Monthly Archives: décembre 2012

Getting Back in the Game

I want to thank all the fans for all their support through my injury, surgery and recovery. I truly appreciate it. It’s been a long road, but we’re almost there. It’s tough going through surgery, but I’ve been fortunate to have the support of the fans, and I’m looking forward to having a good season for you this year.

My knee is getting better, but it’s a long process. I’ve never been through a recovery like this for an injury like this, so it’s tough. But I think it’s a good learning experience. It’s just about dealing with the situation.

I’ve been able to play, but pain is still there. It’s tough to deal with, but comes with the territory (Getty Images).

The surgery I went through is not a common surgery. It’s not an X-and-O surgery, like if you break your ankle they put a screw in and you’re good. It’s something that’s different for every person. The recovery time fluctuates for different people.

I’ve talked to some other players about it, but there aren’t a lot of guys who’ve had surgery for their patella tendon. I’ve just been doing a lot of research, and having different trainers from college and that I know from high school even, and they’re trying to find ways to help me out.

I had the surgery in Los Angeles, and spent most of my rehab time there working with trainers and physicians. Being away from that can be hard, but we have good trainers and a good staff in Milwaukee that have been helping me get through it. That’s the main thing, having people around who can help you get through it. So far, it’s been working well for me.

The doctors said that I’m going to have to deal with pain for a little bit post-surgery. As I play in the games, it’s about getting my body and my muscles accustomed to it again. It’s not something that’s fun, but it’s the road I have to take to get healthy. I think I’m going to start doing some different stuff off the court to help it along, like acupuncture. I’m going to throw a variety of things at it and get it better.

I’m excited to be out there playing again, but I’m still not feeling the way I really want to feel. I’m still going through pain and stuff like that. It feels a little better having gone through surgery and rehab, but the fact that I’m still having pain is hard to deal with. Still, it feels good to be out there playing, and I’m optimistic that the pain is going to go away as I strengthen the muscles. I’ll be back to 100 percent and pain free soon.

Obviously, my conditioning is not the best as far as playing a lot of minutes, but also I’m still dealing with the knee and we haven’t had a lot of practice time. It’s just been game, day-off, game, and rest. Whenever I can get a rest or take it easy on it, I do, because right now, the most important thing is playing in games.

As we go through the season, I’m just trying to fit in. Missing training camp and the early part of the season didn’t help, but I try to go in there, give everything I got, play hard defensively and help offensively as well. I’m hoping to ease my way in so I can contribute.

EMPHASIS ON DEFENSE

We’re off to a pretty even start to the season, but we could be much better.

Our problem so far has been on defense. We have to, as a team, try to get better in that department. That’s our Achilles heel right now, and we’re far from where we want to be on that side of the ball. But it’s something we’ve dealt with in the past. We need to continue to tighten it up, and just get better on the details. I think if we do that, we should be ok.

If we get our defense together, we’re good enough offensively to win games. One of the reasons for that is our guard play. It’s great playing with Monta Ellis. Offensively, he draws a lot of attention and makes plays. He’s a guy who can score anytime, and also can pass the ball. It’s good to have a guy like that on your team.


Playing with guys like Monta is great for our offense, but we all need to pick it up on defense (Getty Images).

Some of our younger guys are getting a really good chance to play early because of some of our injuries. Guys like Larry Sanders and our rookies, John Henson and Doron Lamb, are doing a good job. They just have to stay focused. When you come into the league as a rookie, you have to stay focused and stay ready. Sometimes you don’t play a lot, sometimes you do. It can be tough, but you just have to stay focused and be ready to do your job.

We have a really good group here. I think it’s one of the best we’ve had here in terms of camaraderie. Guys get along pretty good, and I think in the long run, that’s going to help our chemistry and help us win.

 

Two Big Weekend Wins

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and his teammates bucked a disturbing trend this weekend to pick up two big wins and get back above .500.

After allowing more than 100 points in double digit losses to New Orleans and San Antonio last week, the Bucks got their defense back going to hold the Charlotte Bobcats and Brooklyn Nets to 93 and 88 points respectively. The defensive success was a key component to both wins.


Luc spent most of his time against Joe Johnson and won the battle on both ends of the court (Getty Images).

Holding Brooklyn down in a 97-88 win was especially gratifying. The Nets came into the game as one of the NBA’s best offensive teams, but the Bucks dominated them defensively on Sunday.

The Nets jumped out to an early 11-2 lead on 5-of-7 from the floor, but after a Milwaukee timeout, Brooklyn shot just 20 percent (8-of-40) from the field for the rest of the half and tallied only 31 points, allowing Milwaukee to take a 17-point lead into halftime.

« We turned it up and once we did we were able to get stops, » Luc said. « It helped that they were missing shots early and they kind of lost their confidence on their shot.  They tried to drive and we were there to help.  We shut it out and that really helped us. »

The Nets also had trouble hanging on to the ball, which the Bucks exploited as Brooklyn committed 20 turnovers.  Luc played a season high 28 minutes in just his fifth game since his return from offseason surgery.

Coach Scott Skiles gave Luc the opportunity to get back in the habit of guarding multiple positions and was key in holding guard Joe Johnson to a season low 6 points, just two nights after he went off on Golden State for a season high 32.

« Luc can guard any of those guys, » Skiles said. « It’s big for us having him back. »

Luc was also a crucial piece on the offensive end. Despite the Bucks establishing a lead of as many as 29 points in the third quarter, the Nets surged back into the game and trailed by just eight when Deron Williams hit a three with under five minutes to go. No. 12 answered with a jumper with 4:25 remaining to make it 85-75 Bucks.

Brooklyn scored the next four points, but Milwaukee found another answer and after Luc hit his second jumper of the quarter to put the Bucks up 10 with 54 seconds to go, the game was out of reach.

No. 12 finished with nine points, five rebounds and two steals in the victory, on the heels of a similar game against the Bobcats in Milwaukee’s 108-93 drubbing of the Cats on Friday. Luc put up another nine-point night in that one, adding 3 rebounds an assist and a steal. Both Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball, and Frank Madden of Brew Hoop lauded the Prince for the way he attacked Bobcats rookie forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

« Mbah a Moute attacked Michael Kidd-Gilchrist like he was a fifth grader in a eighth grade pickup game, » Schmidt wrote.

Schmidt then went into detail about just how good Luc was against one of the season’s top draft picks, Kidd-Gilchrist, a player who many believe is a rising star in the league.

The Bobcats rookie found himself defending Milwaukee’s forward in the post on three separate occasions in the second quarter. The first time, Mbah a Moute stepped towards the middle, faked once, faked again and when he got both Kidd-Gilchrist and another defender in the air, went underneath for a layup.

On the next possession, he air balled a hook shot, sure, but minutes later he posted, faced up, posted again and got Gilchrist in the air for the second time. Again, Mbah a Moute stepped underneath and finished, this time drawing a foul as well for a 3-point play.

He wasn’t done. Milwaukee would go back to the mismatch in the fourth. On this final post possession, Mbah a Moute took one dribble, knocking the rookie wing back a step. With him on his toes, Mbah a Moute drop stepped again, right into the defender, went up for a shot and drew another foul. This looked like a guy who feels pretty comfortable with his back to the basket and wants to take advantage of his opportunities.


No. 12 attacked the basket with ease and effectiveness against the Bobcats (Getty Images).

Luc has been widely praised for his aggressiveness in the post offensively since his return to the line-up earlier this month. But he noted that post play has always been a part of his game and that the Bucks’ stable backcourt has allowed him to use those traits more effectively this season.

« I’ve always had a post game, » Luc said. « The good thing is that Coach is trusting me with that now.  It’s good.  I feel like I can take advantage of some small guys down there, use my size and score against them.  I can go down there, get someone in foul trouble or get a basket or have a mismatch. »

Coming off a season where he started 22 of 43 games, Luc hasn’t yet entered the starting lineup for Milwaukee, but he’s ok with that. Unlike previous years when there was a dearth of talent in the Bucks’ second unit, Milwaukee has a full roster of talented players now and Luc is happy to be a part of that.

« This team has a lot of depth, » Luc said. « It’s not an easy job on Coach. But I think guys have to be ready all the time because you never know when your name is going to be called. »

For Luc, part of coming off the bench is also about making steady and meticulous progress from his injury. After missing training camp, the preseason and the first 14 games of the regular season, Luc is trying to get back into basketball shape and top form, all while trying to fins his fit in the Milwaukee system again.

« I’m just figuring it out, » he said after Friday’s win. « I haven’t played basketball in eight months. I haven’t practiced, anything. I’ve just been playing games. I’ve played basketball four times in eight months. I got a long way to go. It’s not where I’d like to be yet. I can play. The hardest thing is the conditioning and my knee. I’m just happy to be out there contributing, wherever I can. »

NEXT UP

The Bucks returned home after Sunday’s game where they will get a day of rest and a day of practice before their next game on Wednesday.

They host the Sacramento Kings in that one, looking to turn their two wins this weekend into a lasting streak. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Wisconsin.

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