Bucks Split the Weekend

When the Bucks get a night out of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute like they did on Saturday, it’s generally a recipe for success.

Luc Richard continued his solid play over the last 10 games with 14 points and 12 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season as the Bucks crushed the Philadelphia 76ers, 102-74. Milwaukee is now 5-2 when Luc doubles up.

No. 12 was a menace all over the court, picking up six rebounds on each end of the glass, adding five steals and even chipping in with three assists.

For his efforts, the Prince was named Player of the Game by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds and contributed five of the team’s 16 steals as he pestered the 76ers’ front line.

Luc pointed out in his postgame interview with Gardner that the steals led to offense:

« I thought we were really focused defensively today, » he said. « Once we got going with the steals, it helped us on the offensive end. »

No. 12’s work also drew praise from Frank Madden of Brew Hoop:

« Pretty much everyone in a Bucks uniform could make a case for Three Bucks honors tonight, but let’s start with the Prince. Mbah a Moute was the only player from either team to notch a double-double (14 points on eight shots, 12 rebounds), did all the little things (five steals! three assists! no turnovers!) and surprisingly dominated the bigger Elton Brand in every respect (1/3 fg, three pts, four turnovers). So much of basketball is about possessions, and Mbah a Moute was huge on both ends in that respect. »

Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball pointed to Luc’s six offensive rebounds as the biggest sign of his activity and success:

Always the contributor of « the little things » that really aren’t so little, Luc Mbah a Moute had a field day on the offensive glass against the Sixers.  Milwaukee’s slender but sturdy power forward had six offensive rebounds Saturday and 12 rebounds total.  Milwaukee was getting, and making, as many good shots as they have all season Saturday, but on the occasions in which they didn’t, it was usually Mbah a Moute there to bail them out.

Luc said the Bucks have always known they could play defense, but the problem has been getting the offense to come along with it.

« Our defense has always been kind of stable. On the offensive end, we’re moving the ball better, guys are shooting their shots with more confidence, » Mbah a Moute said. « We need to play that way for the rest of the season if we want to make the playoffs. »

Unfortunately for the Bucks, they couldn’t keep their offense going the next night in Boston and suffered a defeat just as lopsided as their previous night’s victory, 87-56. Luc did pitch in seven points and seven rebounds, but the Milwaukee offense as a unit shot just 31 percent from the field one night after shooting 52 percent.

The loss pushed the Bucks back to a game-and-a-half behind Indiana and Charlotte for the eighth seed in the East, with 17 to play. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a breakdown of who each of those teams has left to play and the schedule doesn’t necessarily favor any of the three relatively inconsistent squads.

Coach Scott Skiles believes that not only do the Bucks want to reach the postseason for a second straight year, they need to in order to continue building the franchise in a positive direction.

« For us, where we’re at right now, Bogues missed the playoffs last year, » Skiles said. « We need to get him in postseason play. We need to get Brandon (Jennings) in postseason play again, (Luc Richard) Mbah a Moute, (Ersan) Ilyasova. That’s really important for us. »

The Bucks will get a playoff type test tonight when they take on the team that ousted them from the postseason last year, the Atlanta Hawks.

Tip-off from Atlanta is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST on FSN Wisconsin.