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. »

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.