Bear Down Time for Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks enter the homestretch of their season in need of one last spark to get them across the finish line.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute looks like he may be able to provide it.

Along with his usual strong defense, Luc posted his fourth straight strong game on the offensive end on Wednesday night. His contributions nearly pushed the Bucks to a third straight win. But, after a strong first half, they let their lead slip away late in a 97-90 loss to Sacramento.

No. 12 scored 11 points on just six shots, hitting 4-of-6  from the floor. He’s scored in double digits in each of Milwaukee’s last four games. Over those four games he is averaging 13.8 points per game and shooting at a 52.7 percent clip from the field.

Going into the last week, the Prince had scored double digits just 14 times. That’s because Luc had been averaging 4-5 shots per game for the season. But since the Bucks moved back to the lineup that they used throughout last season’s playoff run, No. 12 has been getting the ball more and scoring in bunches. He averaged nine attempts per game over the last week.

They’ll need him to continue that strong and aggressive play if they’re to make another such run this season. With just 12 games remaining, the Bucks face an uphill battle. They currently sit in the ninth position, but are three games behind the Indiana Pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

The road to get in won’t be easy either as the Bucks start their 12 game trek to the finish line tonight in New York against the playoff-bound Knicks. They’ll then quickly fly back home and host the East-leading Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

« These are two games we’ve got to win just to stay in the playoff hunt. I think when we play teams that are higher than us, we show up better,” Luc’s teammate Brandon Jennings said « When you know you’re playing against the Knicks and Chicago Bulls, you kind of get up for those games. »

Of their final 10 after that, the Bucks do play five teams that are currently below them in the Eastern Conference. They also play the team directly above them, the Pacers, one more time. But their other four games are against teams locked into the playoffs. Milwaukee also plays seven of its final 10 games on the road where they haven’t had success this season (9-24). But Luc and the Bucks aren’t ready to concede anything.

« All the games are the same, » Bucks coach Scott Skiles said after Wednesday’s loss. « That’s why you play 82 of them. We’ve been in desperate straits for a long time now. That’s what we wanted to see tonight was a desperate team. We wanted to play a desperate game out there and unfortunately we didn’t do it. »

The Bucks and Knicks tip-off from Madison Square Garden in New York City tonight at 6 p.m. CST and the game can be heard on 620 AM WTMJ.

« We’ve got to show up, » Skiles told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of facing the Knicks for the second time in six days following Milwaukee’s 100-95 victory over New York on Sunday. « We’ve got to play hard; we’ve got to execute and know what we’re doing. That’s all just to have a chance, we’ve got to do those things. »

Saturday’s home game with the Bulls begins at 7:30 p.m. CST on FSN Wisconsin.