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Milwaukee vs. Phoenix: Bucks Block Out Suns, 132-122

Khris Middleton explodes for 44 points in NBA Finals rematch

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

In an NBA Finals rematch, the Bucks were able to come from behind and knock off the visiting Phoenix Suns, 132-122.

It’d be a sloppy first quarter for the Bucks, who turned the ball over seven times. It’d result in 12 points for Phoenix, and helped them take a three point lead into the second quarter, 33-30.

The Suns would open things to a double-digit advantage throughout the second. Though the Bucks would struggle at times to stay in the game, they’d get hot late in the quarter. A 3-pointer from Khris Middleton with 0.5 seconds left put them down by just several points going into the locker room.

It’d be a gritty one throughout the third, despite Phoenix lacking a chunk of their typical starters. Khris Middleton would really start to come alive for the Bucks, as he had 28 points through the first three. Going into the fourth, the Bucks held a slight advantage, 91-90.

Khris Middleton would continue to pour it on in the fourth. In fact, it seemed like he couldn’t miss. In the end, it was his 44 points that really propelled Milwaukee over the hump and helped the Bucks capture the 132-122 victory.

In addition to Middleton’s 44 points, Jrue Holiday poured in 24 points of his own. Giannis Antetokounmpo would score just 19 points, but that was due to foul trouble.

DeAndre Ayton had a massive outing for the Suns, totaling a team-high 30 points. Cameron Payne contributed with 23 points.

Three Observations

Khris Middleton was simply outrageous.

When Khris Middleton is on one, he’s cooking. Today, he had his own cooking show. He’d erupt for 44 points on 16-of-27 shooting, a performance that included five 3-pointers. It was nearly impossible for him to miss in the final two quarters of play, as with Giannis in foul trouble, he was keeping the Bucks in this one. Not only did Bud praise Middleton’s offense in his presser, but his defense as well — and that’s true. Khris guarded multiple players throughout the afternoon and performed quite admirably. It just speaks to how special of a player he is.

Jordan Nwora had himself a performance.

Sure, it wasn’t his best point total, but he was in there when it mattered the most, and he delivered. He’d total 12 points on the afternoon and would stand tall when the moment shined on him, including some clutch plays late in the game. During Bud’s availability after the game, I asked him what he thought of his contributions:

Serge Ibaka had a solid offensive outing.

In his time with the Bucks so far this season, the standout of Serge Ibaka’s contributions have been from the defensive end. Yesterday, not only did he bring that style of play, but he also made his presence felt on the offensive side of the ball. He’d total 14 points on the afternoon. It’s not likely that he’ll put forth that many points on a nightly basis, but yesterday, it really aided Milwaukee’s chances of winning. And if he does replicate that more often moving forward? It’ll make this Bucks team that much more difficult to defeat.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • With yesterday’s win, the Bucks are now 3-0 vs. the Heat, Bulls, and Suns. The main standout? Their ability to come from behind in all three of those victories. That’s definitely a trait you want your team to have, especially as we come in the final few weeks of the season. That’ll definitely bode well for the postseason.
  • The Bucks have had three players score 20+ points in each of their last four games, which is a season-long streak and was tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history. That streak was broken, and it was only broken by one point, as Giannis totaled 19 points on the afternoon.
  • I mentioned DeAndre Ayton. He was a massive force for the Suns, as he totaled 30 points on the afternoon. He absolutely feasted. Should the Bucks meet Phoenix again later in the season, the Bucks will be hopeful that they have Brook Lopez with them.
  • With Jrue’s 24 point outing, he’s now totaled 20+ points in four straight outings. He’s also shooting the ball extremely well from deep in that stretch, a percentage that sits above 50%.
  • Last, Brook Lopez appears to be getting closer and closer to a return: