Monthly Archives: janvier 2013

Bucks Moving Up in East

Since the start of January, the Milwaukee Bucks have been consistently climbing the standings and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has been at the center of it on both ends of the court.


Luc nearly had a double-double against the Warriors with nine boards and eight points (Getty Images).

Including Tuesday night’s 117-90 drubbing of the Detroit Pistons, the Bucks have won five of their last six games and they’re doing it with a potent offense, averaging better than 108 points per game.

Milwaukee’s success of late has allowed them to surge to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, just a half game behind the Atlanta Hawks and five games behind the East lead Miami Heat entering play on Wednesday night.

Over the course of those past six games, Luc has been helping the Bucks’ cause by doing a little bit of everything. He’s averaging just under six points per game and five rebounds per game while also dishing out 1-3 assists in each contest and playing lockdown defense on opposing stars.

In Detroit on Tuesday, the Bucks limited the Pistons to just 90 points, keyed by a second quarter in which Detroit managed just 14 points to Milwaukee’s 33.

That quarter was a turning point for the Bucks, who trailed after one, and allowed them to take a 10-point lead into halftime. They cruised from there as Luc chipped in two points, four rebounds and three assists.

Tuesday’s win over the Central Division rival Pistons came on the heels of a huge Bucks win Saturday over one of the West’s top seeds, the Golden State Warriors.

Luc nearly tallied a double-double in the 109-102 victory with eight points and nine rebounds to go along with two assists.


The scoring load was carried, however, by former Warrior Monta Ellis and his Bucks backcourt mate Brandon Jennings, who each tallied 20 points.

The 1-2 scoring punch allowed Milwaukee to dominate the third quarter and hold off the three-point onslaught of Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack in the fourth to collect the win.

Those two victories helped away the bitter taste of Friday’s 113-108 loss to Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bucks built a nine-point halftime lead against Cleveland, but Kyrie Irving led the Cavs back with 24 of his 35 points coming in the second half.

Luc scored nine points while grabbing three rebounds and a steal in just 18 minutes on the court in the loss. His frontcourt mate Ersan Ilyasova poured in a season-high 30 points, but it wasn’t enough.

Still the way the Bucks bounced back to beat Golden State the next night and Detroit just days later showed an uncanny resolve that playoff teams must have. Milwaukee has not lost back-to-back games since coach Jim Boylan took the reigns on January 8th.

NEXT UP

The Bucks are back at home on Wednesday night as they host another Central Division foe, the Chicago Bulls.

The game marks the fourth and final meeting this season between the two teams. Milwaukee currently leads the season series two games to one, with both wins coming at the United Center in Chicago. The Bulls won the only meeting in Milwaukee so far this season, and the Bucks will be looking to avoid a repeat of that as they seek to win the season series from Chicago.

Wednesday’s tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CST from the BMO Harris Bradley Center and the game can be seen on FS Milwaukee.

RELATED ARTICLES

Boylan Debuts with Win

A coaching change late Monday night startled the Milwaukee Bucks, but less than 24 hours later they rebounded to snap a four-game losing streak.

One night after coach Scott Skiles and the Bucks mutually agreed to part ways new coach Jim Boylan led the Bucks to a 109-99 win over the Phoenix Suns.


The response to new coach Jim Boylan was solid in his first game (Gary Porter/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

The victory stopped Milwaukee’s four-game skid, which spanned a week and a half. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute said told reporters Tuesday that though the move surprised him, he could also see the writing on the wall indicating that a change might be coming.

« I was shocked obviously, » he said. « But I had an idea the team wasn’t really happy with the way everything was going. Not this year but over the last couple years with Skiles. Every time there are frustrations and you add the four-game losing streak we were riding, you never know what can happen. »

No. 12 said that he will always have fond memories of Skiles, his first ever coach but knows from his experience as a restricted free agent last offseason that basketball is a business that can sometimes be cruel.

« It was a great experience learning under him. He gave me an opportunity and was my first coach so I’ll always remember that, » Luc said. « The business we’re in you can be here in Milwaukee one day or in L.A. the next, or whatever. Same with the coach. He can be coach one day and not coaching the next. »

The Bucks’ on-court response to the change was strong. After a tough first that saw Milwaukee allow Phoenix to score 33 points on nearly 64 percent shooting, they limited the Suns to just 66 points on less than 34 percent shooting. Luc did strong work on forward Jared Dudley, who went just 4-of-11 from the field over the final three quarters.


No. 12 scored 11 points in 25 minutes on Tuesday and his role is not expected to change (Getty Images).

Luc’s role didn’t change much with the new coach. He started his 13th straight game, though this one came at small forward, scored 11 points and added four rebounds in 25 minutes in the win. His best work came in the second half when he scored seven points on 3-of-5 including his fourth three-pointer of the year. Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball believes not much will differ for the Prince with Boylan in the head role.

« He’ll be getting more and more time at the small forward slot according to Boylan, due to the number of bigs on the roster, but his game doesn’t change much. He did hit a three, which is always fun to see. Depending on the lineups he’s out there with, he may have to be on the perimeter a bit more, but it won’t be drastic so long as he’s out there with a more perimeter oriented Ilyasova.

Luc noted that the Bucks have some experience under Boylan, who coached the team previously when Skiles fell ill or was ejected from a game.

« The team responded pretty well to him. He knows the team and he knows what the city wants, what the guys want. Sometimes it’s good for an assistant coach to come up because the players are more comfortable with the assistant. He understands some of the struggles the players are going through, from an assistant’s perspective. Now he’s the head coach. It’s a good change for the team. Now it’s up to the players to make the best of it. »

NEXT UP

The Bucks (17-16) complete a back-to-back on Wednesday night in Chicago, where they’ll play a Central Division showdown with the Bulls (19-13).

The Bucks split a pair of games against the Bulls back in November, but the one they won was in Chicago, a 93-92 win on November 26th. Luc missed both games while still recovering from his knee injury.

Wednesday’s tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED STORIES

Changing Lives with UNICEF

This offseason Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and a group of several other NBA players and ambassadors visited Africa as for a UNICEF mission.

As part of that mission, the group toured the Turkana district of northern Kenya and got the chance to vaccinate children for polio. UNICEF recently released a look inside their trip.

For more information on the polio vaccination effort and all UNICEF’s programs, visit UNICEF.org.

Bucks Drop Weekend Pair

After two more double-digit defeats over the weekend, the Milwaukee Bucks are officially scuffling and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute believes that turning it around is a matter of regaining their composure.


After taking an early lead against the Rockets, Luc and the Bucks couldn’t hold on to win (Getty Images).

The Bucks lost a weekend home-to-road back-to-back on Friday and Saturday by failing to sync up their effort on both sides of the court. First it was the defense that faltered as the Bucks dropped a shootout to the Houston Rockets 115-101 on Friday at the Bradley Center. Then on Saturday it was the Milwaukee offense that deserted them in a 95-80 loss to the Pacers in Indiana.

Luc said that the uneven efforts made impossible to gauge just where the Bucks are struggling most, though he noted that issues on one side of the court could lead to some on the other.

« I think it’s both ends for us, » Luc told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. « It puts a lot of pressure on our defense when the offense is not going well, turning the ball over. We’ve got to execute better. We’ve got to find a way to get easier points. Sometimes that helps when you play good defense because you’re able to get out in transition. »

One change Bucks coach Scott Skiles made over the weekend to try and get things jump-start was to start look at small forward, instead of power forward where he had been the starter for much of the last month. Ekpe Udoh got the start at power forward with Marquis Daniels moving to the second unit.

« It allows me to get Luc on (James) Harden, » Skiles told the Journal-Sentinel in his pre-game remarks. « And also with Beno coming back and maybe not being 100%, we may need Marquis a little more in the backcourt. »

Luc responded by limiting Harden to 13 points on 12 shots in the first half as the Bucks raced out to a lead of as much as 18. Luc added six points and a pair of rebounds in the first half as Milwaukee settled into a 58-47 advantage at the break.

But Houston came out on fire in the third, pouring in 30 points while holding the Bucks to just 14 on 4-of-20 from the field. Luc played just two-and-a-half minutes and Houston outscored Milwaukee 38-29 in the final quarter to pull away. Harden had 16 of his 29 points in the second half, many with Luc off the floor.

One night later in Indiana, Luc had a tough night, scoring just three points on 1-of-6 from the field with a rebound. He afterward that while his defensive role doesn’t change much with the position change, he is forced to adjust offensively, which can take some time.

« Mainly offensively because you get the ball in a different situation, » he said. « I’ve played both positions and every time it takes me a little while to adjust. »

But Luc wasn’t the only one to struggle offensively in Indiana. Guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined for 33 of the team’s 80 points, but needed a combined 34 shots to get them.


Luc had to get used to playing the three again this weekend and his offense took a hit (Getty Images).

As a group the Bucks shot under 38 percent in the loss with just 18 assists to 13 turnovers. Those offensive struggles kept them from taking advantage on a night that the defense got back on track. No. 12 believes they need to have a better collective effort to snap out of their funk.

« We have to do more collectively, not individually, » he said. « Our team defense has to be much better and we have to play better offensively, too. We’ve got to execute better, run stuff that works and get back to moving the ball and making guys pay. »

NEXT UP

The next opportunity for the Bucks to step up their collective effort doesn’t come until Tuesday when they host the Phoenix Suns at the Bradley Center.

Tip-off of that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and the game can be seen on FSN Milwaukee.

RELATED ARTICLES

Luc Breaks Out to Beat The Heat

When the competition gets tough, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute always seems always to find another gear.

Luc did it again on Saturday night combining an outstanding defensive effort with 19 points on 8-of-15 from the field and seven rebounds. He also had a pair of blocked shots, an assist and a steal. He did his best work in the fourth, helping the Bucks outscore the Heat 35-14 to secure a 104-85 win. In his post-game wrap-up, Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball gave the Prince an A+ for his performance.

The Bucks have now defeated the Heat in four of the last six meetings between the two teams. Luc was afterward if Milwaukee has Miami’s number. Luc wouldn’t go far, but did admit that the Bucks’ success against the Heat is no fluke.

« We match up well against them, » Luc said. « We play them tough. »


Luc took on the challenge of guarding the NBA’s best player and refused to let him take over (Getty Images).

For Luc the match-up was with Miami superstar LeBron James. James managed to scored 26 points, but took 20 shots to get to that number. No. 12 called it a fun matchup and though he noted that it’s impossible to stop the Miami forward completely, he thought he and his teammates did a good job.

« Just not let him get anything easy, » Luc said of the plan for defending James. « LeBron is a fun guy to play against. He’s the best player in the league right now. Every time you go against guys like that, you just try to make it tough for them. I did that and it seemed like sometimes even when I was beat, I had somebody to help me. It was a whole team defense. »

Coach Scott Skiles agree that the Heat were able to play well enough defensively to prevent James from taking over and single-handedly handing them a loss.

« I thought we did a good job on LeBron, » Skiles said. « The guy’s that good. Luc, in particular, in one-on-one situations didn’t give any ground, contested his shots. »


LeBron turned the ball over six times and Miami gave it away 23 times as a team (Getty Images).

A key to the team’s defensive success all night was forcing turnovers. The Heat had 23 as a team and LeBron finished with an uncharacteristic six giveaways all by himself. Those turnovers led Milwaukee to 21 fast break points.

« That’s big for us, » Luc said of forcing turnovers. « That helps us get out in transition and make some plays. »

It started in the first when the Bucks forced Miami into seven turnovers and the Heat shot just 38 percent from the field as Milwaukee jumped out to a lead of as much as nine. The Bucks pushed that lead in the second thanks to a more effective offense, but Dwyane Wade poured in nine second quarter points to keep the Heat afloat.

« Those guys are very good scorers, » Luc said of LeBron and Wade. « Sometimes it seems like whatever you try, they find a way to get their points. We try to limit everybody else. I thought we did well on Chris Bosh tonight. When he’s playing well too, it’s tough. »

Bosh finished with just 12 points on 5-of-14 from the field but did grab 16 rebounds.


In addition to his stout defense, Luc gave the Bucks 19 points including seven in the fourth (Getty Images).

By limiting the Big Three and furthermore silencing the rest of Miami’s offense, the Bucks held a 56-44 lead at halftime. But Miami mounted a comeback in third, outscoring Milwaukee 27-14 to take the lead. James was red-hot in the frame, scoring 14 points on 5-of-6 from the field after he got Luc into some foul trouble. No. 12 noted after the game that the Bucks were aware Miami would make a run, it was just a matter of hanging in.

« Playing the defending champs, every time they make a run you have to be worried. We were playing well. We though in the second half we came out a little flat and they’re a good team, they came out in the second half and hit us first. We kind of took the blow and stood up, came back and made a run at the beginning of the fourth quarter. »

Milwaukee opened the fourth on a 9-0 run to turn a two-point deficit into a seven-point lead. Luc was in the middle of it with a big jumper that put the Bucks in front 76-71. That mini run was just the beginning for the Bucks. By the six-minute mark they were up by 12 and less than a minute later they had their largest lead of the game at 19. The Prince had seven points, three rebounds, two blocks and an assist as part of the big fourth quarter rally.

The large lead allowed coach Scott Skiles to get his starters some rest as the Bucks cruised to victory.

BACK-TO-BACK SETBACKS

The momentum from the win over the Heat didn’t last long as the Bucks fell 96-94 to the Pistons in the second half of a back-to-back on Sunday night.

Luc grabbed five rebounds and scored a pair of points and a block in 21 minutes. He had nine more rebounds on Wednesday night against San Antonio to go along with four points in 19 minutes, but the Bucks lost their second straight, 117-110 at the hands of the Spurs.

NEXT UP

Milwaukee is back in action on Friday night at the Bradley Center where they host the red-hot Houston Rockets.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST and the game can be seen on FSN Milwaukee.

RELATED STORIES