Monthly Archives: janvier 2012

Locking Down Lakers

Tasked with defending one of the league’s elite scorers, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute did some of his best work of the season on Saturday night and helped the Bucks to a big win.

Luc lived up to his « Lockdown » moniker limiting Los Angeles Lakers stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol as the Bucks routed LA 100-89 at the Bradley Center.


After forcing Kobe Bryant into a turnover, Luc took off with the steal for a rim-rocking jam (Getty Images).

With Stephen Jackson and Andrew Bogut both out for the Bucks, No. 12 saw an increased role with the Bucks and excelled. Luc played a season high 38 minutes and was very aggressive in his time on the floor. He led the Bucks in free throw attempts with six and scored a season high 10 points.

But it was once again his defense that stood out in a Bucks win. The Prince spent much of the game locked up on Bryant, and though the Lakers scorer still found a way to score 27 points, he had to work hard for every one of them.

« We tried to make him have a tough night and we succeeded, » Luc Richard told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. « It was a collective effort by the whole team. Carlos started the game trying to get him off his spots and me finishing up. »

Luc and Co. forced Bryant into 21 tough shots and also made him pass, as evidenced by Bryant’s uncharacteristically high nine assists.

« We did as good a job on their key guys as we could, » Coach Scott Skiles. « I thought we were outstanding on Kobe and he almost had a triple-double. In particular Luc – he did what Luc does. »

Luc also rotated over to Gasol often and helped the Bucks limit the Lakers’ other star to just 12 points on 18 shots. As a unit the Bucks held LA to just 50 percent shooting in the paint, an area where the Lakers generally excel. And they did so without their primary interior defender.

« It means a lot, especially with Bogut not being there, » Luc told the Associated Press. « He’s always our anchor down there in the front line. For us to go out there and make it tough on a guy like Gasol, it’s big. That’s probably the reason why we won the game. »

Luc in particular was noted for his stellar job on Gasol, who the Lakers tried to feature with the absence of Bogut to no avail.

After playing for 39 minutes and coming away with just 12 points, Gasol left the Bradley Center very frustrated by No. 12 and the Bucks.

« In the first half, we did a decent job. In the second half, there were not many touches, » Gasol said. « They were beating us all over the court. »

Luc didn’t only make big plays on defense; he also scored the biggest bucket of the game. The Bucks led 85-76 after an inside score from Ersan Ilyasova with just under eight minutes left, but Bryant scored five straight points to cut the lead to four at 85-81. The Prince calmly answered with a 15-footer from the left wing with 4:30 left, starting an 8-2 Milwaukee run that helped secure the victory.

The win followed up a tough loss for the Bucks on Friday night in Chicago. Luc got the start, but played just 12 minutes and scored four points in the defeat.

Luc has now started four consecutive games for Milwaukee, including a win over the Rockets on Wednesday, in which he chipped in two points, four rebounds, an assist and a steal. He helped the Bucks limit the Rockets to just 40 percent from the field in the 105-99 Milwaukee win.

NEXT UP

The Bucks continue a three-game homestand tonight when they host the Detroit Pistons at the Bradley Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED STORIES

Ready To Roll

It has been a rough start to the season for me, but my knee is doing better. I think the shortened camp and trying to work back into basketball shape so quickly really took a toll on it. We were called up really quick after the lockout, then I went through free agency so I couldn’t practice, and then I missed most of the rest training camp because of visa issues after I signed. There’s just no way your body can be ready that quickly for games. And when you try to force it, things like this happen.


My knee feels better and I’m ready to get back out on the court (Getty Images).

The rehab has involved a lot of strengthening in the muscles around my knee just to kind of get those stronger so the pounding won’t be as hard on the tendon. I’ve been doing a lot of balance work, and had some work done on the soft tissue around it to get it loose to the point where the knee is more flexible. Those type of things can alleviate the pain and help me get back on the court. You have to make sure you do the proper warmups, make sure your quad muscles and all the other muscles around the tendon are loose before you start playing. There’s really no cure for it that you can do or take that makes it go away. You have to just continue to limit and take away the pain as much as you can. I’ve been really focused since it happened on getting back healthy and getting back on the court.

As a player you want to be out there competing, so it’s not fun to be sidelined. Especially with us right now, it’s hard to watch knowing you want to be out there helping your team win games.

INVESTING IN THE FUTURE

I’m very grateful for all that I have.

Signing a new contract this summer was a great thing for me and my family. But it was also an important step for my country and the future of basketball there.

Back home, everybody was happy for me. For someone from there to achieve this is a great honor and shows that it can be done. The probability of a player like me being in the NBA is so little. Coming from where I come from, my background, it’s not a place where people come from to the NBA. For me, it was the best when I got the chance to do it my rookie year.

I’ll always remember that rookie contract because it gave me the opportunity to play and the opportunity now to end up with this contract. I’m really happy to be where I am today because of it.

Anytime you can quadruple your salary, that’s always a great thing. I plan to make the best of it back home. Financially, I’ll be able to impact and positively affect the lives of others around Africa. That’s what I’m most excited about.


I’ve already begun working on the state of basketball in Africa, but there is much more to be done.

I have a lot of ideas about things that I want to do, but nothing is concrete right now. The main thing for me is to continue to develop the sport of basketball over there.  Whether that involves building gyms or donating to high school and club teams over there to encourage young people to play, I’m going to do whatever I can. They need a lot of things over there. They need people that are willing to work with kids on basketball, and they also need equipment and materials to play the game. So there is a lot of work to be done to help develop the sport over there.

I see a bright future for basketball in Africa. I’ve already begun to focus on that through my camp and other things. There’s no doubt in my mind that there is a whole lot of talent over there for the sport. The challenge is that some of it goes to waste because of a lack of infrastructure and materials. That’s why again, being in the position that I’m in now, hopefully I’ll be able to impact that and raise the level of infrastructure there to get the kids to play more.

I’ve seen kids with a lot of talent, but they don’t have a basketball to play with or a court to play on so that talent goes to waste. By the time someone gets a hold of them it’s almost too late, because they’re too old. If we can build something there to get kids started at a young age and grow that talent to bring it up.

I’m sure that people back home were rubbing their heads wondering what they were going to ask me for next knowing that I can afford more things now too.  I’m expecting them to come at me with some kind of lists of things to get.

UCLA MAKING GOOD IN THE PROS

It’s been a great year for UCLA alums in the NBA.

I wasn’t the only UCLA player to get a new contract this summer, and I’m happy for my good friend Arron Afflalo who got one from Denver. We spent a lot of time together this summer working out in LA. We were both restricted free agents and we have the same agent, so when I got an offer sheet from Denver, I thought we might get to play together again.

I would’ve loved to play with Arron like back in college. Me and Arron on the same court would be hard to beat. He’s a competitor, a great defender and a great offensive player. I’d always love to have somebody like that on my team.


We thought for a moment we might be teammates, but Arron and I are good as rivals too (Getty Images).

I wasn’t sure what the Bucks were going to do, so I signed the offer sheet thinking I might end up in Denver. I was just excited to get an offer at that point. But when I heard the Bucks matched, I was happy. It’s a city that I’m familiar with, that I’ve played in for the last two years, so I was comfortable coming back here. I was excited about the opportunity to go at it again with the same guys: Carlos, Bogut, Ersan, guys that have been here for a while. We want to build a strong future for this franchise together.

At the end of the day, I’m happy Arron got the deal he got. He deserved it. I’m happy I got my deal and I’m sure he’s happy for me that I got my deal. Now we just have to make the best of it.

SIZING UP THE LEAGUE’S BEST

I try to watch some basketball when I’m not playing or practicing. There are some really good teams out there, of course you’ve got Chicago, Miami and the Lakers, all really good teams, but one team that I think is really flying under the radar is Denver. They’re a very complete team.

The team that I’m really impressed with but not surprised about is Oklahoma City. That group is just really good together. They define that consistency I was talking about earlier. They do what they do night-in and night-out.

Russell knows who gets the best of our one-on-one matchups (Getty Images).

They’re a very hard team to beat and I think they’ll get further this year than they did last year. Russell is doing really well for them. He had a rough start to the season, but he seems to have found his groove. I’ve seen him play a lot better and I’m happy for him. Luckily for him other players don’t know how to defend him like I do. He knows if I’m on him, he’s not scoring. We talked about it all summer. He knows.

It’s kind of crazy to look back at all those guys we had on that UCLA team. Russell and Kevin Love are probably going to be All-Stars again this year. They’re both doing amazing. Then you look at myself, Arron, Darren Collison, Jordan Farmar, we had some really good players coming through there at that time. It says a lot about that program.

Starting Assignment

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute didn’t take long to impress his coach Scott Skiles.

Luc returned to action over the weekend following an eight-game absence, coming off the bench in Bucks wins at New York and Miami He played 24 and 28 minutes, respectively, while giving his usual stellar effort defensively against a variety of opposing standouts. According to Skiles, the performance was enough to merit insertion back into the starting lineup.


Luc played strong on Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, but the Bucks couldn’t stretch their winning streak (Getty Images).

So when the Bucks took the floor on Monday against the Atlanta, there was looking starting at power forward. No. 12 played 20 minutes and tallied eight points and four rebounds, along with his usual tough defense of Hawks scorers Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. But Milwaukee couldn’t hold the lead late and fell 97-92.

« I don’t know how many guys there are in the league that can on one night — D-Wade didn’t play — but he could have guarded Wade, LeBron (James) and (Chris) Bosh in the same game, and then turn right around and guard Josh Smith and Joe Johnson in the same game. » Skiles told the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel. « There aren’t many guys who can do that. »

Though his defense was the deciding factor in his start, the Bucks ran some offense through Luc early on Monday. He took four shots in the first six minutes of the game, sinking two to help the Bucks keep pace with the fast-starting Hawks. The Prince also had two rebounds in the first, but after one Atlanta led 28-23.

After a breather on the bench, Luc re-entered the game with 4:21 to go in the half and wasted no time leaving his impact on the game. His jumper at the 4:05 mark put Milwaukee ahead 40-39. He added a putback with a minute-and-a-half to go, pushing the Bucks in front 46-45. The teams went to halftime tied at 48.
Milwaukee took leads in the third and fourth quarters, but with Luc on the bench in the fourth, Johnson got to the foul line on four separate occasions in the final four minutes to lead Atlanta to victory.

« He felt like they had a good flow out there, » Luc told the Journal-Sentinel of Skiles’ going with four reserves along with starter Jennings for the fourth quarter. « They did a good job. It was a close game. We had a chance to win the game, but Joe Johnson came back and made some tough shots and Josh Smith made that three at the end. »

Though No. 12 played fewer minutes in the second half, Skiles said his knee made it through fine.

« I’m not real concerned with that; maybe that’s something I should think about a little bit more. I don’t want him to have a setback, » Skiles said. « As long as he’s not complaining of anything to the trainers, we’ll keep on playing him. »

NEXT UP

Luc and the Bucks are back on the road tonight as they hit Houston to take on the Rockets. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED ARTICLES

Back To His Old Tricks

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute made his return to the court this weekend and his presence helped the Bucks pick up two big wins.

After sitting out eight games to rest his right knee, Luc returned to the Bucks lineup in New York on Friday night and helped the Bucks take down the Knicks. Two nights later it was on to Miami where The Prince’s suffocating defense was a huge factor in Milwaukee’s 91-82 win over Miami.

In just his second game back from injury, Luc had the unenviable task of defending both LeBron James and Chris Bosh on certain occasions Sunday night. But No. 12 takes pride in the challenge of defending a great offensive player.

« The key to winning this game was to keep their numbers down, » Mbah a Moute said. « This team is very dangerous. »


Milwaukee trapped Miami into bad spots all night, forcing turnovers on the way to a win (Getty Images).

Luc scored just four points to go along with five rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench but his defense helped the Bucks hold Miami to one of their lowest scoring outputs this season, 82 points on 37% shooting.

« His line won’t show the impact he had on the game, » Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. « He had a huge impact on the game. »

Luc did his best work on Bosh, as Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote:

“He defended both LeBron James and Chris Bosh, and his harassing style of defense in the post helped force eight turnovers by Bosh. Mbah a Moute tried to attack Bosh’s dribble and forced several miscues that way. »

Although Luc Richard didn’t start the game, Skiles decided to go with him down the stretch over rookie Jon Leuer.

« We’ve got to get Luc out there on Bosh or Ers, » Skiles said. « Luc has done a nice job on Bosh in the past. Jon is learning. One night it’s Amare Stoudemire; the next night it’s Bosh. »

The Prince had crucial fourth quarter blocks of Norris Cole and Bosh as the Bucks clung to a lead. He also knocked down his only field goal of the game with 7:12 remaining, pushing the Bucks lead to three. The bucket started an 8-2 run that put the game away.

The win followed another huge one for the Bucks on Friday night, 100-86, over the Knicks.

Luc had six points, seven rebounds and two steals in his first game back. He recorded a big steal and a bucket in the second quarter, taking the ball away from Toney Douglas on one end and finishing off a Mike Dunleavy feed on the other side.

He added his other steal and four points in the fourth when he took it away from Iman Shumpert. With the Knicks down 12 and just 2:24 remaining, Shumpert fouled Luc, sending him to the line where he made both attempts. He added a layup a few moments later for the team’s final points of the night.

But it was Luc’s defense that again told the story as he and Carlos Delfino made Carmelo Anthony take 29 shots to get 35 points. They also limited Amar’e Stoudemire to 15 points on 13 shots. The inefficient night from their two stars was New York’s downfall as they shot just 37 percent as a team.

« That’s what I do, come in here and give this team that defensive boost, » Luc said of his return to the lineup. “It feels good to get in there and get two wins in my first games back. »

NEXT UP

Luc and the Bucks host the Atlanta Hawks tonight at the Bradley Center. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED STORIES

Prince Makes Season Debut

It’s been a strange start to the 2011-2012 season for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, but he finally got a chance to make his regular season debut on Monday night in Denver.

Luc made the most of his 21 minutes off the bench, scoring six points on 3-of-6 from the field and grabbing six rebounds. He also added two blocked shots and a steal, helping the Bucks stay in the game until the very end. But Denver closed the game with four-straight points to secure the victory.

« I think they turned it up a little bit, but we also made some very bad decisions offensively, » Luc said. « And defensively, we seemed to be stretched out too far and they got easy lay ups and kept getting the ball where they wanted to. They knocked down some three’s and that really got us off our game. »

Denver was a unique place to begin the season for Luc, being as the Nuggets were the team that extended an offer sheet to him when he was a restricted free agent this offseason. Of course, the Bucks matched that offer sheet, locking up No. 12 for four more years in Milwaukee.

Since then, Luc has had to deal with visa issues that forced a late start to camp. Then, after two preseason games, the Prince began to have some pain in his knee. He was diagnosed with tendInitis and missed the first three games of the season. He said he could still feel the pain in his knee on Monday, but decided to play through.

« Definitely not 100 percent but I was able to contribute some minutes, » he said. « Unfortunately we didn’t get the win. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. »

No. 12 entered Monday’s game with 1:49 remaining in the first quarter and the Bucks leading by five. Shortly after his entrance, Milwaukee forced a turnover and capitalized to jump ahead by seven. The lead was at six, 30-24, after one.

In the second, Luc got active on the glass, grabbing four rebounds in the first four minutes and nine seconds and making his presence felt on the defensive end. Unfortunately, the Bucks offense went cold and was unable to take advantage of Luc’s work.

« I’m surprised; I don’t know what happened we were just never there, » No. 12 said. « It seemed like everything we did we would miss an assignment or something would happen. I don’t know, we just can’t afford to have those lapses on the road especially right now. »

Denver closed the gap to four in that time period, but Milwaukee picked up the pace late in the second. When the Prince got to the basket for his first bucket of the night, with 3:05 left in the half, it extended the lead to seven. They led by five when Luc came out with 2:32 to go in the second, but the Nuggets closed the quarter on a 9-4 run to take the game to halftime even at 48.

The Bucks clung to a one-point lead when No. 12 returned to the game with 2:51 to go in the third, but he quickly went about helping them build that edge. His second layup of the night, with a minute to go in the quarter, made it 71-66 and after three Milwaukee held a 74-68 advantage.

The teams traded barbs early in the fourth, but following Luc’s final bucket of the night, which put the Bucks back up by six, 79-73, Denver made a run. Over the next 6:30, the Nuggets scored 13 of the game’s 15 points to take an 86-81 lead.

Milwaukee pulled back within one with 1:55 to go and thanks to solid defense had three separate possessions with a chance to take the lead. But they couldn’t convert. A Ty Lawson layup made it a three-point game with 10.9 seconds to go and a Brandon Jennings miss moments later sealed Milwaukee’s fate. But Luc said it was the play earlier in the game that put the Bucks in position to lose and the mistakes are ones they must improve on.

« With all that stuff we still had a chance to go up, » he said. « [Stephen Jackson] had that wide open shot and if that goes down we go up one. Brandon had a good look at the end and unfortunately we made too many mental mistakes early in the game. »

Milwaukee followed Monday’s loss with another on Tuesday in Utah, 85-73. Luc had two points and two rebounds, but played just 12:30 of game time.

NEXT UP

The Bucks continue their five-game West Coast trip Thursday night in Sacramento, where they take on the Kings.

Luc was unsure after Tuesday’s game if he would be able to go on Thursday and is expected to be a game-time decision.

« I have to continue to work on this (knee) to get it back to full, » he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. « Now with so many games starting, you have to get back to game shape, get my rhythm. So that’s what I’m trying to do. »

Tip-off of Thursday’s game is scheduled for 9 p.m. CST and the game can be seen on FS Wisconsin.

RELATED STORIES