Comeback Falls Short

Luc Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks used a late rally to turn their opening playoff game back into a contest.

But in the end, the Atlanta Hawks’ 22-point halftime lead was too much to overcome, and Milwaukee fell in Game 1, 102-92, at the Philips Arena.

Luc was his usual self, connecting on four-of-five shooting, grabbing six rebounds and playing terrific defense.

Luc gave Atlanta’s Joe Johnson fits all night (Getty Images).

While Luc Richard was busy holding down Joe Johnson, however, the Bucks had their hands full with Josh Smith. Head coach Scott Skiles left Luc on the court for 31 minutes to guard Johnson, but he understands the team needs to step up on defense, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« Luc did a respectable job on him (Johnson). In our opinion he’s one of the tougher guys to cover in the league. But one of our issues is Luc can only guard one guy. »

Luc Richard saw his minutes decrease toward the end of the season after Andrew Bogut was injured. But with the second season beginning and the importance of defense becoming paramount, No. 12 saw the floor and was a valuable asset for the Bucks on Saturday.

Luc was able to help limit Johnson to 22 points and the Hawks guard reached the foul line just twice. Jeremy from and Alex Boeder from Brew Hoop believe Luc Richard is going to have to keep seeing consistent playing time if the Bucks are going to have a shot.

Jeremy noted that Luc works well with Milwaukee’s other bigs, even with Bogut out:

« Going forward, Milwaukee will need to find a way to keep Luc Richard Mbah a Moute on the floor while keeping other bigs on the court. The LRMAM at the three experiment failed earlier this year, but him next to Ilyasova, Thomas, Salmons and Jennings may be a productive lineup for Milwaukee. Milwaukee made Joe Johnson work very hard for his 22 points and kept him off the free throw line yet again (10-21 FG 2-2 FT). A lot of the credit on that goes to Mbah a Moute. »

Boeder considered Luc one of the Bucks’ top performers Saturday night, including him in his « Three Bucks » section of his write-up.

« Luc Mbah a Moute: 31 min, 8 pts, 4/5 fg, 0/1 ft, 6 reb, 1 stl, 0 to

For better or worse, Skiles seemed determined to get Mbah a Moute his minutes, starting him against Johnson and leaving Delfino to cope with the bigger Smith. It’s tough to argue it was a good strategy in the first, but the Bucks’ starters looked a lot better in the third and overall Mbah a Moute helped limit Johnson to 22 points on 21 shots. »

The Bucks will look to even the series at one each before heading back to Milwaukee when they take the floor in Atlanta on Tuesday night. Game two tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. CST and you can see all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

Finding salvation in game one (Bucksketball, April 18, 2010)…
Atlanta’s quick start dooms Bucks (Brew Hoop, April 18, 2010)
Rally can’t overcome Bucks’ poor first half (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 17, 2010)