Luc Fits in Any Role

On Saturday night in New Jersey, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute displayed the versatility that makes him so valuable to the Milwaukee Bucks.

One night after chasing and challenging Miami’s big three from the small forward position for 41 minutes, No. 12 scooted over and got the start at the power forward position on Saturday as the Bucks took on the Nets. With Andrew Bogut out, Bucks coach Scott Skiles deployed Luc to man the four as Ersan Ilyasova played center.

« Luc is better at the 4 anyway and maybe we can get (Brook) Lopez away from the basket a little bit and spread the floor, » Skiles said. « It’s a tough cover for Ersan to try to deal with him. »

The result was a dominant 115-92 victory for Milwaukee. In the 23-point win, Luc posted a point differential of +24, second best on the Bucks behind only Ilyasova. The two combined to lead the Bucks on both sides of the ball, as Jeremy Schmidt ofBucksketball wrote:

A night after Bogut tied the team record with 20 defensive rebounds, Ilyasova managed a strong game himself in his first start at center this season.  Ilyasova grabbed 12 defensive rebounds (13 total) and did a very good job helping to limit Lopez all night despite Lopez’s significant size advantage.  Ilyasova chipped in 22 points (10-14 FG) and three steals as well and looked comfortable up front with Mbah a Moute, who played well in his more natural power forward spot.

Luc Richard ended the game with a perfect shooting performance (2-for-2 FG), finishing with five points, one block, one board and an assist.

The Saturday win was an important bounce back for the Bucks after a frustrating overtime loss to the Miami Heat one night prior.

It was a terrific all-around game for Luc Richard, who saw 41 of a possible 53 total minutes, in Milwaukee’s 101-95 overtime loss. He shot 5-of-7 from the field, finishing with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, three steals and a pair of blocks.

But it was Luc’s effort on the defensive end that nearly pushed Milwaukee to the win. No. 12 saw plenty of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh throughout the night and he made it difficult on all three. Dan Sinclair of Brew Hoop was sure to give Luc’s defense the credit it deserved in the « Three Numbers » portion of his game recap:

« 31%. The Big 3 shot 18-58 in this game, with LeBron James contributing eight of those makes. Chris Bosh, who actually gets a huge chunk of credit for saving Miami in this game, scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter after getting manhandled by Milwaukee’s defense (credit Luc Mbah a Moute above everyone) for most of the game. Dwyane Wade shot 4-of-19. »

James finished with a team-high 26 points, but it took him 23 shots and nine made free throws to get there. Wade’s night was much worse, as the shooting guard finished with 14 points on 19 shots and just over a handful of free throws.

Though they lost their lead late and fell in extra time, the defensive effort by the Bucks loomed large against the Heat. But that’s just the way they’ve been playing against all comers lately, as Sinclair writes:

« Over their last three games, Milwaukee is holding opponents to a Milwaukee-esque 45.7% shooting from the field, besting their already excellent 48.4 Opp. FG% season average. What really stuck out was how well the Bucks defended LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The Heat shot only 33% within 10 feet, and the Big 3 combined for their worst collective shooting performance of the season, with LeBron and Wade missing 10 of their 13 shots at the rim. »

The Bucks were scheduled to play the Hawks on the road tonight, but due to a severe snowstorm that hit Atlanta, that game has been postponed until March 15th.

Luc and the boys are back in action Wednesday night at home when they host the league-leading San Antonio Spurs at the Bradley Center.

Milwaukee almost pulled off a giant upset of the Spurs last month in San Antonio, but a Manu Ginobili buzzer beater gave the Spurs the win. The Bucks will be seeking payback on their home floor Wednesday night.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.