Bucks Keep Battling

There is no quit in Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks saw their playoff hopes take a huge hit on Friday with a loss to the Indiana Pacers. But rather than getting down on themselves, Milwaukee showed resiliency and came back to beat the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Luc helped the Bucks earn the weekend split by averaging 11 points and six rebounds in the back-to-back matchups.

No. 12 and the Bucks bounced back from a heart-breaking Friday loss Saturday, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers, currently the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, 93-87.

« [Our] guys didn’t hang their heads tonight, » Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. « We were able to get it into overtime and then played well in the overtime. »

The Bucks know their playoff chances are slim, but at this point, all they can do is win the games they play. The Prince in particular wasn’t going to let a missed opportunity hinder his or his teammates’ performance. Milwaukee played with intensity and passion throughout the game Saturday night.

« It was huge to get a win at home for our fans and just to show people we’re still playing hard and trying to finish out properly, » Bucks center Andrew Bogut told the Journal Sentinel. « It’s hard to play sometimes. Guys are playing banged up at the moment; we’ve got a lot of injuries still. If you’re physically game enough to play, there’s no reason we can’t go out and try to get a win. »

Luc’s went 5-of-9 from the field further showcasing an offensive improvement that isn’t going unnoticed from his head coach and the rest of the league, as Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop noted:

« The Prince’s defense never slumps. And now he’s scored in double-digits in nine out of his last ten games — reaching that distinction for the first time in his pro career. »

Not only is Luc’s scoring progressing, but his efficiency Saturday night was impeccable scoring 12 points on just nine shots.

Managing fatigue was also a key factor in Saturday night’s win as No. 12 and the Bucks were playing the second game of a back-to-back. Luc played just 26 minutes, but made the most of them on both sides.

« I thought both teams early on looked a little fatigued and we weren’t as sharp as we would have liked to have been, » Skiles said. « But we hung in there. Very, very good defense in the last 21/2 quarters and we kind of took them out of their sets. Overall, a good effort.« 

Luc’s intensity was unmatched on Friday night, as he locked down perennial NBA All-Star Danny Granger.

Luc Richard forced Granger into three missed shots, a turnover and zero points in the opening frame Friday night. The Bucks used the strong defensive effort, just 14 points allowed in the first, to build an eight-point lead.

In the second quarter, No. 12 and the Bucks increased their lead to eleven, but were unable to fend off a Pacers run in the waning moments of the second quarter and trailed by seven going into the break.

The tone changed in the fourth quarter, as Luc added four of his 10 points in the first three minutes. No. 12 and the Bucks closed the deficit to just one in the final moments of the game. But they were unable to complete the comeback when a potential game winning three-pointer missed in the final moments to lock in an 89-88 Pacers win.

The Bucks will play another Eastern Conference playoff team Tuesday night when they go up against the Orlando Magic.

No. 12 will look to lock down veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu and help keep Magic power-forward Brandon Bass off the boards while continuing his offensive improvement. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. on FSN Wisconsin.