Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks are still clinging to a last shred of hope.
The Bucks snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday night, defeating the New Jersey Nets, 106-95. Combined with a victory by the Philadelphia 76ers over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night, Milwaukee remains three games out of the eighth spot in the East with three to play. They must now finish the season with three straight wins and have Philly lose three straight to make the postseason. The two teams play in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
Luc got the start for Milwaukee and played a season-high 43 minutes in the victory. His previous season high was under 38 minutes. The Prince helped to stifle the Nets on the defensive end by limiting forward Kris Humprhries to just 12 points and seven rebounds.
On the offensive end, No. 12 gave the Bucks eight points on 4-of-9 from the field and dished out two assists. Luc scored four of his eight points in the first quarter as Milwaukee jumped out to the lead. His first bucket — just three minutes into the game — gave the Bucks a 5-4 lead. Later, he got inside for a reverse layup to put them up 13-10. They led 24-23 after one.
New Jersey took the lead on the first play of the second quarter but No. 12 helped Milwaukee even the score by grabbing a rebound and outletting to Brandon Jennings for a layup to tie it at 26.
Luc grabbed three of his seven rebounds in the second and he also added another bucket — a layup off a Mike Dunleavy feed — to give the Bucks a 37-34 lead with just under five minutes left in the half. Milwaukee finished the half on an 18-8 run to take a commanding 11-point lead into the break.
New Jersey made a run at the lead multiple times in the second half —cutting it to just one point twice — but each time the Bucks stood firm and extended their lead as they went on to the 11-point win. In addition to his eight points and seven rebounds, Luc also blocked two shots. Milwaukee was +17 with him on the floor.
« Somebody has to step up and make plays and a couple guys did, » Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. « Luc had a lot of minutes on him. »
The Bucks will look to keep their playoff hopes alive on Monday as they host the Toronto Raptors. The Sixers will be in New Jersey to play the Nets.
A Philadelphia win or Milwaukee loss would eliminate the Bucks from playoff contnention. Tip-off against the Raptors is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT and the game can be seen on FS Wisconsin.
- Bucks beat Nets, but playoff hopes on life support (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 21, 2012)
- Bucks 106, Nets 95 Box Score (NBA.com, April 21, 2012)