Given the chance to start for the first time in over a month, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute used Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors to break out.
Luc scored a career-high 22 points on 10-of-15 from the field and added a season-high 17 rebounds in place of injured Ersan Ilyasova to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 120-98 win over the Warriors.
Luc got to the basket at will, scoring 22 points on 10-of-15 shots, 14 of which came around the rim (Getty Images).
After the win, Luc credited his success to the lack of size possessed by the Warriors. Golden State recently sent shooting guard Monta Ellis to the Bucks for Luc’s friend Andrew Bogut. But until Bogut returns from his injury, the Warriors presence inside is very limited.
« I was just trying to exploit their bigs, » No. 12 said. « We know they’re not that quick laterally, so just trying to drive them and use the open space. »
Perhaps the most important part of Luc’s performance was that he thrived inside of his comfort zone. With the middle of the floor open for him, the Prince took all but one of his 14 shots from at or near the rim and all 10 that fell came in that space. Brew Hoop’s Dan Sinclair wrote of Luc’s inside success after the game, naming No. 12 one of his « Three Bucks » for the evening.
« Luc scored a career-high 22 points on layup after layup after wide-open layup. It was almost confusing. He also pulled down 17 rebounds (9 offensive), had three steals, and blocked a shot. Luc’s value lies largely in his ability to lock down opponents, but tonight was a showcase of a skill set that extends far beyond defense. »
The 17 rebounds were just two off of Luc’s career-high of 19, which, coincidentally, also came against the Warriors, just over a year ago.
Much like that night, Luc and the Bucks exploited Golden State in the paint in every way possible on Saturday. Watch highlights from Luc’s big night below:
Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles even countered a small Warriors lineup by sending out a unit that included Luc at the center position.
« Once they went small, we were just trying to use that to our advantage, » said Luc, who thrived from the outset.
In the first quarter, No. 12 took four shots and sank each one. He also added six rebounds in the opening quarter alone. Luc wasted no time with his work on the glass. His first board, less than 30 seconds into the game led to Ellis’ first bucket for the Bucks. Moments later, the Prince grabbed another rebound and soon thereafter he scored his first points to put the Bucks in front 4-2.
Luc grabbed two more rebounds during a three-shot sequence with four minutes gone by, but the Bucks couldn’t convert. So Luc took matters into his own hands and his driving layup put Milwaukee up 14-9. Later he knocked down a short jumper to make it 18-9. The Prince added a couple more rebounds and another layup as the Bucks closed the first quarter on a 13-0 run to take a 31-12 lead.
The Warriors cut into Milwaukee’s lead slightly with Luc on the bench to start the second, but upon his return, the Prince got right back in on the fun. His reverse layup, just 28 seconds after his return to the game, gave him 10 points on 5-of-5 and extended the lead back to 15. Despite Luc’s presence Golden State kept trimming away, but No. 12 wouldn’t let his team give away their lead.
After the Warriors had pulled within single digits, Luc asserted himself, grabbing two more rebounds to keep a possession alive. His extra effort led to a Mike Dunleavy jumper to make it 50-39. As the teams traded scores, Luc added a layup and a running jumper, both putting the Bucks up 13. They led 56-43 at half and the Prince was already well on his way to a career night with 14 points on 7-of-7 from the field and nine rebounds.
A miss from 17-feet early in the third quarter ended Luc’s streak at seven shots in a row, but No. 12 didn’t let it slow him down. He picked off two steals in the opening minutes of the second half and helped the Bucks extend their lead up to 17.
He added three more rebounds during an epic possession, as he followed a Brandon Jennings miss with two tip-in attempts. He missed both, but went up a third time to snare another board. As he came down, Nate Robinson forced a tie up. But Luc easily won the jump ball with one of the league’s smallest players and, shortly thereafter, the Bucks turned the Prince’s all-out effort into points.
Luc patrolled the paint on both sides of the ball for the rest of the third and made the most of it, scoring two layups and adding a block. By the end of the third, Luc had 18 points and 12 rebounds, while the Bucks held securely onto a 12-point edge.
No. 12 did not start the fourth, but he did enter just less than four minutes in and began to once again wreak havoc on the Golden State front line. During a 58-second sequence just moments after he entered, Luc snared a rebound, scored a layup and passed an assist to Mike Dunleavy as the Bucks pushed their lead to 19 with less than seven minutes to go.
That lead got up to 20 on Luc’s final point of the night, coming from the free throw line. He added a few more rebounds and a steal before exiting with 3:30 to go and the Bucks leading by 24, a job well done, as Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball wrote:
Luc’s plus-minus rating for the game was +35, just two points ahead of new teammate Monta Ellis, who scored 18 points and who Luc believes is going to fit in well in Milwaukee.
« I thought he did well, » Luc said of Monta’s first game. « He didn’t force his shots and let the game come to him. »
Luc, Monta and the new look Bucks continue their West Coast road trip on Tuesday in Portland where they’ll take on a Trail Blazers team in the midst of a rebuild.
Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. CST and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.
- Milwaukee Obliterates Golden State In Debut Of Monta Ellis (Brew Hoop, March 17, 2012)
- The Warriors aren’t really Warriors if you ask me (Bucksketball, March 16, 2012)
- Ellis wins against former team in debut with Bucks (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, March 17, 2012)
- Friday game report: Bucks at Warriors (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, March 16, 2012)
- The Bucks are winning with offense (Hardwood Paroxysm, March 17, 2012)