active in the flow of the offense and spots seams in the defense really well, always seeming to cut toward the basket at the perfect time. I really hope Milwaukee keeps him. »

    His elite defensive skills with a rising offensive game attached make the Prince a rare asset in the league. If there is one player on the Milwaukee roster that GM John Hammond cannot afford to let slip through the cracks this offseason, it’s Luc.

    RELATED STORIES

Milwaukee’s Elite Defense

Their offense has come and gone in waves this season, but one thing the Milwaukee Bucks have been able to rely on, on a daily basis this season, is their defense.

Leading that vaunted defense has been one of the league’s best defenders, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Luc and the Bucks put on a defensive clinic again on Tuesday night, limiting the Orlando Magic and their playoff-bound, high-scoring offense to just 78 points on their home floor.

Orlando shot just 38.8 percent from the field, nearly eight percent below their season average. Even more impressive the Bucks held the Magic, an inside-out team that relies heavily on the three ball to just 2-of-21 from beyond the arc, an abysmal 9.5 percent.

The Prince, who can guard four positions on the floor effectively, stymied Orlando’s versatile forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Brandon Bass. No. 12 forced the duo into nine turnovers combined.

But despite all that, the Bucks were only able muster up 72 points on their offensive end, resulting in a 78-72 loss.

After falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, Luc and the Bucks worked hard to dig themselves out of their early deficit.

By the end of the third frame, Milwaukee trailed by just two and in the final quarter they were even able to tie the game at 72 with just over two minutes remaining.  But a jumper from Magic guard Jameer Nelson and a subsequent turnover by Milwaukee led to another Orlando bucket, which put the game away.

If it wasn’t for Luc and the Bucks’ impeccable defense, however, the game could have gotten out of hand early.

« As poorly as we played, our defense hung in and gave us a chance to win, » coach Scott Skiles said.

That has been the case in most of Milwaukee’s games over the latter half of the season. In their last 10, the Bucks have allowed a league-low 89 points per game. For the season they rank third in the NBA in points allowed behind two teams fighting for the Eastern Conference title, Boston and Chicago.

Bucksketball also notes that the Bucks have held their last 11 opponents under 100 points, while Jeremy Schmidt writes that Luc and the defense deserve better given the effort they’re putting out there every night.

« Oh defense, I pity thee.  You get so much attention, but you’re never rewarded with a victory. Orlando made just 38.8% of their shots and missed their final 18 threes.  Milwaukee keys in on the Magic’s three-point shooting every time they play and this was as satisfying an effort as they’ve had against Orlando’s shooters yet.  But again, Milwaukee’s offense cannot reward their defense with an effort nearly as strong.  So the Bucks go home unhappy, despite playing a respectable game against Dwight Howard (18 points and 17 rebounds on five of 10 shooting) and shutting them down from deep (two of 21 on threes). It’s so common that it isn’t frustrating, but it’s certainly curious. »

NEXT UP
The Bucks defense will be tested again tonight when they play the second game of a back-to-back against the Heat in Miami.

Luc has played an average of over 35 minutes per game against the Heat in three matchups this season. Look for No. 12 to lock in on Miami forward LeBron James as the Bucks fight to finish their season strong.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST on ESPN.

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Bucks Keep Battling

There is no quit in Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks saw their playoff hopes take a huge hit on Friday with a loss to the Indiana Pacers. But rather than getting down on themselves, Milwaukee showed resiliency and came back to beat the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Luc helped the Bucks earn the weekend split by averaging 11 points and six rebounds in the back-to-back matchups.

No. 12 and the Bucks bounced back from a heart-breaking Friday loss Saturday, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers, currently the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, 93-87.

« [Our] guys didn’t hang their heads tonight, » Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. « We were able to get it into overtime and then played well in the overtime. »

The Bucks know their playoff chances are slim, but at this point, all they can do is win the games they play. The Prince in particular wasn’t going to let a missed opportunity hinder his or his teammates’ performance. Milwaukee played with intensity and passion throughout the game Saturday night.

« It was huge to get a win at home for our fans and just to show people we’re still playing hard and trying to finish out properly, » Bucks center Andrew Bogut told the Journal Sentinel. « It’s hard to play sometimes. Guys are playing banged up at the moment; we’ve got a lot of injuries still. If you’re physically game enough to play, there’s no reason we can’t go out and try to get a win. »

Luc’s went 5-of-9 from the field further showcasing an offensive improvement that isn’t going unnoticed from his head coach and the rest of the league, as Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop noted:

« The Prince’s defense never slumps. And now he’s scored in double-digits in nine out of his last ten games — reaching that distinction for the first time in his pro career. »

Not only is Luc’s scoring progressing, but his efficiency Saturday night was impeccable scoring 12 points on just nine shots.

Managing fatigue was also a key factor in Saturday night’s win as No. 12 and the Bucks were playing the second game of a back-to-back. Luc played just 26 minutes, but made the most of them on both sides.

« I thought both teams early on looked a little fatigued and we weren’t as sharp as we would have liked to have been, » Skiles said. « But we hung in there. Very, very good defense in the last 21/2 quarters and we kind of took them out of their sets. Overall, a good effort.« 

OFF PACE
Luc’s intensity was unmatched on Friday night, as he locked down perennial NBA All-Star Danny Granger.

Luc Richard forced Granger into three missed shots, a turnover and zero points in the opening frame Friday night. The Bucks used the strong defensive effort, just 14 points allowed in the first, to build an eight-point lead.

In the second quarter, No. 12 and the Bucks increased their lead to eleven, but were unable to fend off a Pacers run in the waning moments of the second quarter and trailed by seven going into the break.

The tone changed in the fourth quarter, as Luc added four of his 10 points in the first three minutes. No. 12 and the Bucks closed the deficit to just one in the final moments of the game. But they were unable to complete the comeback when a potential game winning three-pointer missed in the final moments to lock in an 89-88 Pacers win.

NEXT UP
The Bucks will play another Eastern Conference playoff team Tuesday night when they go up against the Orlando Magic.

No. 12 will look to lock down veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu and help keep Magic power-forward Brandon Bass off the boards while continuing his offensive improvement. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. on FSN Wisconsin.

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