Always Up For a Challenge

The Milwaukee Bucks face some of the NBA’s toughest challenges over the next week, so Luc Richard Mbah a Moute knew he’d have to be ready for anything.

That’s why not even a concussion, sustained Saturday night against the Dallas Mavericks, could keep Luc away from his challenge on Tuesday night.

Luc Richard drew LeBron James once again Tuesday as the Bucks played the Miami Heat for the second time this season, but No. 12 told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was ready for the challenge:

« LeBron is a really good player, arguably the best right now. When he’s hitting his shots he’s tough to guard, » Luc said. « He’s so physical, some people back off and make him hit shots. What I usually do is try to be physical with him, try to take him out of his rhythm. You can’t let a player get comfortable and start hitting shots. Even if he goes by you a couple times, you’ve got to hit him, rely on other people to help. Don’t give him the same look and try to make it tough on him. »

Luc showed no lingering effects from his concussion against the Heat, playing a game-high 42 minutes. No. 12 held James, who was red hot coming off a 38-point game, to 25 points on 15 shots and allowed the versatile Miami forward to grab just six rebounds.

Offensively, Luc Richard hit on seven of his 10 free throws, right in line with his career free throw average and finished with nine points while outrebounding James 7-6. Luc and the Bucks led 51-47 at the half, but couldn’t pull off the upset of the surging Heat, falling 101-89 to a Miami team that has now won their last seven and 19 of 20.

In the effort, the Prince posted one of the best point differentials on the Bucks (-5) and during the lone six-minute stretch Luc was not on the court, the Bucks were outscored by seven points.

No. 12 also brought with him an energy that was and is always key for Milwaukee according to Frank Madden of Brew Hoop:

« As usual, it was all about energy. Luc Mbah a Moute drove with intent on consecutive possessions, failing to finish, but getting to the stripe–which improbably became a theme of the period. After the Bucks failed to get a single free throw attempt in the first quarter, Mbah a Moute had eight of the Bucks’ 20 attempts in the second. Good old fashioned aggression was part of it, but the refs also weren’t letting the Heat get away with much on the perimeter–imagine that. »

Luc’s all-out 42-minute effort came just three nights after a collision in Dallas limited his playing time to just 12 minutes.

Luc Richard suffered a mild concussion Saturday night after colliding with Dallas center Ian Mahinmi. After the collision, Luc didn’t return to the game citing a bad headache, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« I got hit in the head. Mahinmi had a cut so I figured we hit heads, » he said. « I went to the locker room and wasn’t feeling well, had a bad headache. »

Luckily for the Bucks, No. 12 had no setbacks when he woke up on Sunday and played as many minutes as they’d allow him in Tuesday’s matchup. But Milwaukee doctors will continue to monitor the forward to make sure there are no lingering effects.

« I’m still watching it., » Luc Richard said. « Concussions, you’ve got to be very careful. »

Luc scored two points and grabbed three rebounds in his 12 minutes and the Bucks held down the fort without him to beat the Mavericks 99-87. Dallas dropped to 26-8 with the loss and two of those defeats have come at the hands of the Bucks.

At 13-19, the Bucks sit eighth in the Eastern Conference. Tonight they’ll get another chance to see how they matchup against one of the conference’s premier teams when they head up to Orlando to take on the Magic.

One month ago, the Bucks beat the Magic by 11 in Milwaukee. But two trades later, Orlando is a different team than Milwaukee defeated on December 4th and Wednesday’s matchup will be a big challenge for the deer.

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.