Starting Assignment

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute didn’t take long to impress his coach Scott Skiles.

Luc returned to action over the weekend following an eight-game absence, coming off the bench in Bucks wins at New York and Miami He played 24 and 28 minutes, respectively, while giving his usual stellar effort defensively against a variety of opposing standouts. According to Skiles, the performance was enough to merit insertion back into the starting lineup.


Luc played strong on Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, but the Bucks couldn’t stretch their winning streak (Getty Images).

So when the Bucks took the floor on Monday against the Atlanta, there was looking starting at power forward. No. 12 played 20 minutes and tallied eight points and four rebounds, along with his usual tough defense of Hawks scorers Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. But Milwaukee couldn’t hold the lead late and fell 97-92.

« I don’t know how many guys there are in the league that can on one night — D-Wade didn’t play — but he could have guarded Wade, LeBron (James) and (Chris) Bosh in the same game, and then turn right around and guard Josh Smith and Joe Johnson in the same game. » Skiles told the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel. « There aren’t many guys who can do that. »

Though his defense was the deciding factor in his start, the Bucks ran some offense through Luc early on Monday. He took four shots in the first six minutes of the game, sinking two to help the Bucks keep pace with the fast-starting Hawks. The Prince also had two rebounds in the first, but after one Atlanta led 28-23.

After a breather on the bench, Luc re-entered the game with 4:21 to go in the half and wasted no time leaving his impact on the game. His jumper at the 4:05 mark put Milwaukee ahead 40-39. He added a putback with a minute-and-a-half to go, pushing the Bucks in front 46-45. The teams went to halftime tied at 48.
Milwaukee took leads in the third and fourth quarters, but with Luc on the bench in the fourth, Johnson got to the foul line on four separate occasions in the final four minutes to lead Atlanta to victory.

« He felt like they had a good flow out there, » Luc told the Journal-Sentinel of Skiles’ going with four reserves along with starter Jennings for the fourth quarter. « They did a good job. It was a close game. We had a chance to win the game, but Joe Johnson came back and made some tough shots and Josh Smith made that three at the end. »

Though No. 12 played fewer minutes in the second half, Skiles said his knee made it through fine.

« I’m not real concerned with that; maybe that’s something I should think about a little bit more. I don’t want him to have a setback, » Skiles said. « As long as he’s not complaining of anything to the trainers, we’ll keep on playing him. »

NEXT UP

Luc and the Bucks are back on the road tonight as they hit Houston to take on the Rockets. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST on FSN Wisconsin.

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