Things haven’t come easy for the Milwaukee Bucks this season, but Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has been there to smooth out some of the rough patches.
The Bucks are on the cusp of the No. 8 playoff spot. Luc Richard knows that this team will have to keep their heads down and work harder. A pep talk from Bucks’ owner Herb Kohl could be just what the team needed.
Kohl spoke to the team on Monday, and they responded on Tuesday with a 92-74 win over the Toronto Raptors.
« (Kohl said) that it’s time, » Luc told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. « It’s time to start putting wins together. We have 33 games left and right now we’re not in the playoffs. We have the potential. We have a good team. We have good players. We can make the playoffs, so it’s time to go out there and play like we want to make the playoffs. »
The pep-talk seemed to motivate No. 12 in particular, who had his second big night in a week.
Luc Richard posted his fifth double-double of the season against Toronto, and second in three games, finishing with 10 points, and out-rebounding everyone else on the court (14 boards) in just 29 minutes of play off the bench. Luc explained his effort to the Journal-Sentinel:
« I was just trying to do a little more to get the win, » he said. « We needed to get out of this losing streak. I had opportunity to get rebounds, so I was trying to get extra possessions for the team. »
When told of his stats for the night, Luc said there was only one stat that mattered to him:
« It’s better to see that we won by however much we won by, » he said.
With injuries to starters throughout the year, Luc Richard has proven time and time again that he is able to adapt to any role that the team throws at him, as illustrated in Tuesday’s victory. Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop has been quick to give the Prince credit when credit was due, and Tuesday night was no different,
« Luc Mbah a Moute. Without looking at the numbers, The Prince had a nice game. Looking at the numbers, The Prince had a nice game. On a rare night when the Bucks were not misfiring on the vast majority of their shots, Mbah a Moute gathered a healthy portion of those that did miss the mark. Mbah a Moute pulled down seven offensive rebounds, and a quick dig through the play-by-play reveals that he personally scored six points directly off his own offensive rebounds.
And the box score won’t show any steals or blocks, but Luc defended an oversized Andrea Bargnani capably, often pushing the seven-foot Italian away from the hoop. Usually it looks like Bargnani doesn’t need much encouragement to hang out near the perimeter, but he barked at the official at one point after getting muscled out of the lane by Luc, who also helped hold Amir Johnson to 5 points. Meanwhile, Mbah a Moute totaled 10 points on 6 shots along with 14 rebounds as the sixth man extraordinaire. »
Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball gave Luc some acclaim for his defense on the Raptors’ big man:
« Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Mbah a Moute split the duty on the Raptors center. When Bargnani had Mbah a Moute on him, he would often take him to the post, only to realize he wasn’t strong enough to back down the Bucks forward. He settled a number of times for turnaround jumpers or fadeaways that had little chance. »
The Tuesday night win snapped a four-game losing streak, but the Bucks couldn’t carry that momentum on the road and fell on the second half of a back-to-back in Washington to the Wizards, 100-85 on Wednesday night.
SETTING A STANDARD
During the Bucks’ first game of 2011 (January 1st) against the Dallas Mavericks, Luc Richard was diagnosed with a mild concussion after butting heads with a Dallas defender.
The incident opened Luc’s eyes in more ways than one.
No. 12 not only missed no games, but played a game-high 42 minutes just three days later against the Miami Heat.
Other professional sports leagues like Major League Baseball, and more prevalently, the National Football League, have been issuing new standards when it comes to concussions. Luc Richard believes that the NBA needs to follow suit.
While the Prince’s concussion was mild, he believes that there is room for improvement when it comes to testing, as Luc explained to the Associated Press.
« I didn’t have to do any tests because we were on the road and doctors were here, » Luc said. « They just asked me how I was feeling, and I told them I was feeling better. They were like, ‘You’re fine. »‘
Mbah a Moute said he knocked heads with a Dallas defender on Jan. 1 and returned three days later, despite some soreness on his left side of his head. The experience has made him think there should be a league-wide policy to handle every concussion.
« There should be standards in the NBA. You need to do these tests and pass these tests before you can come back on the court. Bottom line. We definitely don’t get as bad concussions as football and other sports, but a concussion is a concussion. It’s a serious injury and there should be tests. »
No. 12 said it’s a matter of making sure the player is safe short and long-term:
« I think it’s only right. It doesn’t cost anything. It’s something that people should want to do if you have a concussion, » he said. « I would want to do those tests to make sure I’m OK, to make sure I’m ready to be back on the court and not expose myself again. »
To read more about concussions in the NBA, click here.
The Bucks wrap a short two-game road trip on Friday when they take on one of the Western Conference’s most improved teams, the Memphis Grizzlies.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.
But after Friday, the Bucks can look forward to playing eight of their next nine games on their home court in Milwaukee.
The Bucks are three-and-a-half games back of the No. 8 spot in the East behind the division-rival Indiana Pacers, and should be prepared to use their homestand to gain some ground.
That home stretch starts against the Pacers on Saturday at 7:30. You can see that game on FSN Wisconsin as well.
- Milwaukee defends home court (Brew Hoop, Feb. 9, 2011)
- Bucks’ Mbah a Moute wants concussion protocol in the NBA (NBA.com, Feb. 9, 2011)
- Kohl to Bucks: « It’s Crunch Time » (American Chronicle, Feb. 9, 2011)
- Bogut provides spark for Jennings (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Feb. 8, 2011)
- Further distancing themselves from the bottom (Bucksketball, Feb. 8, 2011)