MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton made a couple of huge 3-pointers and the Milwaukee Bucks overcame poor free-throw shooting to snap the Dallas Mavericks’ four-game winning streak.
Middleton scored eight points of his 25 points in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the Bucks’ 112-109 victory Friday night. Middleton took over after James Johnson’s corner 3-pointer with 3:09 left put Dallas ahead 104-103 — the Mavericks’ first lead since the opening five minutes.
“He’s just a great decision-maker,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He knows to take what the defense gives him. If he’s got a shot, he’s an incredible shot-maker, but he’s an incredible playmaker. … He’s just a great finisher.”
Middleton’s 3-pointer put the Bucks ahead for good at 106-105 with 2:21 left. Middleton hit another 3-pointer 34 seconds later to make it 109-105. He also hit a pair of free throws with 7.8 seconds remaining to finish with 25 points.
“It’s very difficult to call a timeout and go against a Milwaukee set defense out of the timeout,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.
Carlisle added that he thought the Mavericks got two good shots.
“It’s Coach’s decision,” Doncic said. “If we would have made the shot, everything would have been good.”
Jrue Holiday scored 16 points, and Lopez had 11 for the Bucks, with Bobby Portis adding eight points and 13 rebounds. Dallas got 15 points from Porzingis, 13 each from Burke and Johnson, as well as 11 from William Cauley-Stein.
Mavericks: Dallas played without Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson, Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber due to health and safety protocols amid the pandemic. This was the third straight games that Brunson, Finney-Smith and Richardson have missed. Powell and Kleber have been out for two games.
Bucks: Reserve forward Torrey Craig was cleared to return to action, though he didn’t enter Friday’s game. Craig hasn’t played since fracturing his nose Dec. 27. Craig said he’s suffered a similar injury twice before, the difference this time being that he underwent surgery for it. Craig doesn’t like wearing a mask because it reduces his peripheral vision and makes him feel hot but added that “I guess I’ll tolerate it for the next few weeks and see what happens.”