Luc Richard Mbah a Moute says his knee injury is progressing, but not sure when he’ll be ready

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There are a lot of relatively new pieces in Milwaukee. Samuel Dalembert is the true center they’ve been shopping for since Bogut started having injury issues, John Henson’s an exciting rookie that they have to figure out where he goes, and Monta Ellis is still new to the team having only joined them at the deadline. But Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has been in Milwaukee a while and the Bucks will be counting on him to provide some stability to the forward position along with his superb defense and off-ball play.

LRMaM had a knee injury last season that severely limited his mobility and he finally had surgery on it this summer. Mbah a Moute told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he’s progressing as he should, but that he’s not sure when he’ll be available for the start of this season, in training camp or the regular season.

“I feel good. The knee is getting better,” Mbah a Moute said. “I’m right on track to be back for the beginning of the season. I’m just excited to be healthy again.”

Mbah a Moute was a restricted free agent last year during the lockout and got a late start with the Bucks due to his contract situation, as Milwaukee matched a four-year, $19 million offer made by the Denver Nuggets. Then he immediately encountered problems with his knee, problems that continued throughout the season and limited him to 43 games (22 starts).

“At this point I’m not sure,” Mbah a Moute said of being ready on the opening day of training camp in early October. “My goal is to be ready for camp, but if not, make sure I’m ready. I don’t want to rush that.”

via Mbah a Moute making progress with knee – JSOnline.

The Bucks have the forwards to be able to handle his absence until he’s good to go, even if they’re a little light on the wing with Carlos Delfino signing with Houston. But LRMaM should give the Bucks a great weapon on both ends of the floor, slicing backdoor while Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova run the pick and roll, and finishing little plays, something he was terrific at last season. Defensively is where he makes his mark, though. And for a team that took a step backwards in their roster makeup to try and add some firepower, he’ll be relied on to contain the other team and see if the offense can get them home. He just has to get right first.

 

Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins not into “all that new stuff” like Chewbacca

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Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.

Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.

After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).

That’s vintage Perkins.

Celtics’ Terry Rozier on Game 3: “We needed to get our butts whooped”

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Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.

Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:

“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.

Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”

Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.

From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.

Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.

When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.

PBT Extra: Can Rockets take Game 2 energy, execution on the road?

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Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.

Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?

That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

Cavaliers cruise past Celtics in Game 3, change complexion of Eastern Conference finals

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The Cavaliers were heavy favorites over the Celtics entering the Eastern Conference finals. LeBron James has dominated the East for years, and Cleveland appeared to hit its stride in a sweep of the Raptors last round. Boston was shorthanded and inexperienced.

Were the Celtics’ two wins to open the series, as impressive as they were, really enough to override everything else we knew about these teams?

The Cavs walloped Boston in Game 3, 116-86, Saturday. Cleveland now has four of the NBA’s last five 30-point playoff wins – two against the Celtics last year, one over Toronto last round and tonight. (The Cavaliers lost the league’s only other 30-point game between, to the Pacers in the first round.)

Boston still leads the series 2-1, and teams up 2-1 in a best-of-seven series have won it 80% of the time.

But the team up 2-1 is usually the one seen as better entering the series. That isn’t the case here, not with LeBron on the other side. And the leading team usually isn’t so woeful on the road, which will remain a major storyline entering Game 4 Monday in Cleveland.

The Celtics bought themselves margin for error, but they blew a lot of it tonight.

It’d be an oversimplification to say the Cavs just played harder, but they did, and it went along way. They chased loose balls, tightened their defense and moved more off the ball offensively. Cleveland jumped to a 20-4 lead, led by double digits the rest of the way and spent most of the game up by at least 20.

LeBron (27 points, 12 assists, two blocks and two steals) dazzled as a passer and locked in as a defender. He received help from several players:

In a low-resistance effort, Boston didn’t goon up the game at all.

The Cavaliers still have plenty of work ahead to reach their fourth straight NBA Finals, but tonight, they showed a path to advancing. Climbing out of their early series deficit now looks far less intimidating.