Monthly Archives: mars 2013

Luc Returns in Bucks Loss

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute made his return to the Milwaukee lineup on Wednesday night after an eight-game absence with a toe injury, but his arrival was not enough to snap a Bucks losing streak.

Luc played 13 minutes off the bench and hit all three of the shots he took for seven points. He also grabbed three rebounds, but the Bucks dropped their fourth straight game, 100-93 at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Despite the loss, the Bucks remain 6.5 games ahead of Philadelphia for the East’s final playoff spot with just 12 games to play. But Luc believes the Bucks can’t rest on that lead and must work hard to finish the job and clinch their spot.

« It’s good people are talking about playoffs, but I hate to see people talking about it like we already made it, » Mbah a Moute said. « That can come back and haunt us. We have to have the mind-set that we’ve got to clinch. We’ve got to strive to play our best during these next two or three weeks and hopefully we’re playing our best walking into the playoffs. »

Getting Luc back in the lineup can only help. He practiced on Monday for the first time since injuring his toe in a win over the Sacramento Kings on March 10th. LRMAM missed the next eight games and the Bucks went 2-6.

He returned to practice on Monday in an effort to get ready for Wednesday’s game.

« It’s still painful and stuff like that, but it’s definitely getting better, » he said at the time. « I’m still having a lot of pain with cutting and pushing off really hard, accelerating. I’d like to come back and play. It just depends on how this thing heals. The way it’s going, I’m pretty optimistic. I’ll see tomorrow again in practice. »

No. 12 practiced again on Tuesday and reported that he was feeling good enough to play on Wednesday night against the Sixers.

« If I’m able to run and push off with it, [have] limited pain, » he said. « If I can do it, I’m going to see if I can suit up and play. »

But Bucks coach Jim Boylan knew Luc would have some rust after missing more than two weeks, so rather than inserting him right back into the lineup, he decided to bring LRMAM off the bench.

« Luc hasn’t played in a while, » Boylan said. « We’ll ease him back in. I don’t just want to throw him out there as a starter and he’s not physically ready or whatever. We’ll stick him out there and see how he looks and see how comfortable he is. We’ll just take it from there. »

Luc made the most of his limited minutes though. He entered with under six minutes left in the first half and the Bucks trailing by 17, but immediately helped the Bucks cut into that lead with a rebound that led to a trey by Ersan Ilyasova to cut the deficit to 13.


Luc made the most of his minutes Wednesday with 7 points on 3-of-3 & his usual solid defense (Getty Images).

Later in the quarter, Luc cut the Philly lead to eight with a putback off a Monta Ellis miss and after a Sixers turnover, Ellis found Luc beyond the arc, where No. 12 buried a trey to pull the Bucks within five, 47-42 with under three minutes to go in the half. At halftime, Milwaukee trailed by just six.

The Bucks had taken a two-point lead by the time Luc re-entered the game with 1:27 left to go in the third and his dunk less than a minute later pushed their lead to five. They entered the fourth with a two-point lead, but managed just 14 points in the final 12 minutes as Philadelphia took the lead back and pushed to victory.

Luc stressed afterward that the Bucks need to figure some things out and get back to what got them such a big lead if they hope to clinch a playoff spot and enter the postseason with some positive momentum.

« We’ve got to go out in these games and try to get better as a team, » he said. « Win as many games as we can. But we’ve got to play better. And that’s going to translate into wins for us and give us some good momentum going into the playoffs. »

NEXT UP

The Bucks are right back at it on Thursday night as they host the Los Angeles Lakers at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. CDT and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.

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Turf Toe Sidelines Luc

The Milwaukee Bucks snapped a three-game losing streak on Sunday, but had to do so without the services of forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.


Luc has missed the last four games with a toe injury and the Bucks are 1-3 in that span (Getty Images).

Luc missed his fourth straight game on Sunday with an injury that is being described as turf toe. He first suffered the injury in the first quarter of last Sunday’s 115-113 win over the Sacramento Kings, after getting off to a good start with four points in the first six-and-a-half minutes. He returned in the third quarter and played eight minutes in the second half, but has not played since.

With Luc out over the last week, the Bucks had lost three straight heading into Sunday’s showdown with the Magic at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Early on, it looked like Orlando would make it four losses in-a-row for Milwaukee, as the Magic established a nine-point lead in the first quarter and pushed it to 13 before settling in with a 10-point halftime edge.

Orlando extended that lead back up to 13 in the third and seemed to have the game in hand, with an 11-point lead going into the fourth and the Bucks struggling offensively, shooting at just a 37 percent clip through the first three quarters.

But everything turned for Milwaukee in the fourth, led by guard Monta Ellis, who poured in 25 points in the final frame. Ellis made 8-of-10 shots, including all five from long distance, as he carried the Bucks out to the lead. The Magic had no counter and the Bucks pulled away for a 115-109 win.

The victory pushed the Bucks back over .500 after losses to Dallas, Washington and Miami had knocked them down to 32-32. Still, with just 17 games left in the regular season they hold a firm eight-game advantage over the Toronto Raptors for the final playoff spot in the East.

NEXT UP

Milwaukee (33-32) wraps up its three-game homestand on Tuesday night when they host to Portland Trail Blazers (31-35) at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Luc’s status for Tuesday’s game is unknown. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST and the game can be seen on FS Wisconsin.

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Bucks Finish Trip Strong

The Milwaukee Bucks bounced back from a tough loss in Los Angeles on Wednesday to finish their west coast road trip with back-to-back wins over two of California’s other teams.

On Saturday night, the Bucks went into Oakland and picked up an impressive win over the playoff bound Golden State Warriors. They followed that up with a win on Sunday over the Sacramento Kings to push their record back three games over. 500.

The pair of victories showed some resilience from the Bucks after they dropped their trip opener, a 117-101 drubbing at the hands of the Clippers. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had six points, two rebounds and a pair of steals in the loss, but had a rare off night defensively against LA’s Blake Griffin, who tallied a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

After being overrun by Griffin and the Clippers, the Bucks headed north for a battle with another tough West team. But this one was more evenly matched.

Milwaukee and Golden State went shot-for-shot in the first half and the Warriors took just a one-point lead into the locker room at the intermission. However, the Bucks pulled away in the second half as Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, J.J. Redick and Mike Dunleavy combined for 9-for-17 from three-point range.

« We were doing it on both ends, » Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. « Guys were really active defensively, chasing down loose balls, diving on the floor, those hustle plays that really make a difference to your team. And then offensively I thought our execution was good. »

Luc contributed seven points with six rebounds and two assists while grabbing three steals in the 103-93 Bucks win.

« I think we played well defensively and that’s what really helped us, » Luc said. « And guys made shots. Brandon and Monta shot the ball well. »

The Bucks finished off their trip with a trek from the Bay Area to the California capital of Sacramento for the second night of a back-to-back against the Kings. Though Milwaukee was weary, they survived a late offensive onslaught from Sacramento to escape with a 115-113 victory in a wire-to-wire thriller.

Playing without Ersan Ilyasova, JJ Redick or shot-blocking machine Larry Sanders, the Bucks still managed to build up a 15-point lead with four minutes left to play. The Bucks bench combined for 43 points and 19 rebounds on the night.

« It shows a lot about the strength of the team, the depth, » Luc said after the Bucks beat Sacramento short-handed. « A lot of guys stepped up tonight from the bench. »

A foot injury forced Luc to sit out part of the first half, but he was able to return after the intermission and finished with seven points and two rebounds.



Luc came back from a foot injury to help the Bucks hold off the Kings in the second half (Getty Images).

Jimmer Fredette led the Kings on a comeback that made things interesting as Sacramento cut Milwaukee’s lead to just one multiple times in the final 30 seconds on a pair of Tyreke Evans lay-up. But Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis each answered with a pair of free throws to preserve the lead. Afterward, Ellis praised the Bucks’ reserve crew for spotting the starters a lead that alowed them to survive the Kings’ run.

« Our bench did a great job for us, » Ellis said after Sunday’s win. « Every team is going to make runs and they made one at the end. But we held them off. It was an ugly win, but we’ll take it. »

Sunday’s victory allowed the Bucks to finish a road trip that started on a bad note 2-1. It was also Milwaukee’s sixth win in their last seven games as they push on toward a highly likely spot in the playoffs.

At 32-29 on the season, the Bucks are 8.5 games ahead of the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference playoff race with 21 games left to play. Milwaukee currently sits as the eight seed in the East, but they’re just 1.5 games behind the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks, who are tied for sixth, and two games behind the currently fifth seeded Chicago Bulls.

« We’re just going to keep playing, » Boylan said of the Bucks’ positioning in the playoff picture. « You look at the standings and there’s plenty of games left to be played. There’s opportunity for us to move up and we’re going to try to seize every moment that we can.”

NEXT UP

Milwaukee’s next opportunity to do so comes at home on Tuesday night when they host the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks are one of three sub .500 teams Milwaukee plays over its next four games. They also play the Miami Heat in that span and Boylan expects his team to go out and compete with each foe like their spot in the postseason is on the line.

« Our main goal is to just get there [to the playoffs] and be playing as well as we can at the end of the season, » the Bucks coach said. « Wherever we are, we’re going to show up and play. Whoever that team is, we’re going to get out there and compete against them. »

Tip-off of Tuesday’s game against Dallas is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST and you can catch all the action on Fox Sports Wisconsin.

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Bucks Working Overtime

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to put distance between themselves and Philadelphia 76ers in the race for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and suddenly, they’re closing in on a higher spot.

They’ve just needed a little extra time to do it.

The Bucks won their fourth straight game on Monday night, surviving another overtime thriller with a 109-108 victory over the Utah Jazz. The win came on the heels of an overtime triumph on Saturday, a 122-114 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute chipped 10 points, five rebounds and a steal, while playing 24 minutes in Saturday’s win. On Monday he added seven points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

The pair of hard-fought extra time wins pushed Milwaukee two games over .500 and seven up on the Sixers for the East’s final playoff spot. Now the Bucks sit just a game behind Boston for the seven seed.


The arrival of guard J.J. Redick has sparked Milwaukee to a 4-1 record in their last five games (Getty Images).

They’re now 4-1 since the arrival of guard J.J. Redick in a trade from the Orlando Magic, with their only loss over that span a one-point defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks in Redick’s debut. But none of the four wins since have been decided until the final minutes either.

« We’re winning close games right now. It’s tough to do in this league, » Redick said. « This team has proven we can win close games and hopefully that will continue. »

Of the four wins, over the course of the current winning streak, two have come against teams currently in the playoff hunt with the other two against sub .500 teams Toronto and Dallas. Luc noted recently that the Bucks must be just as motivated to win those games as they are when they play division rivals.

« It’s for everybody. It’s not just for teams above us, » Luc  said about the team maintaining a high energy level. « You’ve got to play with a sense of urgency whether you play the Magic’s or the Bobcats or you’re playing the Heat. It’s still the NBA. Any team can beat you, so for us, our team, I think when we play with a sense of urgency and we play harder than the other team, you usually give yourself a good chance to win the game. »

That wasn’t the case in Saturday’s win over the Raptors, a team that sits several games behind the Bucks and had lost three straight coming in. Toronto jumped all over the Bucks in the first and went on to score 32 points. They took a lead of 11 points early in the second.

But the Bucks responded with a great offensive attack before the half, shooting 72.2 percent from the field and 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the second. Milwaukee then dominated the third quarter defensively, forcing four turnovers and blocking two shots while outrebounding the Raptors 14-8 and holding Toronto to 35 percent shooting for the quarter.

However, the Raptors overcame an eight-point deficit in the fourth, capped off by an Alan Anderson dunk in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime. In the extra frame, the Bucks outrebounded the Raptors 8-2 and shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe to shut the door on Toronto.

But the key to game was ball movement. Brandon Jennings (11 points) set a new career high with 19 assists. Jennings was joined in double-double performances on the night by forward Ersan Ilyasova, who led all scorers with 29 points and 11 rebounds and center Larry Sanders (13 points, 12 rebounds, five blocked shots).

« We had some good ball movement, » Bucks head coach Jim Boylan said. « The team is playing well together right now. The team is sharing the ball with each other and staying active. The bigs are finding openings. Our guys were delivering the ball to them tonight. It’s a good thing to see. It’s another stage in our development as a team. »

The Bucks continued that development on Monday against a much better team in the Utah Jazz. The teams played relatively even in the first half, as, while the Bucks never managed to grab the lead, they kept Utah from ever pushing the lead higher than nine points.

Thanks to that resilient effort, the Bucks trailed by just three at halftime and they took the game over in the third thanks to stout defense. Milwaukee held Utah to just 17 points on 36.4 percent shooting from the field and forced five turnovers in the third. Luc played all but 2:48 of the third and helped set the tone defensively.


Luc helped the Bucks lock down Utah’s shooters like Gordon Hayward in the 3rd quarter Monday (Getty Images).

Meanwhile, on the offensive end, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis combined to make 10-of-13 shots in the quarter for 24 points. The Bucks tallied 30 points as a team in the third to establish a 10-point lead entering the fourth.

« I know that Oklahoma City puts up some combo numbers, as does Miami, but that was a hell of a backcourt duo putting on quite a show, » Boylan said. « There was a point I was like, ‘This must be a great game to watch if you’re sitting in the stands.’ They were making plays; we were making plays. »

Still Utah showed some resilience of their own and dominated the fourth thanks mostly to the play of their bench. Utah’s reserve crew of Alec Burks, Enes Kanter, Gordon Heyward and Demarre Carroll teamed with Paul Milsap to outscore the Bucks 34-24 in the fourth.

After rallying all the way back, the Jazz took a three-point lead on a Burks layup with 2:10 to go. Ellis tied it with a trey and later answered a Milsap jumper with one of his own to once again knot the game. After a Kanter jumper pushed Utah ahead and Ellis followed with a miss, Milsap went to the line with a chance to make it a four-point game with 14 seconds left. But he missed one of two and Jennings buried a trey with six seconds left to send the game to overtime.

The extra session was hotly contested as well, featuring five lead changes. The last came when Redick buried a triple with 47 seconds left to put the Bucks in front by two. Carroll split a trip to the line and Ellis hit a jumper with 14.7 remaining to push Milwaukee’s lead to three.

In the final seconds the Jazz missed a layup and two treys before finally Kanter finally put it in with 1.6 seconds to go, but all the Bucks needed to do was get the ball in and they did to seal the win.

NEXT UP

After winning two straight at home, the Bucks head back out on the road for a three-game trip out west that begins on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

It’s the second meeting of the season between the two teams and Milwaukee will be seeking a little revenge from a 111-85 drubbing at the hands of the Clippers on December 15th at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Luc had 11 points and six rebounds in that loss and he’ll be tasked Wednesday with defending high-flying Clippers forward Blake Griffin.

The game tips off from the Staples Center in Los Angeles shortly after 9:30 p.m. CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

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