Offense, Defense

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute shined Friday night in the Milwaukee Bucks 95-90 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. No. 12 came just one rebound short of a double-double, and connected on 5-of-9 shooting for 13 points.

Luc Richard was involved in what Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called the play of the game:

« The Bucks’ biggest lead of the night was 58-45, and it came as a result of a four-point play. Center Kurt Thomas stripped 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday of the ball, and Brandon Jennings led a fast-break chance that resulted in a basket for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Philadelphia forward Andre Iguodala was called for a foul, and Mbah a Moute converted the three-point play. When Iguodala complained enough to get a technical, Jennings added one more free throw with 7:29 left in the third quarter. »

On top of a terrific offensive performance, Luc Richard shut down Sixers forward Elton Brand all night. The 76ers star ended the night with just two points on 1-of-7 shooting. Luc talked to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about his strong night:

« I felt like tonight our defense was pretty good early in the game. And I’m just being more aggressive and seeing what the offense gives me. »

Luc Richard quickly became one of the league’s best and most physical defenders this year.

No. 12 makes it clear that individual stats don’t matter. A tough shot is a tough shot, and at the end of the game, a win in a win, as he told Paul Forrester of Sports Illustrated:

« If someone gets 50 [points] but they had to take tough shots all night, I’m happy with that, especially if we win, » the Bucks’ 6-foot-8 forward said. « It doesn’t matter how much they score, because that’s what they’re going to do, so you just have to make it tough on them. »

His ability to use his body, his feet and his long wingspan make Luc Richard a versatile defender as Head Coach Scott Skiles said:

« It all kind of revolves around his feet. He moves very well laterally, so he can get down and guard smaller people. But he’s not afraid to use his body on bigger people. »

Saturday’s 105-90 loss to the Boston Celtics was a possible playoff preview for the Bucks.

If Milwaukee can clinch the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Celts will likely be their first round opponent. Neither team, however, is locked into their spot. Boston is just one game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 3 spot and each team has two games remaining.

Likewise the Bucks are no sure bet for the No. 5 spot as they remain in a deadlock with the Miami Heat, each team sporting an identical 45-35 record with two games to play. The best way for the Bucks to ensure their seeding would be to win out. But that’s easier said than done. Milwaukee closes out the season against the Hawks tonight and the Celtics on Wednesday. One of those two games will be a preview of Milwaukee’s first round series, but it’s not known yet which it will be.

Luc Richard shut down Joe Johnson at the end of the fourth quarter during the Bucks’ last match-up with Atlanta. Luc will look for an encore performance Monday night at home in the Bradley Center as the Bucks try to finish the season strong. Tip-off is at 7:00 CST and you can watch the game on FSN Wisconsin.

The Bucks then get one more look at the Celtics when they close out the regular season in Boston on Wednesday.

Bucks Are Money In Philadelphia (Brew Hoop, April 10, 2010)
Bucks feed off of Delfino’s energy (MJS, April 9, 2010)
Ron Artest among leaders in art of playing NBA perimeter defense (, April 8, 2010)…
Friday game report: Bucks at 76ers (MJS, April 9, 2010)