The playoffs start Saturday and everyone here in Milwaukee is ready. It’s a great feeling. There are a lot of players who go through their whole careers without even getting to this level. For me to be able to enter the playoffs in my second year is definitely something I’m happy about. Hopefully it works out well for us. If we play hard, we’ll have a lot of success.
I’ve played postseason basketball before and for three seasons at UCLA we went to the Final Four, but obviously it’s a lot different here in the NBA. It’s a different situation because in the NCAA Tournament, its pretty much win or go home. You lose a game and you’re done. Here in the pros, you’ve got a whole seven game series so a lot of things can happen to cause momentum changes, injuries and different things throughout the whole series.
But something that’s key, the mindset that you have to have from beginning, it that you have to be ready at all times for the whole series. Having postseason experience is good, because I’ve been in a situation where it’s the end of the season and we’re playing for something big.
Luc has been bringing it at both ends of the floor (Getty Images).
You want to be in that situation. That means you had a successful season up until that point. So, having that mentality, knowing that you have to go hard pretty much every day because every game could be your last, is definitely going to help me during the playoffs.
We get matched up with Atlanta and we’ve already had some good battles with them this year. They are a team that does a lot of different things. They switch a lot defensively and give you us a lot of different sets to look at.
The ability to compete is going to be big for us. Every time we’ve played them, we’ve always come out and competed. That was good, but we need to step it up even higher in the playoffs. I’ll have a particularly tough matchup that I’ll have to step up for.
Joe Johnson is very tough to guard, obviously. He’s one of the best in the league. Sometimes I think he’s underrated. He’s a special player and he’s just got so much talent. The best way to guard him is to just give him different looks. You can’t feed him the same diet. You have to be physical with him sometimes. You have to be quick. You have to change personnel and give him a bunch of different looks, try to make it tough for him.
When you’re in college, you just watch games and you don’t really understand how good guys are or what it takes to defend certain guys. So I didn’t understand much about him until my rookie year, I got get a little bit of a feel for Joe. But he’s a tough player. It’s a real tough matchup and hopefully our team will come up with a good scheme to go against him. Hopefully we’ll be successful in that.
The veteran guys on this team, Jerry Stackhouse and John Salmons have tried to prepare us for what we’re about to experience. It’s going to be much more intense and it’s going to be crazy.
But I don’t think anybody can tell you how it is. You just have to experience it yourself. I’m excited about that, just having the opportunity to go out there and experience it myself. They can try to tell you everything about it, but you don’t really know until you experience it yourself. They’re just trying to get everybody to stay focused and ready, stay engaged and be prepared for the whole series.
A FAMILY OF FANS
We have a really really good fan base here in Milwaukee. The people are very supportive of our team and some of our players, especially me. I feel like I have a good support group here, the fans have embraced me. I’m really happy for that.
Recently, I’ve been able to meet fans through Twitter giveaways and given out t-shirts like my Moute Kicks Boute T-Shirt. I did a ticket giveaway recently on Twitter and the response blew me away. It was surprising really, because I didn’t give any notice. I just did it one night. It was amazing how fast those people answered the questions, how well they knew me and knew all the answers to the questions I was asking. I think I might do another one during the playoffs.
It’s been a lot of fun and it’s a great way to interact with the fans and develop that relationship. Having that type of relationship with these people is important to me. You obviously want your fans to be behind you at all times. Developing a good relationship with them is the first step. Once you have that relationship with them, they get to know you better. They know sometimes you’ll have a bad game and they understand.
It’s kind of like your relationship with anybody in your family. Some days you’re going to be great and some days you’re going to be bad, but as long as you have a good relationship with those people and you understand that you’re on the same page, going in the same direction, it’s a good thing.
Luc will play a key role defensively when it comes to stopping the Hawks (Getty Images).
The people in Milwaukee are very characteristic of people from the Midwest. People from the Midwest are very nice people. They’re very warm and welcoming. They care about other people. You see the fans out there and they care a lot about how we’re doing they are here through good and bad.
The fans in Milwaukee, they’ve always been there, despite the bad years they’ve had. They have always been there. Once you have success, it’s also good for them. It shows in how important they’ve been to our run and the success we’ve had this year. I think we won like 28 games at home this year and it’s all because of those fans. They’ve been great.
They support us through the game from the beginning. They have stuff like Squad 6, which is Andrew Bogut’s section, and it’s pretty much like a student section in college. They’re up cheering the whole game.
It’s really amazing to see all those fans coming to the game with their different signs, the Fear the Deer movement and my Moute Kicks Boute shirts. Those people have embraced us and keep cheering us on,
supporting us throughout this whole season.
Bringing playoff basketball back to these people is huge for us. This city hasn’t been to the playoffs in a while and just brining back that atmosphere to the city, it will be great. I think it’s going to be good for the fans and for everybody involved.
Everybody is happy and everybody is excited. They can’t wait for the playoffs so hopefully when it comes, we can get everybody at the game and we get it crackin’.
AN EVEN GREATER CHALLENGE
We lost a big part of our team when we lost Andrew to that elbow injury.
It’s always tough when you have a player like Andrew go down. You really can’t replace him. The guy has been big, arguably the most improved player in the league. The way he’s been dominant defensively for us and on offense he’s given us that big presence inside too. It’s tough to lose that.
But it happens. It just means somebody else, and in this case everybody else, needs to step up. Everybody here has to do a little more. That doesn’t mean one person has to score 15 points and get 11 rebounds like Andrew does. It just means we each have to do a little bit more of what we do and be more focused.
For me, it’s about doing pretty much the same thing. Just grab an extra rebound or grab an extra loose ball defensively to get us an extra possession. We have to be solid and sound as a team, be there to have everybody’s back, be more aggressive on offense and do everything we can to help the team win.
Offensively, I think things are coming around for me personally. Sometimes it’s tough being out there in different situations with different lineups. It’s sometimes hard to get yourself going, but for the most part, it’s been going well. I’m out there making plays and helping the team. I find myself facilitating most of the time, but I take my chances when they present themselves. I just have to continue to work and get better.
I think we have a chance here. We need to just come out and play hard. If we fight hard, play good defense and we lay it all out on the table, we’ll see where it goes. If we can do that, I like our chances. But we have to do it. We have to come out every game, play hard and lay it all out on the table.