Middleton scores 30 points, Bucks hold off Wizards 91-85
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton wasn’t going to let Zaza Pachulia’s tough offensive rebound go to waste.
The Milwaukee center got to Middleton’s missed 3, then somehow maneuvered around a double team to flip a pass back to an open Middleton.
He didn’t miss this time.
Middleton scored a career-best 30 points and hit the key 3-pointer from the corner with 40.8 seconds left, and Milwaukee snapped a four-game losing streak with a 91-85 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
″‘Z’ comes up with a big rebound and makes a heck of a pass to Khris. Khris didn’t even hesitate to knock down that shot,” coach Jason Kidd said.
Paul Pierce missed a 3 on Washington’s next possession and Jared Bayless hit two foul shots with 22.2 seconds left to give the Bucks a five-point lead. Pierce also went 1 of 2 from the foul line with 17.6 seconds left.
It was an important win for a young Bucks team after nearly squandering a 60-43 lead with 8:50 left in the third quarter.
“It was a step in the right direction,” Middleton said.
Washington finished the quarter with a 20-5 run to cut it to 65-63 going into the fourth quarter. Garrett Temple scored eight of his 11 points in the third.
It was neck-and-neck the rest of the way between two teams vying for playoff positioning in the middle of the Eastern Conference.
Middleton was a difference-maker after shooting 11 of 20, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range. He also grabbed nine rebounds.
“He is their designated shooter and we know that. We should have done a better job concentrating our effort on him, running him off the three-point line,” Pierce said. He led the Wizards with 14 points, but was 4 of 15 from the field.
John Wall had 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but was 3 of 14 from the field.
“I think (Wall) is a little bit fatigued,” coach Randy Wittman said. “Sometimes that happens. That will bounce back.”
Bayless added 13 points for the Bucks off the bench.
A better first quarter might have put Washington in better position at night’s end. Middleton scored 14 points in the first on 6-of-7 shooting, and the Bucks took a 30-19 lead.
“We let him get too comfortable early,” Wittman said.
ONE FOR THE RAFTERS
Four-time NBA All-Star Bob Dandridge’s No. 10 jersey. The Bucks honored a key player from their 1971 NBA championship team at halftime against Washington — the other franchise Dandridge played for and helped win a title in his 13-year career.
Dandridge “became a real player that you could depend on and was tough on the floor,” Hall of Famer and teammate Oscar Robertson said in introducing Dandridge. Robertson singled out Dandridge for his defensive play.
Forward Chris Johnson had an impressive start in Milwaukee after signing a 10-day contract with the Bucks on Friday. He had seven points on 3-of-5 shooting in 21 minutes.
Wizards: Wittman said he held out Bradley Beal as a precaution after the shooting guard played 33 minutes in Friday night’s win over Miami. Beal had played three games in six days since returning from a lower right leg injury that forced him to miss eight contests. ... Washington was trying to win consecutive games for the first time since beating Brooklyn on Feb. 7 and Orlando two days later.
Bucks: Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis, who each played college ball at Syracuse, declined comment when asked about the NCAA’s penalties against the Orange program and coach Jim Boeheim for decade-long violations. “I can’t really comment on how harsh the penalty was or wasn’t because I don’t know exactly what they accusing (Boeheim) of. I am not sure,” Carter-Williams said.
Wizards: At Charlotte on Monday night.
Bucks: Host New Orleans on Monday night.