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The Big Apple Challenge

The eyes of the City of New York locked on newest Knick Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday night. So did Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Luc and the Bucks were inside Madison Square Garden Wednesday taking on the Knicks, who had just a day earlier pulled off a trade for the All-Star, Anthony. It was an electric atmosphere to say the least:

« That’s what you play basketball for, to play in this type of atmosphere, » Luc said.

It was also the second meeting between Luc Richard and the former Denver Nugget in two weeks. No. 12 was looking forward to the meeting from the moment he heard about the trade.

« It’s tough to play a player of his caliber because he makes a team so much better, » Luc said. « It’s his ability to score, and he does it in different ways. But it’s fun. That’s what we play the game for, to go against the best. Every time you go against the best, it’s an opportunity to show you can compete. »

Luc often talks about how scorers are going to get their points, but the objective is to make it as tough as possible for them to do it. No. 12 did just that to Anthony on Wednesday, forcing the new Knick to take 25 shots to score 27 points (10-of 25).

But while the Prince appeared to win the battle with Melo, his Bucks couldn’t claim the war. Anthony’s 40 percent from the field, combined with huge contributions from his teammates, were just enough for the Knicks as they edged the Bucks, 114-108.

« If before the game, you tell me Carmelo is going to go 10 for 25, I’ll take that, » Bucks coach Skiles said. « We did a respectable job on him. »

But No. 12 noted that once Anthony got it going early, it made the Knicks as a whole hard to contain:

« He got into it early, » Luc said after the game. « When a player like that gets going early, he’s hard to guard and hard to slow down. I tried my best against him and made it tough on him. But still he found ways to get it done. »

Luc got the start, his 30th of the season, on Anthony and used his floor time effectively, playing well on defense while contributing seven points, eight boards, two steals and block.

At the outset of the game, No. 12 drew a charge as he tried to set the tone for the Bucks on defense.  But Anthony’s first points just over two minutes into the game broke a 4-4 tie, and spurred a 16-6 Knicks run to take a 20-10 lead. New York led by nine after one, but the Bucks pulled right back into it in the second with the help of four points and four rebounds from Luc. They trailed by just two at intermission.

Coming out of the locker room, Milwaukee seized the lead as Carlos Delfino hit a three and Andrew Bogut followed with a hook to give the Bucks a 62-59 edge. But the lead was shortlived, and the Knicks went on an 11-2 run to seize control for good.

During that run, Luc pulled down his fifth and sixth offensive rebounds of the game, but Milwaukee couldn’t convert on either.

No. 12 shadowed Anthony for the rest of the game, but the Bucks were undone by the scoring of a plethora of other New York players, including 21 points from Chauncey Billups and 23 from Toney Douglas. In the end it was a team effort from New York:

« We’re not playing against Carmelo; we’re playing against the Knicks, » Luc Richard said. « They’re very good players and they’ve been around the league so long, they know how to play. You can put them out there pretty much on any team and they’ll be effective. And they have a really good coach (Mike D’Antoni) who is probably going to put them in a situation where they are going to be able to succeed. »

NEXT UP
The Bucks return home this weekend, where they’ll play six of their next seven games starting with the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

The Bucks have had most of their success on their home court, and with Luc Richard clinging to Chicago’s big scorers, the game between the Central Division rivals is always interesting.

Tip-off is at 7:30 CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED ARTICLES

Luc At the Break

Throughout the first half of the season, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has not only done everything asked of him, but has shined while doing it.

The third-year pro has, with ease, transitioned from starter to reserve, several times helping an injury-plagued Bucks team at every turn. But it’s not just that he’s been there. Luc has also played well in both capacities. While some players may not be as comfortable with a fluctuating role, Luc Richard has never wavered in his drive.

So far this season, Luc Richard has already accumulated six double-doubles, after compiling just four over the last two years. But the Prince’s offensive capabilities have been just the tip of the iceberg as far as his contribution to the team goes.

While the Bucks are thrilled with Luc’s offensive output, head coach Scott Skiles knows Luc’s biggest asset is his ability to shut down the opposition’s top player with his defense. Defending the best in the league is a night-in, night-out challenge for Luc, and he always meets the task with an unquestionable work-ethic:

« I never let anybody out-tough or out-work me, » Luc said.

Luc has been a shining example of heart and adversity in the NBA as he works to achieve the goals he dreamed of as a youngster halfway across the world in Cameroon. And while the Bucks are searching for their rhythm, a young core of players, including Luc, center Andrew Bogut, and point guard Brandon Jennings, has fans looking forward to the years ahead.

BY THE NUMBERS
Here are a few highlights from Luc’s season to date:
Games missed by Luc Richard this season, the least of any Milwaukee player
Career high in assists for Luc, accomplished February 3rd against Golden State
6  No. of double-doubles this year for Luc  
11 Career high in offensive rebounds pulled down against the Warriors
19 Career high in total rebounds set that same night against Golden State
29 Starts for Luc this season, most of them in a pinch for injured teammates
46.1 Luc’s field goal percentage, third best on the Bucks
47:22 Career high In minutes played against Charlotte. Luc missed just 38 seconds.
286  Total rebounds for Luc Richard this season, fourth on the team
300  Total points for Luc Richard this season
THEY SAID IT
Those around Luc are quick to praise him for his effort, hustle and prowess on the defensive end. They agree he truly is one of the best defenders in the league:

Bucks Coach Scott Skiles:

« Luc has a knack laterally that a lot of people don’t have. If you put him in some sort of lateral race, I doubt he’d win too many of them. But he anticipates; he’s in a stance. That’s why he can guard people at multiple positions. And he’s got enough thickness to his body that he can battle somebody like that. »

Clippers forward Blake Griffin on Luc:

« He’s a great defender.”

Skiles on No. 12’s success against Blake Griffin:

« I doubt anybody is going to guard him any better than that, 1-on-1. That guy is so big and quick, and Luc did a great job on him, no question.

Bucks center Andrew Bogut on Luc’s defense of Kobe Bryant:

« He’s our best perimeter defender. Kobe’s going to score 20 just because of the amount of shots he gets up. We just need Luc to keep contesting every shot and make sure [Bryant] knows he’s there every shot. »

Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings on Luc’s defense of Monta Ellis:

« Luc Mbah a Moute did a good job on Monta Ellis; it’s not easy guarding that guy. I’d put him at the top right now as one of the hardest guys to guard in the NBA. He just goes and he can score at will. »

Coach Scott Skiles on Luc’s stability:

« He comes in with his defensive presence, and he knows everything we’re trying to do. Obviously, we still have some kinks to work out because we have half a new team, but he knows everything we’re trying to do and I thought he really stabilized us tonight. »

AS SEEN BY:
Astute NBA observers point out things like No. 12’s instincts, concentration, awareness and his hard work and dedication to the team and his craft, all making Luc Richard an asset to the Bucks and their fans.

Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball

« Anticipation and instincts were the words of the night when Mbah a Moute’s defense was a topic.  All of the athleticism and studying in the world can make a player a good defender, but sometimes it’s the things we can’t measure that put a player over the edge and turn him into a great defender.  Coach Skiles certainly seems to think that’s the difference for Mbah a Moute. »

Alex Boeder, Brew Hoop

« This is the player. The player who hauls in more than half (4) of your offensive rebounds, the player whose defensive prowess is never quantified statistically (1 steal, 0 blocks), the player who plays 38 minutes without a turnover or missing a shot (he missed only a 40-footer at the first quarter buzzer), the player who defends and frustrates and tugs at the other team’s star player, every team’s star player, even as his own home crowd is cheering for that star player (add Blake Griffin to that list which already includes Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, etc.). This is the player you miss, someday.

Jeramey Jannene, The Bratwurst

« Moute Kicks Boute -Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is the silent assassin on the Bucks. He typically has to defend the best offensive player on the other team, be it Dirk Nowitzki or Kevin Durant. As a reward for his hard work, Mbah a Moute never gets a single play called for him. So how does he post a career average of seven points a game? The offensive glass. Despite being undersized as a starting power forward, Luc Richard yanks down over two offensive rebounds a game. Those rebounds usually go straight back up and result in two points for the good guys. »

Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop on the things that make Luc stand out:

« The defense, we know all about that, but it just doesn’t get old. A big offensive night producing a lot of points is a lot more straightforward, and is easier to understand and see. These ace defensive games from Mbah a Moute? We know his positioning, spacing, concentration, feet, and awareness make it work, but none of it is so obvious to make it routine to watch.”

Zach Harper of ESPN on Luc’s Defensive Player of the Year Credentials:

« LRMAM isn’t the type of guy to get his proper due defensively. However, Luc Richard has been one of the most versatile defenders while guarding just about every position on the floor and helping stop pick-and-roll plays with his quick feet and expansive wingspan. »

IN HIS OWN WORDS:
Luc remains steadfast in his pursuit of NBA achievement. Remembering where he came from drives him to get better on a daily basis. 

« I remained positive and I kept dreaming, » he said. « I knew what I wanted to accomplish which was to get into the NBA and I just kept putting that in front of me and I kept chasing it. My family support also played a big part in it. » – Luc Richard on his road to the NBA.

Luc Locks Down on Blake

Throughout the past three seasons, NBA stars such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Joe Johnson have all gone through fits when playing the Milwaukee Bucks.

The cause is one of the best and most underrated defenders in the NBA: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. On Monday night, Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin was added to the list.

The Bucks defeated the Clippers, 102-78, on Monday at the Bradley Center, and No. 12 provided an impact on both sides of the ball.

After averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in this, his rookie season, last night it was time for Griffin to get the nitty-gritty Luc Richard treatment.

The Bucks had planned to use a variety of looks to combat the high-flying Clipper, but when an injury took starter Ersan Ilyasova out of the game just two minutes in, the Prince was called upon to fill the void.

Griffin still neared his 20 and 10 averages, but in order score his 19 points, Luc and the Bucks forced the rookie to take 19 shots, 12 of which he misfired on.

« He’s a great defender, » Griffin said after the game.

Bucks head coach Scott Skiles was especially impressed with Luc’s defensive performance. For teams around the NBA, Griffin has proven near impossible to stop, but No. 12 did as well, or better than anyone before him, as Skiles told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« I doubt anybody is going to guard him any better than that, 1-on-1, » Skiles said. « That guy is so big and quick, and Luc did a great job on him, no question.

« Luc has a knack laterally that a lot of people don’t have. If you put him in some sort of lateral race, I doubt he’d win too many of them. But he anticipates; he’s in a stance. That’s why he can guard people at multiple positions. And he’s got enough thickness to his body that he can battle somebody like that. »

Luc is used to the seeing big name players when on defense, but his key to success, while simple, always remains the same, as he told the MJS:

« I never let anybody out-tough or out-work me, » said No. 12 after his performance against Griffin, who finished well under his season averages in most categories. « They feed off getting dunks and throwing the ball up and stuff like that. We wanted to keep them out of the paint and make sure they took jump shots. »

Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball said it was Luc’s intangibles — things like anticipation and instincts — that made Monday’s performance stick out:

« Specifically, Mbah a Moute was able to thwart that famous Griffin spin move on a couple of occasions, poking it away before Griffin could get past him and to the hoop for one of his highlight reel jams that have so often come off spins.

« Anticipation and instincts were the words of the night when Mbah a Moute’s defense was a topic.  All of the athleticism and studying in the world can make a player a good defender, but sometimes it’s the things we can’t measure that put a player over the edge and turn him into a great defender.  Coach Skiles certainly seems to think that’s the difference for Mbah a Moute. »

Luc Richard admitted that the young forward made him bite at times, but for the most part, his defense remained right for the majority of the game:

« He got me a couple times too. Once he got me, I kind of knew what to do.  He does it so well, that it’s hard.  I kind of do a good job of reading where he’s going, knowing his moves, stuff like that.

« It’s [about] knowing what kind of player he is, what he does and it’s also instincts. A lot of times a guy can spin or do a certain move, you try to prepare for it but he does it so well that it’s hard.  But when you have good instincts, you’re able to do well. »

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com’s Eye on Basketball broke down one play where Luc, with some help from his friends, prohibited Griffin’s signature spin.

« For a while there you were starting to wonder if anything could stop Blake Griffin. And I’m not just talking NBA players. Brick walls, atomic weapons, the name of Love, we were running out of ideas as to how to slow down the superfreak. But as the Clippers continue their slide back into Clipperdom, nights like Monday night show us if you’ve got the right defender, you don’t have to be eaten alive by the monster that is Blake Griffin. »

To see Moore’s point-by-point breakdown, click here.

Luc also credited his teammates for their help on such plays:

« It’s not an easy matchup, » Mbah a Moute said. « Every time you go against a guy like that you’ve got your hands full. Our goal was just to keep him out of the paint; that’s what he does best right now. Fortunately for me, my teammates were there every time. Every time I got beat, Bogues would always come on one of his spins and the guards would come in and dig. Just our awareness defensively was really good tonight. »

NOT ALL DEFENSE

While Luc had his hands full with Griffin, it didn’t stop him from putting up a stellar offensive performance as well.

The Prince played an integral role on offense in Milwaukee’s win, scoring his third double-double in the last seven games.

No. 12 was able to get to the free-throw line effectively, shooting seven-of-nine from the stripe, and finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and an assist. But the two stats that really stuck out to Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop were point differential and turnovers, drawing Luc Richard double recognition:

+27. Luc Mbah a Moute’s differential, best of all.

« This is the player. The player who hauls in more than half (4) of your offensive rebounds, the player whose defensive prowess is never quantified statistically (1 steal, 0 blocks), the player who plays 38 minutes without a turnover or missing a shot (he missed only a 40-footer at the first quarter buzzer), the player who defends and frustrates and tugs at the other team’s star player, every team’s star player, even as his own home crowd is cheering for that star player (add Blake Griffin to that list which already includes Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, etc.). This is the player you miss, someday.

NEXT UP

The Bucks hit the national stage Wednesday night when they welcome Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets to the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Following their victory over LA, the Bucks remain four games out of a playoff spot. Jeremy Schmidt from Bucksketball, for one, would like to see more of last year’s Bucks playing together:

The chemistry between the Bucks players from last season, Bogut, Jennings, Delfino, Salmons and Mbah a Moute in particular, was on display Monday night.  It felt all sorts of 2010 in the Bradley Center.  They knew where each other would be, Salmons could drive and kick to Jennings or swing that extra pass to Delfino.  The ball was shared and everyone knew they would get the ball back.  There was no selfishness and there was trust.  Everyone knew the plays and what to do.  That was a team that trusted each other.

Tip-off with the Nuggets is at 8 p.m. MST and you can see all the action on ESPN.

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The Prince Does His Part

Things haven’t come easy for the Milwaukee Bucks this season, but Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has been there to smooth out some of the rough patches.

The Bucks are on the cusp of the No. 8 playoff spot. Luc Richard knows that this team will have to keep their heads down and work harder. A pep talk from Bucks’ owner Herb Kohl could be just what the team needed.

Kohl spoke to the team on Monday, and they responded on Tuesday with a 92-74 win over the Toronto Raptors.

« (Kohl said) that it’s time, » Luc told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. « It’s time to start putting wins together. We have 33 games left and right now we’re not in the playoffs. We have the potential. We have a good team. We have good players. We can make the playoffs, so it’s time to go out there and play like we want to make the playoffs. »

The pep-talk seemed to motivate No. 12 in particular, who had his second big night in a week.

Luc Richard posted his fifth double-double of the season against Toronto, and second in three games, finishing with 10 points, and out-rebounding everyone else on the court (14 boards) in just 29 minutes of play off the bench. Luc explained his effort to the Journal-Sentinel:

« I was just trying to do a little more to get the win, » he said. « We needed to get out of this losing streak. I had opportunity to get rebounds, so I was trying to get extra possessions for the team. »

When told of his stats for the night, Luc said there was only one stat that mattered to him:

« It’s better to see that we won by however much we won by, » he said.

With injuries to starters throughout the year, Luc Richard has proven time and time again that he is able to adapt to any role that the team throws at him, as illustrated in Tuesday’s victory. Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop has been quick to give the Prince credit when credit was due, and Tuesday night was no different,

« Luc Mbah a Moute. Without looking at the numbers, The Prince had a nice game. Looking at the numbers, The Prince had a nice game. On a rare night when the Bucks were not misfiring on the vast majority of their shots, Mbah a Moute gathered a healthy portion of those that did miss the mark. Mbah a Moute pulled down seven offensive rebounds, and a quick dig through the play-by-play reveals that he personally scored six points directly off his own offensive rebounds.

And the box score won’t show any steals or blocks, but Luc defended an oversized Andrea Bargnani capably, often pushing the seven-foot Italian away from the hoop. Usually it looks like Bargnani doesn’t need much encouragement to hang out near the perimeter, but he barked at the official at one point after getting muscled out of the lane by Luc, who also helped hold Amir Johnson to 5 points. Meanwhile, Mbah a Moute totaled 10 points on 6 shots along with 14 rebounds as the sixth man extraordinaire. »

Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball gave Luc some acclaim for his defense on the Raptors’ big man:

« Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Mbah a Moute split the duty on the Raptors center.  When Bargnani had Mbah a Moute on him, he would often take him to the post, only to realize he wasn’t strong enough to back down the Bucks forward.  He settled a number of times for turnaround jumpers or fadeaways that had little chance. »

The Tuesday night win snapped a four-game losing streak, but the Bucks couldn’t carry that momentum on the road and fell on the second half of a back-to-back in Washington to the Wizards, 100-85 on Wednesday night.

SETTING A STANDARD
During the Bucks’ first game of 2011 (January 1st) against the Dallas Mavericks, Luc Richard was diagnosed with a mild concussion after butting heads with a Dallas defender.

The incident opened Luc’s eyes in more ways than one.

No. 12 not only missed no games, but played a game-high 42 minutes just three days later against the Miami Heat.

Other professional sports leagues like Major League Baseball, and more prevalently, the National Football League, have been issuing new standards when it comes to concussions. Luc Richard believes that the NBA needs to follow suit.

While the Prince’s concussion was mild, he believes that there is room for improvement when it comes to testing, as Luc explained to the Associated Press.

« I didn’t have to do any tests because we were on the road and doctors were here, » Luc said. « They just asked me how I was feeling, and I told them I was feeling better. They were like, ‘You’re fine. »‘

Mbah a Moute said he knocked heads with a Dallas defender on Jan. 1 and returned three days later, despite some soreness on his left side of his head. The experience has made him think there should be a league-wide policy to handle every concussion.

« There should be standards in the NBA. You need to do these tests and pass these tests before you can come back on the court. Bottom line. We definitely don’t get as bad concussions as football and other sports, but a concussion is a concussion. It’s a serious injury and there should be tests. »

No. 12 said it’s a matter of making sure the player is safe short and long-term:

« I think it’s only right. It doesn’t cost anything. It’s something that people should want to do if you have a concussion, » he said. « I would want to do those tests to make sure I’m OK, to make sure I’m ready to be back on the court and not expose myself again. »

To read more about concussions in the NBA, click here.

NEXT UP
The Bucks wrap a short two-game road trip on Friday when they take on one of the Western Conference’s most improved teams, the Memphis Grizzlies.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

But after Friday, the Bucks can look forward to playing eight of their next nine games on their home court in Milwaukee.

The Bucks are three-and-a-half games back of the No. 8 spot in the East behind the division-rival Indiana Pacers, and should be prepared to use their homestand to gain some ground.

That home stretch starts against the Pacers on Saturday at 7:30. You can see that game on FSN Wisconsin as well.

RELATED ARTICLES

Career Night is No Solace

Like any true professional, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute values the team performance over individual achievement.

So even after one of the biggest nights of his career, Luc couldn’t take any comfort from a 100-94 Bucks loss to the Warriors on Thursday night.

No. 12 received his second straight start in place of injured center Andrew Bogut and made the most of it, playing a starring role all night for Milwaukee.

The Prince showed his stuff with a career-high 19 rebounds, including an incredible 11 off the offensive glass, giving his team multiple second-chance points to keep the game close.

To put that number in perspective, Luc Richard had 11 of the 20 offensive rebounds that the Bucks had as a team and even more impressive, the Golden State Warriors, as a group, only had eight total offensive rebounds.

« I was just trying to make things happen for the team, » Luc told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. « When Bogut is out, somebody has to pick up the slack for rebounding. I was just trying to do that. »

Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball was left impressed by Luc’s toughness on the glass:

Without Andrew Bogut (bruised right knee), Luc Mbah a Moute stepped up on the glass.  The Bucks forward established a new career best with 19 rebounds, 11 of them on the offensive end.  Against an undersized team like the Warriors, Mbah a Moute can thrive inside.  They don’t have the same type of shot-blocking or muscle at the rim.  Mbah a Moute is as tough as anyone and he showed that to the Warriors.

To go along with his career-night on the boards, No. 12 hit on 6-of-12 field goals, good for 15 points, a season-high for the Cameroon native. Luc also added five assists and two steals in an excellent all-around performance.

Frank Madden of Brew Hoop called Luc’s performance in Thursday night’s game simply « amazing. » He named Luc in both the « Three Bucks » and « Three Good » portions of his game recap, because No. 12 was that good:

From Three Bucks:
« Luc Mbah a Moute. Just a monster effort from the Prince, who simply outworked the bigger Warrior frontline to grab 11 of the Bucks’ 20 offensive rebounds and finish with 15 points (6/12 fg), a career-high 19 boards, and five assists. »

From Three Good:
« Luc’s work. Seriously, that was some amazing work. Despite his obvious size disadvantage, he put up the same scoring line as David Lee while out-rebounding one of the league’s better rebounding PFs 19-7. »

Josh Whitling of ESPN’s fantasy basketball blog also lofted some praise Luc’s way:

« Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had one of the most unexpected dominant efforts of the season Thursday, scoring 15 points with 19 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals. That marks his season high in rebounds, points and assists. »

But Luc wasn’t gloating after the game. Instead, he took a leadership role, pinpointing what he and his teammates didn’t do and how they can improve. No. 12 thought the Bucks were in a position to win the game, but he said the loss had little to do with effort, and more with making the most of opportunities, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« We had a lot of good things going on, offensively, » Mbah a Moute said as the Bucks locker room emptied out and players started heading for the bus. « Against a team like that, we really didn’t get stops when we needed to.

« We turned them over 17 times and only got 16 points out of it. We had a lot of times where we were in transition and didn’t convert. That’s tough for us, especially the way we’ve been playing. So every time we have the ball in transition, we need those big-time. »

Still in a game where they missed two of their key players down the stretch, Bogut and Brandon Jennings, who is working his way back from a foot injury that limited him to less than 20 minutes Thursday and kept him off the floor in crunch time, the Bucks can take some positives moving forward.

They are still well within reach of a playoff spot and with plenty of the season left, the Bucks have time to close the gap.

« We can’t get down, » Luc said. « We’ve got to find a way; we’ve got to play harder. We’ve got to scratch and grind. »

NEXT UP
The Bucks see their schedule lighten up quite a bit over the next 10 days.

With a playoff spot on the line, the Bucks know they have to win the games that they’re supposed to and five of the six teams they play over the next week and-a-half sport records below .500. Four of their next six games are at home and they also play three of the five teams below them in the Eastern Conference in the upcoming stretch.

That stretch kicks off Saturday night when Milwaukee welcomes the Detroit Pistons to the Bradley Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 CST and you can catch all the excitement on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED ARTICLES

Bucks Back in the Hunt

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks were clicking on all cylinders over the past week, starting with a big win over their Eastern Conference rivals the Atlanta Hawks.

In their defeat of Atlanta, the Bucks overcame an 11-point fourth quarter deficit and completely locked down defensively in the final quarter, holding the Hawks under 23 percent from the field.

Luc started the fourth quarter and then played an offense-defense trade-off with Ersan Ilyasova for the final minutes of the game. In that quarter, No. 12 and his teammates limited Atlanta’s scoring duo of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith to just two points each on a total of 10 shots between them. Luc also pitched in three rebounds and an assist in the fourth.

The Bucks, with confidence in tow, took their 98-90 victory over the Hawks on the road and produced similar results in Toronto.  Luc Richard led all Bucks bench players with seven rebounds against the Raptors and Milwaukee took home the victory, 116-110.

While No. 12 secured the glass on the defensive end, his teammates poured it in on the other end, shooting 55.3 percent from the field on their way to victory.

They carried that momentum into the weekend and over his last two games, Luc has shot an impressive 7-of-9 from the field. He compiled five points and five boards in a win over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night, then added 10 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting, along with six rebounds against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.

Luc Richard played 22 minutes off the bench in L.A., and managed to drain all of his shots, while recording a team-high point differential (+7) and rotating defensive duties on rookie Blake Griffin.

After winning three of their last four, the Bucks have climbed to a 19-27 record and currently remain just a half game behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. The recent win streak is a product of the Bucks playing a better brand of basketball while getting healthier by the day.

This week, Milwaukee saw both their starting point guard and small forward return to the line-up. Brandon Jennings and Carlos Delfino have already provided a spark for the team and Head Coach Scott Skiles believes that now is the perfect time to strike and make a run for the playoffs, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« All the teams have records around ours, » Skiles said. « This is a logical time for us to start playing really well and our guys are starting to filter back right now. We’re starting to get a little bit more healthy. It’s hard to judge anybody on our team, and we don’t want to judge anybody harshly, until all our guys are back. »

NEXT UP
The Bucks are on the West Coast this week to take on the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors on back-to-back nights.

Luc Richard averaged 10.5 points and over 10 rebounds in two games against the Warriors last year, so he should be ready and waiting for Thursday night to come.

But the Bucks will have to take down Steve Nash and the Suns first on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED ARTICLES
Monday game report: Bucks at Clippers (JS Online, Feb. 1, 2011)
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute Splits (ESPN, Feb. 1, 2011)

Luc Finds New Niche

As a student of the game, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute knows there is a mindset that goes with coming off the bench.

Luc has started the majority of games this season, but Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Scott Skiles made a change in the rotation last week, making Luc a reserve. For Skiles, bringing one of the league’s best defenders fresh off the bench is a boon. It’s also helped the Bucks, depth-wise, deal with the injuries to John Salmons, Drew Gooden and Brandon Jennings.

« It’s tough because we’ve had so many injuries during the whole year pretty much. It seems like every time we get somebody back, someone else goes down with an injury, » Luc told CineSport. « It’s been tough for us, having to deal with different lineups and we can’t really get our rhythm. It’s just something we have to try and fight through. We just have to continue to get better. »

To watch Luc talk more about what the Bucks have been going through, clickhere.

Luc Richard’s defense will be at a premiere level whether he’s a starter or a reserve, but since his move to the bench, he has also excelled offensively. In those five games, No. 12 has made 9-of-12 shots from two-point range, bringing his field goal percentage up to 45.5 percent. And most importantly, he has shown time and time again that he is always ready to play, a valuable asset to his coach off the bench.

No. 12 did it again Monday night in Chicago with an impressive performance, despite just 16 minutes of playing time. Luc continued this season’s success against the Bulls, with eight points to lead bench players on 4-of-5 shooting. No. 12 was also able to grab seven rebounds and record a steal in Milwaukee’s 92-83 loss. Frank Madden ofBrew Hoop was quick to recognize Luc for his tremendous effort:

« Luc Mbah a Moute. Mbah a Moute didn’t play much (16 minutes) and had the unenviable task of defending the stronger Boozer a few times down the stretch, but he had three terrific, aggressive drives and finishes (4/5 overall, 8 pts) in addition to seven boards. »

Luc finished the night second on the team in rebounds behind Andrew Bogut, who, combined with Luc Richard, compiled 25 of the Bucks’ 41 total rebounds.

NEXT UP
The Bucks continue their rivalry against Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night when the Hawks fly into Milwaukee.

Luc knows that Johnson will present a challenge for the Bucks defense.

« Joe is a very good player. I think he’s underrated for what he does, » Luc said. « He’s 6-8, as a two [guard] and really can get to the lane whenever he wants. He can shoot the ball really well and drive. He’s pretty much got the whole package. We just have to make it tough on him, deny him the ball and not let him get a lot of touches. »

Luc Richard will likely be tasked with defending both Johnson and Josh Smith, but he says the Bucks will approach the game with a team defensive mindset.

« A lot of times we rely on our team defense, » No. 12 said. « The way they run sets for [Johnson], you can’t do it on your own. »

The season series is split at one apiece after each team routed each other on the opponent’s home court.

Tip-off of the rubber match is set for 7 p.m. CST and you can see all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

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Living His Dream

After years of practice and hard work, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is now living his dream, playing against the best basketball players in the world in the NBA.

Though he didn’t start playing until he was 12 years old, No. 12 possessed an uncanny ability to adapt to the game and has taken his talent all the way to the top at every level he has played.
After falling in love with the game, Luc Richard knew he could never give up and his success today is a product of perseverance.

« I remained positive and I kept dreaming, » he said. « I knew what I wanted to accomplish which was to get into the NBA and I just kept putting that in front of me and I kept chasing it. My family support also played a big part in it. »

Luc recently sat down with Dulce Camer, a blog highlighting some of the best and brightest that represent the country of Cameroon. Luc was kind enough to share his break into basketball:

« When I was about 14, I joined a club in my hometown of Yaoundé called ONYX. After 3 years, my skills improved a whole lot so I was selected to represent Cameroon at the NBA Basketball Without Borders camp in S.A formally called Africa 100.

From there I got a scholarship to come play at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida where I played for 3 years. In 2004, UCLA recruited me to play for their basketball team. I played there for three years, I went to three Final Four [appearances], in two of those I played against Joakim Noah, the Milwaukee Bucks then drafted me and I’ve been playing here for the past three years. »

No. 12 has joined up with fellow African athletes such as Dikembe Mutumbo, to raise basketball awareness in such countries, making the children there aware of the opportunities that exist for them, as he told Dulce Camer:

« Well the first thing that we should focus on is I think the infrastructure and our material resources. The next thing we should focus on are the children from ages five to 12. By training them at an early age it gives them more time to develop their skills in order to maximize the opportunities for them to play at a professional level in Europe or the U.S. »

ROAD WARRIOR
Luc Richard showed of the talent that has made him an influential NBA talent on Friday night in Cleveland.

No. 12 pulled down a game-high nine rebounds and scored six points to help his Bucks to their second straight win, 102-88 over the Cavaliers.

Of Luc’s nine boards, three came on the offensive glass. He also had a steal and a block, scored his six points on 2-of-3 from the field and did it all in just 19 minutes of game action.

The win came on the tail end of back-to-back wins within the Eastern Conference. The Bucks welcomed the Washington Wizards Wednesday and sent them home disappointed, after a 100-87 Milwaukee victory.

But Milwaukee’s streak came to an end on Saturday when the Memphis Grizzlies knocked them off, 94-81.

NEXT UP
Tonight, the Bucks head to Chicago to take on the BullS.

Luc Richard was the Bucks’ top performer versus the Bulls on December 28 with a 12-point, 10-rebound, double-double.

Tonight’s rematch is scheduled for a 7 p.m. CST tip-off and can be seen locally on FSN Wisconsin.

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Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is living his dream (Dulce Camer, Jan. 18, 2011)

Luc Maintains, Even as Reserve

As the most versatile player on the Milwaukee Bucks, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute can take on many roles.

With the team in need of a shakeup to try and get back on track, coach Scott Skiles moved Luc to the second on Monday afternoon.

« It’s no reflection on Luc. We’ve got to do something. We’re not getting off to good starts, » Skiles told theMilwaukee Journal-Sentinel. « Luc can play the 4 obviously, play the 3. We’ll see how the game goes and go from there. »

So after starting seven straight games to begin 2011, Luc came out with the second team when Milwaukee visited the Houston Rockets on Monday.

No. 12 didn’t miss a beat off the bench, providing lockdown defense and helping limit Houston’s forward trio of Luis Scola, Shane Battier and Jared Jeffries to just 28 points on 32 shots. Scola in particular struggled, hitting on just 8-of 25 shots. For the 14 minutes Luc was in the game, the Rockets scored just 21 points.

But the shakeup wasn’t enough to push the Bucks past a surging Rockets team and they fell 93-84 in a Martin Luther King Day matinee. It was the third straight loss for Milwaukee and came on the heels of a tough to swallow 95-94 loss in Philadelphia on Friday night.

After recording a pair of points, two rebounds and a block in 20 minutes on Friday night, Luc posted a very similar line in Monday afternoon’s game, adding three points, two boards and another block in just 14 minutes. Monday also marked the fifth game in a row that No. 12 has recorded a block.

The Prince has averaged 25.7 minutes per game this season, but there has been no rhythm to how he gets them. In Luc’s five games since Jan. 7, the 6’8″ forward has played 41, 17, 30, 20 and 14 minutes respectively. But according to ESPN.com, his production hasn’t dipped much despite the roller coaster minutes.

« Though he has averaged six fewer minutes per game when coming off the bench, Mbah a Moute’s production has remained consistent whether he starts the game or not. »

However, Luc has proven that the longer he is in a game, the easier it is for him to find his game. He’s currently averaging just 4.8 rebounds per game. But averaged out over a full game, Luc would be 13th among Eastern Conference forwards at 9.1 rebounds per 48 minutes.

Corey Maggette, who replaced Luc in the starting lineup, understands what his coach is trying to do. Maggette said that, although the move may not be permanent, everyone agreed it was time to do something, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« I know coach is searching to find something, » he said. We need to score the ball, because we’re in so much of a shooting slump that we can never cross that bridge. We’re really trying to figure out a way to do it. »

The Bucks current streak started with a home loss last Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs. Luc Richard scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds, struck down a block and picked up an assist all while shooting at a 60-percent clip.

But Luc pointed to a team-wide second half breakdown on defense as a culprit for the loss, he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

« In the first half we were moving, cutting, passing the ball more, » he said. « And in the second half we could never get a stop when we needed it. They made threes. I had some poor closeouts on Bonner; he got by me. I think one possession they got three offensive rebounds. »

Though the game was lost, 91-84, it marked the ninth time in the last 10 games that the Bucks were able to keep their opponent to under 100 points. Clearly the defense is there for the deer, who now need their offense to regain its momentum.

NEXT UP
The Bucks (14-24) will look to regain their footing Wednesday night when they return home to face off against the Washington Wizards, and history is on their side.

Last season, a loss in Houston on a January Monday dropped Milwaukee’s record to 16-23. They went on to play nearly .700 ball (30-13) the rest of the way, losing just 13 more games and streaking into the playoffs.

Though the seventh and eighth seeds are still will well within reach for the Bucks, coach Scott Skiles told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that his team can’t count on history:

« Right now, it looks like a bunch of teams battling for a couple spots, but over time that could clear up, » Skiles said. « We certainly don’t want to bank on that, thinking this is going to go down to the end of the season, and we’re going to be battling with these other teams. »

Wednesday’s game marks the first of three versus the Wizards this season, and Luc Richard is plenty familiar with them. No. 12 averaged 25.3 minutes per game in three match-ups last season against the Wizards, putting up seven points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

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Luc Fits in Any Role

On Saturday night in New Jersey, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute displayed the versatility that makes him so valuable to the Milwaukee Bucks.

One night after chasing and challenging Miami’s big three from the small forward position for 41 minutes, No. 12 scooted over and got the start at the power forward position on Saturday as the Bucks took on the Nets. With Andrew Bogut out, Bucks coach Scott Skiles deployed Luc to man the four as Ersan Ilyasova played center.

« Luc is better at the 4 anyway and maybe we can get (Brook) Lopez away from the basket a little bit and spread the floor, » Skiles said. « It’s a tough cover for Ersan to try to deal with him. »

The result was a dominant 115-92 victory for Milwaukee. In the 23-point win, Luc posted a point differential of +24, second best on the Bucks behind only Ilyasova. The two combined to lead the Bucks on both sides of the ball, as Jeremy Schmidt ofBucksketball wrote:

A night after Bogut tied the team record with 20 defensive rebounds, Ilyasova managed a strong game himself in his first start at center this season.  Ilyasova grabbed 12 defensive rebounds (13 total) and did a very good job helping to limit Lopez all night despite Lopez’s significant size advantage.  Ilyasova chipped in 22 points (10-14 FG) and three steals as well and looked comfortable up front with Mbah a Moute, who played well in his more natural power forward spot.

Luc Richard ended the game with a perfect shooting performance (2-for-2 FG), finishing with five points, one block, one board and an assist.

HEAT IN CHECK
The Saturday win was an important bounce back for the Bucks after a frustrating overtime loss to the Miami Heat one night prior.

It was a terrific all-around game for Luc Richard, who saw 41 of a possible 53 total minutes, in Milwaukee’s 101-95 overtime loss. He shot 5-of-7 from the field, finishing with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, three steals and a pair of blocks.

But it was Luc’s effort on the defensive end that nearly pushed Milwaukee to the win. No. 12 saw plenty of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh throughout the night and he made it difficult on all three. Dan Sinclair of Brew Hoop was sure to give Luc’s defense the credit it deserved in the « Three Numbers » portion of his game recap:

« 31%. The Big 3 shot 18-58 in this game, with LeBron James contributing eight of those makes. Chris Bosh, who actually gets a huge chunk of credit for saving Miami in this game, scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter after getting manhandled by Milwaukee’s defense (credit Luc Mbah a Moute above everyone) for most of the game. Dwyane Wade shot 4-of-19. »

James finished with a team-high 26 points, but it took him 23 shots and nine made free throws to get there. Wade’s night was much worse, as the shooting guard finished with 14 points on 19 shots and just over a handful of free throws.

Though they lost their lead late and fell in extra time, the defensive effort by the Bucks loomed large against the Heat. But that’s just the way they’ve been playing against all comers lately, as Sinclair writes:

« Over their last three games, Milwaukee is holding opponents to a Milwaukee-esque 45.7% shooting from the field, besting their already excellent 48.4 Opp. FG% season average. What really stuck out was how well the Bucks defended LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The Heat shot only 33% within 10 feet, and the Big 3 combined for their worst collective shooting performance of the season, with LeBron and Wade missing 10 of their 13 shots at the rim. »

NEXT UP
The Bucks were scheduled to play the Hawks on the road tonight, but due to a severe snowstorm that hit Atlanta, that game has been postponed until March 15th.

Luc and the boys are back in action Wednesday night at home when they host the league-leading San Antonio Spurs at the Bradley Center.

Milwaukee almost pulled off a giant upset of the Spurs last month in San Antonio, but a Manu Ginobili buzzer beater gave the Spurs the win. The Bucks will be seeking payback on their home floor Wednesday night.

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

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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. »

COLLISION COURSE
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.

NEXT UP
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.

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Windy City Double Up

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute found himself back in the starting lineup Tuesday night and given the opportunity to shine, he did not disappoint.

Starting for the first time since December 13th, the Bucks’ defensive guru recorded his third double-double of the season against the Chicago Bulls with 12 points (5-of-9 FG) and 10 rebounds.

Per usual, No. 12 did what he does best on the glass, grabbing six offensive rebounds to give his team crucial second chances at points.

However, the Bucks weren’t able to keep the Bulls from extending their lead in the fourth quarter, and fell on the road 90-77. As Luc told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, his individual merits mean little when they don’t assist in a victory.

« I was just trying to give my effort, » he said. « We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to go out there and win games; that’s what we get paid to do. We’ve got to find a way, whether it’s guys getting more alert defensively or guys working on their shots so we can start making shots. We’ve got to do a little extra to start playing better. »

He was, however, impressed with the team’s « never give up » mentality.

« We came out a little sluggish and fought our way back in the second quarter and made it a good game, » Mbah a Moute said. « Even in the third quarter we hung in there. »

No. 12 was named the top performer for the Bucks in ESPN’s box score Tuesday night, but also got some very well-deserved recognition from Frank Madden over at BrewHoop:

« Luc Mbah a Moute. This one’s pretty easy because he was the only guy who actually played well. Mbah a Moute’s work on the offensive boards gave the Bucks a shot of energy in the early going, and he mixed in a couple jumpers and some nifty slashes to the hoop in one of his better offensive performances of the season. Back in the starting lineup, and he deserved to be. »

DEFENSE DRAWS ATTENTION
It’s still early in the NBA season but that didn’t stop ESPN from taking a glimpse at how the end-of-season NBA awards may turn out.

While most honors were littered with the usual suspects, the Defensive Player of the Year quintet rolled out with two hard-nosed, gritty teammates, who are earning a reputation of their own.

Coming in at No. 2, is Bucks center Andrew Bogut, who was called one of the best defenders of the past decade, and rounding out the top five was none other than Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. ESPN’s Zach Harper explained his nomination of Luc:

« 5. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Bucks: Much like his teammate above, LRMAM isn’t the type of guy to get his proper due defensively. However, Luc Richard has been one of the most versatile defenders while guarding just about every position on the floor and helping stop pick-and-roll plays with his quick feet and expansive wingspan. »

No. 12 continues to draw the league’s best players and keeps shutting them down, so it’s only fitting that his reputation as one of the NBA’s top defenders should blossom.

RIVALRY RENEWED
Last season, the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks began a rivalry that has year-in and year-out playoff implications for two young teams on the rise.

The first series of the rivalry went to the Hawks, who ousted the Bucks in the first round of the playoffs a year ago. But each game over the last two seasons has been a brawl and the two teams renewed acquaintances on Monday night in Milwaukee.

Luc Richard chipped in four points, while helping contain high-scoring Hawks forward Josh Smith to just 13 points and only allowing him one trip to the foul line. But the Hawks had the keys to victory Monday night, sealing a 95-80 win.

The teams have now split a pair of games this season, with each team winning on the road. The Bucks will get another chance at the Hawks in the new year, when they head back to Atlanta for Game 3 on January 11th.

NEXT UP
Luc Richard and his teammates have some time to regroup this week with a three-day break between games.

But after their break, the Bucks face what looks to be their toughest stretch of the season ahead.

It starts on New Year’s Day in Milwaukee when they take on the Dallas Mavericks to start 2011. The Bucks then travel to Florida where they’ll take on Miami and Orlando and return home to face Miami a second time. Luc Richard should see significant minutes in all contests as the Bucks’ try to keep some of the league’s elite scorers in check.

Saturday tip-off against Dallas is at 8 p.m. CST and you can catch the action on FSN Wisconsin.

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Bucks Deploy Luc to Control Champs

The Milwaukee Bucks held the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers to a season-low 79 points on Tuesday night, and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute was a huge reason why.

No. 12 played the relief role to perfection on Tuesday night, coming off the bench and giving his team 28 hard-nosed minutes. Luc Richard followed through witheight points, three boards, an assist and a block while playing superb defense in Milwaukee’s 98-79 win.

As usual, Luc was delegated to the opposing team’s best scorer, in this case Kobe Bryant. Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop, attributed the win to great defense by Luc Richard and the rest of the Bucks:

« Luc Mbah a Moute was tremendous against Bryant down the stretch, as was John Salmons when matched up with him. And so the low points are marked with bad offense, and the high points are marked with great defense. As unpredictable as the Bucks are right now, and as different as they are from last season, that much remains clear. »

Bryant finished with 21 points on 16 shots and had his frustration boil over in the form of an ejection after a double technical in the fourth quarter. The Bucks clearly got under his skin and coach Scott Skiles believed the work on Bryant was one of the keys to the game, as he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

« I thought we did a really respectable job on Kobe. We didn’t go for those (pump-fakes) tonight. We stayed down and tried to make him tough shots. Those guys (Salmons and Mbah a Moute) did a really nice job on him. »

His defense stood out yet again, but Luc also helped the Bucks to the win on the offensive end.

Up five with just 9:34 left in the game, Luc Richard extended the lead to 77-70 on a nice inside basket and then followed it up with a big block of Shannon Brown on the other end.

Just minutes later, after an Earl Boykins three-pointer, Luc drilled a jumper to extend the Bucks’ lead to 10 with 6:48 to go. From there they cruised to a road win in Los Angeles, only the third team to beat the Lakers on their home floor this season.

DEFENSE WEARS THE CROWN
Following their win in Los Angeles, Luc and the Bucks wrapped their road trip on Thursday night in Sacramento.

Behind another solid team defensive showing, Milwaukee won going away, 84-79. The win pushed the Bucks to 3-0 when they hold an opponent under 80 points. Two of those wins have come in the last three days.

« We made some really good plays on the defensive end and scored just enough, » coach Scott Skiles told the Journal-Sentinel, « made just enough baskets to get the lead and then our defense carried us down the stretch. »

Luc finished 2-of-3 from the field for six points and a pair of rebounds. He split his time defensively on Sacramento’s Carl Landry and Francisco Garcia and held the duo to nine points each.

No. 12 entered the game with 4:15 left in the first, his team trailing by six, and helped spark a rally. On his very first possession in the game, Luc stepped up to deny the drive of Donte Greene and drew a charge on Greene that turned the ball over to Milwaukee.

Luc’s defensive intensity quickly became contagious and the Bucks drew three charges on Sacramento in the span of 1:06 off the clock.

The Luc Richard caused turnover also ignited an 11-0 Bucks run to take the lead. During that run, Luc grabbed his first rebound off the defensive glass and dished to Earl Boykins. Boykins pushed it up court as No. 12 trailed the play and cut into the lane, where Boykins found him on the drive. Luc laid it in to tie the score at 17 and got fouled. His subsequent free throw put Milwaukee ahead 18-17.

Luc added his other three points in another huge situation. With 5:30 left in the fourth and the score tied at 75, No. 12 drove baseline and drew a foul on Samuel Dalembert. His 1-of-2 trip to the line put Milwaukee up 76-75. He would add a beautiful driving layup less than a minute later to make it 78-75 and the Bucks carried that lead to victory.

The back-to-back wins were huge for Milwaukee as they broke a three-game losing streak and proved that they are ready to fight through adversity.

After a tough night in Portland Monday, learning Brandon Jennings will be out four to six weeks with a foot injury and then being blown out by the Blazers, everyone on the team had to step up their play.

After two games and two terrific performances, no one has exemplified that idea like Luc Richard.

HELPING ANY WAY HE CAN
Luc has been making a difference on the court for the Bucks as they make a run at the playoffs for the second straight year.

But it’s off the court where Luc affects the most lives.

In a recent feature for the Bucks’ Official Website, Truman Reed of Bucks Beat examined what giving back and caring in the community mean to Luc:

The Milwaukee Bucks paid their annual visit to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin recently, doing whatever they could to lift the spirits of patients from the MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and their families.

Like his teammates, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute approached the experience with a sense of compassion and came away with an even deeper one.

« When we visited, we saw little kids who had cancer, and some of them are really struggling with that, » Mbah a Moute said. « It’s really sad. »

At the same time, no one could blame Mbah a Moute if his thoughts drifted back to his homeland of Cameroon, Africa, where far more children are suffering and few benefit from the advanced training of the doctors and the high-tech, state-of-the-art medical care we have in the United States.

« Yeah, it’s definitely a lot different in Cameroon, » Mbah a Moute said. « It wasn’t until, 2000, I think, that we had a hospital that was kind of like a children’s hospital. We had a general hospital that had an area where the kids were. And in terms of materials and equipment that they have here, you walk in the room and there would be one kid in a room, with a TV.

« In Cameroon, there was one big room with a lot of kids, unless you’d go to a nicer hospital where they gave you your own rooms. Those were a lot more expensive, for people who have money. »

Luc told Reed that one of his lifelong goals is to be able to use his place in the NBA to help change that:

« Hopefully I’ll have a long and successful career so that I can invest and do something after I’ve retired, similar to what (Dikembe) Mutombo has done, » Mbah a Moute said. « It’s not just building hospitals, but working with the government and trying to help put the materials and medicine where people need it.

« We have the hospitals; it’s what’s inside the hospitals that matters. In some parts of the country, you’ll find materials and equipment that’s 20, 25 years old. It’s stuff that’s not even used anymore. There’s so much new and better technology that evolves every day that can save lives. But they don’t see it there because they don’t have the money. »

Mbah a Moute hopes to see relief agencies pitch in, too.

« I haven’t made any connections, but I definitely know of organizations back home that are trying to help people, » he said. « You try to help when you can.

« Hopefully, later on in my career, I’ll be able to help out some hospital or company that can send the materials and medicine to the people who really need it. »

To read Reed’s entire article on what Luc is doing to help, click here.

NEXT UP
Milwaukee has two games left in the 2010 calendar year before flipping over to 2011.

They return home from the West Coast this weekend and are back in action on Monday as the Atlanta Hawks come to the Bradley Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST.

One night later, the Bucks are back on the road, but they don’t have to travel far as they visit the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bulls. That game also tips at 7 p.m. CST and both games can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.

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Luc to Pick Up Slack

On a tough night for the Milwaukee Bucks both on and off the court, it was Luc Richard Mbah a Moute who was there to pick up the pace.

Just hours after finding out that their sparkplug, point guard Brandon Jennings, will miss 4-6 weeks after foot surgery, the Bucks were on the wrong end of a 106-80 loss Monday night to the Trailblazers in Portland.

But No. 12 never gave up on his team, finishing with 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Coming off the bench for the third straight game, Luc also recorded a team-high 34 minutes.

With his hard-nosed play in Portland, Luc garnered recognition from Frank Madden of Brew Hoop:

« Luc Mbah a Moute. Not a huge line —10 pts on nine shots, seven rebs in 34 minutes, but Mbah a Moute was the only other guy who seemed to be channeling his energies in a vaguely productive manner. »

But Luc wasn’t satisfied with a solid individual performance and believes the Bucks need to be stronger in all phases of the game, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« It shouldn’t have happened. They have players who were hungry, hungrier than us tonight, » Luc said. « All the offensive rebounds, loose balls, they were on it and we weren’t. They just really hit us in the mouth and we couldn’t recover. »

Luc knows that going forward, if the team wants to win without Jennings, they’re going to need to play a lot harder as a team.

« The whole team, we didn’t play hard, » Mbah a Moute told the Journal-Sentinel. « With Brandon out, he’s our leading scorer. We have to go out there and play harder. If we don’t play with urgency we’re going to have tough nights, tough games. »

« GUTSY » ON DEFENSE
Luc’s tight defense continues to impress and it nearly helped the Bucks knock off the league’s best team last week.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was on hero duty Wednesday night in San Antonio against the Spurs looking to preserve a tie game and send Milwaukee to an extra frame. But instead he was the victim of a tough call on the final shot that gave San Antonio the victory.

With time winding down in the fourth quarter, Luc Richard was given the assignment to take on Spurs guard Manu Ginobili. No. 12 provided the Bucks with superb defense, staying on the dangerous San Antonio shooter the whole possession.

However, at the moment, Ginobili took a step-back jumper that fell through the net and stunned the Bucks as time expired.

Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Scott Skiles was supportive of Luc Richard’s gutsy ‘D’ on the final shot and said he thought Ginobili traveled on the play, as he explained to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« It was great D. He made him travel. We just looked at it about five times (on video), » Skiles said. « He hit a great shot. Luc had great D on him. But we have to get a good quality shot right there and we couldn’t get one. »

Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk also believed that Ginobil’s shot was indeed a travel and the Bucks should have at least gotten a chance in overtime:

« Ginobili drives left (of course he does) with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute on him, gets to the elbow, plants both feet, steps back and plants both feet again, elevates and hits the shot. That is a textbook travel. Even in the NBA. That was no bunny hop on the drive, that was both feet replanting. Bucks coach Scott Skiles said so after the game to the media, calling it a travel. »

Judge for yourself by watching the video at PBT here.

It was an unfortunate ending for Luc Richard, who chipped in two points and five rebounds off the bench.

Milwaukee tried to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss, briefly returning home to the Bradley Center to face the Utah Jazz on Saturday. No. 12 played 13 minutes off the bench, recording two rebounds.

At one point the Bucks held a double-digit lead over the Jazz, but were unable to hold on against one of the best fourth-quarter teams in the league.

NEXT UP
It doesn’t get any easier for the Bucks, who play another one of the West’s best tonight when they head to Los Angeles to take on the World Champion Lakers.

Luc knows it will take their all for the Bucks to knock off the champs.

« The Lakers are the best team in the league – champions, » he said. « If we come out with the same type of effort, we’re going to get the same type of result, even worse. We need to come out with a different attitude and step it up. »

After outscoring three of the five Bucks’ starters Monday night, No. 12 will look to keep that roll going tonight in LA. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. CST and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED ARTICLES
Blazers 106, Bucks 80: Sorry effort and execution doom Milwaukee (Brew Hoop, Dec. 21, 2010)
Latest defeat really hurts Bucks (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 20, 2010)
Did Manu Ginobili travel on his game winner? Yes he did. (Pro Basketball Talk, Dec. 16, 2010)
Ginobili buzzer-beater saves Spurs (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 15, 2010)

Bucks Snap Dallas’ Streak

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute has developed a reputation around the NBA as a defensive stopper.

He provided more evidence on Wednesday night.

After winning three of four during a last week’s homestand, Luc and the Milwaukee Bucks took their skills on the road to face off against the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas, one of the league’s top teams, was white hot, sporting 12 straight wins dating back to Mid-November.

But leave it to No. 12 and the Deer to be up for the challenge. The Bucks took care of the Mavericks at the American Airlines Center, 103-99 on Monday night, and in the process, extended their own win streak to three.

It was Luc who made the last big play of the win, helping the Bucks, who rallied from a 20-point deficit, finish off their impressive comeback and win.

With his Bucks clinging to a 10-point lead and 11 seconds left, Luc stuck to clutch Mavs shooter Dirk Nowitzki like glue and forced the perennial All-Star to miss an 8-foot jumper in the lane. Keyon Dooling followed with a 2-for-2 trip to the free throw line to ice the game for Milwaukee.

The huge win over Dallas came just two days after another big Bucks win at home against the Houston Rockets.

With their 97-91 win victory, the Bucks improved to 7-5 at the Bradley Center. No. 12 scored four points and grabbed four boards in the Milwaukee triumph.

NEXT UP
The Bucks travel to San Antonio for another road test Wednesday night when they take on the league best 20-3 Spurs.

Luc Richard is expected to get the start at small forward as the Bucks look for their fourth straight win. Tip off is at 7:30 CST and you can catch all the action on FSN.

RELATED ARTICLES
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Dallas Mavericks (ESPN, Dec. 13, 2010) 

Lob by Luc Lifts Bucks

In a game highlighted by big plays and clutch moments on Wednesday night, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was at the center of it all.

Luc pitched in with eight points, six rebounds and three assists, including the game winner at the buzzer, to help the Milwaukee Bucks defeat the Indiana Pacers, 97-95.

Though No. 12 made big plays all night, the signature moment came with just half a second left in the fourth quarter when he tossed a high-arching inbounds pass over the rim where Andrew Bogut tipped it in at the buzzer to give Milwaukee the win.

Luc Richard, a Cameroon native, grew up playing soccer as a young boy and attributes his pinpoint accuracy on the game-winning lob pass to his experience on the pitch, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« Throw-ins, man, » Mbah a Moute said. « Playing soccer when I was younger. I just used to put it right on their heads. But I haven’t practiced it in a while.

« It was a great touch by Bogues. Sometimes when the ball is right there, the tip-in doesn’t go in. I was just glad it worked for us tonight. »

According to the Journal-Sentinel, the players knew what was coming before coach Scott Skiles called a timeout:

« Bogut said the Bucks knew which play coach Scott Skiles would draw up before they went to the team huddle during the timeout with five-tenths of a second left. And they worked it to perfection, even after a timeout called by Pacers coach Jim O’Brien.

Brandon Jennings set a back screen on Pacers forward Jeff Foster, Bogut rolled to the back of the basket and tipped in the perfect lob from Mbah a Moute.

« It’s not as simple as drawing it up, » Skiles said. « It’s one of those things you work on and only use four or five times a season. »

The win was Milwaukee’s third in five games, all three coming against Eastern Conference Playoff contenders.

« We needed this win big, » Luc told the Journal-Sentinel. « And to have it in this fashion is even bigger for us. Hopefully we can ride that emotional game and help us get out of this funk we’ve been in and start getting some wins over the next few weeks. »

You can check out Luc’s amazing lob here.

PLAY AFTER PLAY
Though the game was decided on a single play, it twisted and turned through the first 47 minutes and 55.5 seconds and eventually became a game that both teams had to have.

Such was the environment over the final several minutes as the game hinged on a series of clutch plays by Luc and his Bucks teammates. Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop described the final minutes of action:

« Indiana grabbed a 91-90 lead on a Danny Granger jumper with 2:33 remaining in regulation. At that point (imagine this) the Bucks had made one field goal in the previous six minutes. And yet Skiles just then inserted Mbah a Moute for Corey Maggette, as clear of a defense-for-offense trade as exists on this team.

From there, Mbah a Moute went on to make a sideline jumper to tie it at 93-93, force Danny Granger to pass the ball away to Hibbert with a chance to win, and make the game-winning pass. »

For his performance and ability to go above and beyond the call of duty, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel named Luc Richard its Wednesday night Player of the Game:

« Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had eight points, six rebounds and three assists, but he made two of the biggest plays of the game. His defense forced Danny Granger to pass on the Pacers’ final possession, and they wound up with Roy Hibbert shooting instead and barely hitting the rim. Then the Bucks forward made the perfect inbound pass to Andrew Bogut for the winning basket. »

The win marked Milwaukee’s sixth straight win over their Central Division rival, Indiana, since the beginning of the 2009 season.

CONTAINING THE KING
One game prior to his late-game heroics, Luc was tasked with defending one of the league’s best players and did his best to lock it down.

No. 12 limited LeBron James to just 17 points and forced James into 16 field goal attempts to get that many. Lebron was also under his usual total in assists with just six.

Unfortunately for the Bucks, there was only so much of Luc to go around and Dwayne Wade burned them for 25 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in the 88-78 Heat win on Monday night.

Along with his suffocating defense, Luc Richard posted four points and three boards in 23 minutes.

NEXT UP
The Bucks won’t have long to savor their thrilling Wednesday win, as they’ll host the Houston Rockets on Friday night at the Bradley Center.

After a great all-around performance by Luc Richard on Wednesday night he’ll be needed back on the defensive end Friday to shadow Rockets forward Luis Scola. Scola is coming off a 35 and 12 performance versus the Pistons on Wednesday night, but he’ll have a long night ahead of him trying to get past The Prince.

Friday’s tip off is at 7:30 CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED ARTICLES

Lockdown Luc Stifles Magic’s Carter

The Milwaukee Bucks picked up a huge win over one of the East’s best squads on Saturday night and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was at the forefront.

Luc got his 12th straight start on Saturday night, clocking 34 minutes and grabbing six rebounds as the Bucks handed the visiting Orlando Magic just their fifth loss of the season with a 96-85 win.

No. 12 added an assist, a steal and one free throw while recording a +12 point differential, but his best work was done once again on the defensive end. The Magic found themselves without four starters and key contributors including Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and JJ Redick. That placed the scoring load firmly on the shoulders of shooting guard Vince Carter.

With that in mind, Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles put Luc on Carter and Carter shot just 33 percent from the field. The veteran shooter ended up with 20 points, but had to take 21 shots to get there and his inefficiency helped Milwaukee maintain a lead for the entire game.

Orlando Magic beat writer Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel tweeted on Saturday night about the havoc Luc Richard wreaked on Carter and the Orlando offense.

« Awful start for #Magic tonight. They’re down 16-8. Vince Carter bottled up well by Mbah a Moute. VC settled for jumpers. »

The Bucks’ victory over the Magic was their second straight at home and a great confidence builder heading into their next challenge: LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

The streaking Heat visit Milwaukee tonight and its likely that The Prince will be charged with guarding « The King » who is of comparable size to the 6’8″ Cameroon-native.

Frank Madden of Brew Hoop writes in his game preview that Luc will likely earn LeBron duty, while John Salmons will be tasked to the equally dangerous Dwayne Wade:

« D’ing up. Luc Mbah a Moute saw plenty of Wade and James in his first two NBA seasons, but never while playing for the same team. That means Luc will have the difficult task of containing James at the outset while John Salmons starts against Wade, though the Bucks can also take some solace in the fact that there’s only one ball that the two superstars have to share.

Monday’s game tips off at 7 p.m. CST and can be seen regionally on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED ARTICLES
Heat/Bucks: LeBron James leads streaking Miami to BC (Brew Hoop, Dec. 5, 2010)
Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks- Box Score (ESPN, Dec. 04, 2010)

Luc Brings the Defense in Denver

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks took a rocky mountain road trip this week with stops in Utah and Denver along the way.

No. 12 got the start again for the Bucks on Wednesday in Denver, No. 12 on the season for him. The Prince chipped in three points, shooting one of two from both the floor and the foul line. He also recorded two assists and three rebounds, one of them coming on the offensive side of the ball.

Meanwhile, No. 12 was charged with defending one of the NBA’s top scorers in Carmelo Anthony and did a solid job.

Anthony, who averages about 45 percent from the field, made less than 33 percent of his shots (4-13) and finished with 14 points, nearly 10 off his season average of 23.2 per game. Anthony, usually a strong rebounder was also held to just four boards in 27 minutes.

With Luc doing the little things all over the floor, the Bucks took command early and at halftime led the Nuggets by five. But Milwaukee was unable to hold off a second half surge by Denver and fell 105-94.

In Utah, Luc started and grabbed four boards to go along with a pair of points and a steal in a 109-88 loss to the Jazz.

Milwaukee was without three starters for Monday night’s game, including center Andrew Bogut, and found it tough to handle the Jazz’ size. But the Bucks fought hard, falling behind just seven through three quarters before the Jazz ultimately put the game away in the fourth.

UCLA LEGACY
Luc’s defensive prowess in the NBA began when he was playing in blue and gold for the UCLA Bruins.

This season the UCLA coaches are trying to instill a bit of Luc into their current roster.

What better way to teach defense to follow in an alum’s footsteps. This past week at a team practice, after hours of watching game footage UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland put in a different kind of tape. This one, game footage of defensive stalwarts like Aaron Afflalo and none other than Luc Richard.

Sophomore Reeves Nelson, who leads the team in scoring with 17.6 points per game said that his coaches’ methods were extremely valuable

« They just took more pride in the defense because they knew that by doing that, they could generate their offense. That’s what Coach was trying to show us. He wants to put an emphasis on transition, but at the same time, if you don’t get a lot of stops, you can’t transition. »

After a one-point loss to Kansas on Thursday, the Bruins are 3-3 on the young season.

NEXT UP
The Bucks return home for a four-game homestand starting Saturday night against the Orlando Magic.

Milwaukee is hopeful they will be at full strength with Andrew Bogut back at center on Saturday. Tip-of is at 7:30 CST and the game can be seen nationwide on NBA TV FSN Wisconsin will broadcast locally.

RELATED ARTICLES
UCLA vs. Kansas Preview: Bruins Need to Channel the Force of Luc (Bruins Nation, Dec. 2, 2010)
Milwaukee Bucks-Utah Jazz (ESPN, Nov. 29, 2010)