Locking Down Lakers

Tasked with defending one of the league’s elite scorers, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute did some of his best work of the season on Saturday night and helped the Bucks to a big win.

Luc lived up to his « Lockdown » moniker limiting Los Angeles Lakers stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol as the Bucks routed LA 100-89 at the Bradley Center.

After forcing Kobe Bryant into a turnover, Luc took off with the steal for a rim-rocking jam (Getty Images).

With Stephen Jackson and Andrew Bogut both out for the Bucks, No. 12 saw an increased role with the Bucks and excelled. Luc played a season high 38 minutes and was very aggressive in his time on the floor. He led the Bucks in free throw attempts with six and scored a season high 10 points.

But it was once again his defense that stood out in a Bucks win. The Prince spent much of the game locked up on Bryant, and though the Lakers scorer still found a way to score 27 points, he had to work hard for every one of them.

« We tried to make him have a tough night and we succeeded, » Luc Richard told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. « It was a collective effort by the whole team. Carlos started the game trying to get him off his spots and me finishing up. »

Luc and Co. forced Bryant into 21 tough shots and also made him pass, as evidenced by Bryant’s uncharacteristically high nine assists.

« We did as good a job on their key guys as we could, » Coach Scott Skiles. « I thought we were outstanding on Kobe and he almost had a triple-double. In particular Luc – he did what Luc does. »

Luc also rotated over to Gasol often and helped the Bucks limit the Lakers’ other star to just 12 points on 18 shots. As a unit the Bucks held LA to just 50 percent shooting in the paint, an area where the Lakers generally excel. And they did so without their primary interior defender.

« It means a lot, especially with Bogut not being there, » Luc told the Associated Press. « He’s always our anchor down there in the front line. For us to go out there and make it tough on a guy like Gasol, it’s big. That’s probably the reason why we won the game. »

Luc in particular was noted for his stellar job on Gasol, who the Lakers tried to feature with the absence of Bogut to no avail.

After playing for 39 minutes and coming away with just 12 points, Gasol left the Bradley Center very frustrated by No. 12 and the Bucks.

« In the first half, we did a decent job. In the second half, there were not many touches, » Gasol said. « They were beating us all over the court. »

Luc didn’t only make big plays on defense; he also scored the biggest bucket of the game. The Bucks led 85-76 after an inside score from Ersan Ilyasova with just under eight minutes left, but Bryant scored five straight points to cut the lead to four at 85-81. The Prince calmly answered with a 15-footer from the left wing with 4:30 left, starting an 8-2 Milwaukee run that helped secure the victory.

The win followed up a tough loss for the Bucks on Friday night in Chicago. Luc got the start, but played just 12 minutes and scored four points in the defeat.

Luc has now started four consecutive games for Milwaukee, including a win over the Rockets on Wednesday, in which he chipped in two points, four rebounds, an assist and a steal. He helped the Bucks limit the Rockets to just 40 percent from the field in the 105-99 Milwaukee win.


The Bucks continue a three-game homestand tonight when they host the Detroit Pistons at the Bradley Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.