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.

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.

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.

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.