In a game highlighted by big plays and clutch moments on Wednesday night, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was at the center of it all.
Luc pitched in with eight points, six rebounds and three assists, including the game winner at the buzzer, to help the Milwaukee Bucks defeat the Indiana Pacers, 97-95.
Though No. 12 made big plays all night, the signature moment came with just half a second left in the fourth quarter when he tossed a high-arching inbounds pass over the rim where Andrew Bogut tipped it in at the buzzer to give Milwaukee the win.
Luc Richard, a Cameroon native, grew up playing soccer as a young boy and attributes his pinpoint accuracy on the game-winning lob pass to his experience on the pitch, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
« Throw-ins, man, » Mbah a Moute said. « Playing soccer when I was younger. I just used to put it right on their heads. But I haven’t practiced it in a while.
« It was a great touch by Bogues. Sometimes when the ball is right there, the tip-in doesn’t go in. I was just glad it worked for us tonight. »
According to the Journal-Sentinel, the players knew what was coming before coach Scott Skiles called a timeout:
« Bogut said the Bucks knew which play coach Scott Skiles would draw up before they went to the team huddle during the timeout with five-tenths of a second left. And they worked it to perfection, even after a timeout called by Pacers coach Jim O’Brien.
Brandon Jennings set a back screen on Pacers forward Jeff Foster, Bogut rolled to the back of the basket and tipped in the perfect lob from Mbah a Moute.
« It’s not as simple as drawing it up, » Skiles said. « It’s one of those things you work on and only use four or five times a season. »
The win was Milwaukee’s third in five games, all three coming against Eastern Conference Playoff contenders.
« We needed this win big, » Luc told the Journal-Sentinel. « And to have it in this fashion is even bigger for us. Hopefully we can ride that emotional game and help us get out of this funk we’ve been in and start getting some wins over the next few weeks. »
You can check out Luc’s amazing lob here.
PLAY AFTER PLAY
Though the game was decided on a single play, it twisted and turned through the first 47 minutes and 55.5 seconds and eventually became a game that both teams had to have.
Such was the environment over the final several minutes as the game hinged on a series of clutch plays by Luc and his Bucks teammates. Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop described the final minutes of action:
« Indiana grabbed a 91-90 lead on a Danny Granger jumper with 2:33 remaining in regulation. At that point (imagine this) the Bucks had made one field goal in the previous six minutes. And yet Skiles just then inserted Mbah a Moute for Corey Maggette, as clear of a defense-for-offense trade as exists on this team.
From there, Mbah a Moute went on to make a sideline jumper to tie it at 93-93, force Danny Granger to pass the ball away to Hibbert with a chance to win, and make the game-winning pass. »
For his performance and ability to go above and beyond the call of duty, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel named Luc Richard its Wednesday night Player of the Game:
« Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had eight points, six rebounds and three assists, but he made two of the biggest plays of the game. His defense forced Danny Granger to pass on the Pacers’ final possession, and they wound up with Roy Hibbert shooting instead and barely hitting the rim. Then the Bucks forward made the perfect inbound pass to Andrew Bogut for the winning basket. »
The win marked Milwaukee’s sixth straight win over their Central Division rival, Indiana, since the beginning of the 2009 season.
CONTAINING THE KING
One game prior to his late-game heroics, Luc was tasked with defending one of the league’s best players and did his best to lock it down.
No. 12 limited LeBron James to just 17 points and forced James into 16 field goal attempts to get that many. Lebron was also under his usual total in assists with just six.
Unfortunately for the Bucks, there was only so much of Luc to go around and Dwayne Wade burned them for 25 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in the 88-78 Heat win on Monday night.
Along with his suffocating defense, Luc Richard posted four points and three boards in 23 minutes.
The Bucks won’t have long to savor their thrilling Wednesday win, as they’ll host the Houston Rockets on Friday night at the Bradley Center.
After a great all-around performance by Luc Richard on Wednesday night he’ll be needed back on the defensive end Friday to shadow Rockets forward Luis Scola. Scola is coming off a 35 and 12 performance versus the Pistons on Wednesday night, but he’ll have a long night ahead of him trying to get past The Prince.
Friday’s tip off is at 7:30 CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.