Monthly Archives: avril 2013

LeBron Presents Challenge for Luc in Playoff Series with Miami

The Milwaukee Bucks have been ticketed for the postseason for weeks, but they picked up an important final win on Wednesday to propel them into the postseason on a good note.

Milwaukee defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the final game of the regular season to avoid going into the postseason on a six-game losing streak.

But losing seven of their last 10 games to finish the season at 38-44 has done the Bucks no favors as they draw the defending champion Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Miami enters the postseason with the best record in the NBA (66-16).


Luc will be an important piece to the series against the Heat for the Bucks (Getty Images).

One of the keys to the matchup will be the health of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and how well he fares defensively against the man he will be tasked with guarding for much of this round, Heat star LeBron James.

« We need Luc for obvious reasons, » Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. « Luc has had a tough year. So to think he’s going to suddenly in a couple days come back to what he was, is unrealistic. But that being said, he’s still capable of being a factor defensively against a variety of players. To have him back feeling good is a key for us. »

Luc’s season was hampered by injuries as he fought back from off-season knee surgery, which forced him to miss the first 14 games of the season. He missed another eight games in March due to turf toe. Now he must prepare for the toughest challenge any team is going to see in the first round of the Playoffs while battle illness.

« The last couple days I’ve been really under the weather, » Luc said. « I don’t know where it’s coming from. I saw the team doctor on Monday and he said it was a virus. He gave me some medicine for my sinus and all that stuff. »

Luc said that being as healthy as he can be will be half the battle when the Bucks tip-off against the Heat for the first game of the series on Sunday evening.

« He’s had a long, hard year. That knee injury, the surgery (in the) off-season. Sometimes that particular injury takes you a long time to fully recover from,” Boylan noted. “You certainly get well enough to play. But with that injury it takes a bit of time. »

James comes into the playoffs as the fourth leading scorer in the NBA this season with 26.8 points per game. He also posted the league’s fifth best shooting percentage for the season at 56.5 percent. The Miami star has been remarkably consistent against the Bucks this year, posting 2 double-doubles against Milwaukee in the four meetings between the two teams.

He averaged 27.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists in those four games, while shooting above 50 percent from the field in any of those games. The Heat won three of the four meetings.

Luc has had success in slowing LeBron down in previous seasons, most notably around the rim. James has a 20 percent lower shooting percentage in the restricted area of the paint when he facing off against Luc (52.1 percent). Against other defenders in that area of the court, he averages 72.7 percent. LeBron also commits 25 percent more turnovers when he shares the court with Luc.

Despite Luc’s past success against James, he and the Bucks realize that Miami’s Big Three are going to be tough to defend. The last time Milwaukee faced the Heat with James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh all on the court together, LeBron and Bosh each scored 28 points while Wade scored 20 and dished out nines assists on the way to a 13-point Miami victory.

« By the process of elimination you can conclude that Monta (Ellis) is going to be guarding Dwyane Wade, » Boylan said of lining up his defense against Miami. « It’s a challenge. These guys are really good. They’re world champions. Dwyane Wade has won multiple NBA championships. LeBron is going to win multiple NBA championships before it’s all over. Let’s not forget Chris Bosh and Ray Allen and all the other guys, too. Shane Battier. They present a large, large number of problems. »

The one game this season where the Bucks were able to beat the Heat on December 29th, they were able to coax poor shots from Bosh (5-for-14) and Allen (1-for-6). Taking away James and Wade and forcing the other members of Miami to beat them could be a key to success for Milwaukee. However, Luc knows it won’t be easy, particularly in the playoffs.

« It’s the playoffs, and everything is higher, » Luc said. « They’re going to come out ready to play and try to impose their will on us. So we’ve just got to compete. »


Though the Heat are favored in the series, Milwaukee is confident in its approach to the series (Getty Images).

Miami has advanced to the NBA Finals each of the past two seasons including a NBA championship last year. In the process, the Heat have won their first round match-up in just 5 games. This is the first postseason for the Bucks in three years and much of the roster has limited if any playoff experience. The only time they made the postseason in Luc’s career, they were ousted by Atlanta in a seven-game battle in 2010.

But Luc said that’s no reason to throw in the towel. He used an example from his favorite sport to watch to illustrate his point.

« We’ve seen Barcelona lose, » Luc said when asked about the Bucks’ chances of upsetting Miami. « Even the great Barcelona lost against (AC) Milan, so you never know, you never know. »

The Bucks and the Heat tip-off their first round of the 2013 playoff series on Sunday in Miami at 6 p.m CDT and the game can be seen on TNT.

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Bucks Clinch Playoff Spot

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks are headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.


Luc scored 10 points & grabbed 7 rebounds as the Bucks beat the Raptors to clinch a playoff spot (Getty Images).

The Bucks punched their postseason ticket on Saturday with a 100-83 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Milwaukee amid chants of « Fear the Deer » from the Milwaukee faithful.

Luc posted his best game since returning to the lineup following a bout with illness and a foot injury. He contributed his first double-digit scoring effort since March 2nd with 10 points with seven rebounds, an assist and a steal.

« I thought he looked more comfortable, moving around pretty good, » Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. « I had a chance to play him some pretty good minutes. »

After a loss to the Knicks on Friday night in which the Bucks let a double-digit lead slip away en route to a 101-83 loss, Milwaukee methodically built up an insurmountable lead against Toronto the next evening.

To do so, the Bucks shot 50.9 percent from the floor for the first three quarters compared to a weak 34.3 percent shooting effort from Toronto.

It started with a strong first quarter for the Bucks as they built up a double-digit lead, outscoring their opponent 26-16 in the opening frame. Luc pitched in at the end of the quarter with two-and-a-half outstanding minutes.

He grabbed two boards and used the second one to produce a shot for J.J. Redick that put the Bucks up 24-14 with 54.8 ticks remaining in the first. After Luc entered the game, the Raptors managed just two points to finish the first and those came at the free throw line.

Things escalated for the Bucks in the second and Luc became a major part of the offense early in the frame. Just over two minutes into the quarter, No. 12 exposed a gaping hole in the Toronto defense and galloped through the lane for a dunk that put Milwaukee back in front by 10.


Two minutes later, Luc was again open in the lane, where Monta Ellis fed him the ball for a layup that extended the Bucks lead to 15, 40-25.


The Bucks’ lead ballooned as high as 24 points in the second and they took a 19-point edge into halftime. But unlike Friday night, when Milwaukee led a nine-point halftime lead over the Knicks slip away by allowing 42 points in the third, the Bucks bucked down in the third against Toronto.

The Raptors managed just 13 points in the penultimate quarter on 27.8 percent from the field. Milwaukee didn’t shoot much better, but did a great job of getting to the line 10 times in the third and 23 times through the first thre quarters compared to just 10 shots from the charity stripe for the Raptors.

This advantage at the line, allong with the lead they’d built early allowed the Bucks to take a 25-point lead into the fourth quarter and coast to a victory while resting starters Brandon Jennings, Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and Marquis Daniels for the entire final period.

Luc was solid in relief work in the fourth, tallying five points and four rebounds in 8:40 as he and his fellow reserves helped the Bucks put the game away and clinch their first trip to the postseason since 2010, Luc’s second year in the league.

« It’s what we’ve been working for all year, » Sanders said of clinching the playoff spot that has eluded the Bucks the past two seasons. « It was one of our main goals at the beginning of the season. To finally accomplish that is great. Now we just focus on trying to play better, trying to gain momentum as we go into the playoffs. »

At 37-39, the Bucks are currently the eighth seeded team in the Eastern Conference, 3.5 games behind the seventh seeded Boston Celtics with six games left to play.

« We’re going to do everything we can to try and move up because we just want to keep winning games and end the season on a positive note, » Boylan said. « Whoever we end up playing, we end up playing. Whoever we play against, we’re going to go in and compete and play hard. It would be Miami, New York, Indiana and those are really good teams. »

NEXT UP

Unless the Bucks are able to surpass the Celtics, they will face off against the conference leading Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

That makes Tuesday’s matchup between the two teams a very likely playoff preview. The Bucks are 1-2 against the Heat this season. Luc has played in just one of those previous three games. He scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds and the Bucks were +19 with him on the floor in 104-85 victory over the Heat on December 29th.

Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT and the game can be seen on  FS Wisconsin.

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