NBA regular season

Middleton nets 44 as Bucks defeat Suns

Middleton nets 44 as Bucks defeat Suns

DO IT ALL. Khris Middle stuffs the stats sheet in another Bucks win.

Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Three-time NBA All-Star Khris Middleton shows the way for the Bucks en route to their fourth straight win

Khris Middleton scored a season-high 44 points as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the visiting Phoenix Suns, 132-122, to extend their win streak to four games on Sunday, March 6 (Monday, March 7, Manila time).

The three-time All-Star also added 8 rebounds and 5 assists on 16-of-27 shooting to even the two-game season series with the Suns. It was Phoenix’s first loss on the road since February 3.

Following their late-game rally against Chicago on Friday, the Bucks once again peaked late, outscoring the Suns 14-4 over the final 3:32.

Jrue Holiday contributed 24 points and 9 assists, and Giannis Antetokounmpo chipped in 19 points and 13 rebounds to record his seventh consecutive double-double, although he was held to just 2 points in the second half before fouling out late in the fourth.

Deandre Ayton paced the Suns with a season-high 30 points and 8 rebounds on 14-of-19 shooting. Cameron Payne once again stepped up in Chris Paul’s absence with 23 points and 8 assists. Jae Crowder supplied 19 points and Landry Shamet had 17.

Despite being without Devin Booker and Cam Johnson as well, Phoenix was efficient from three-point range, shooting 45.2% from deep (14-of-31).

The Suns went into the break with a 63-60 lead thanks to 17 points from Ayton and 14 from Shamet. They had led by 10, but a 9-2 run from Milwaukee over the final 1:26 of the half narrowed the deficit.

Antetokounmpo and Middleton both tallied 17 points through the first 24 minutes of action, and Serge Ibaka added 9 off the bench. Turnovers proved to be costly for the Bucks, who committed a total of 11 compared to Phoenix’s 4.

After allowing at least 30 points in the third quarter in five of its last six games, the Bucks outscored Phoenix 31-27 to head into the fourth with a one-point advantage.

Both teams found their offenses early in a first quarter that featured 10 lead changes. Milwaukee shot 66.7% from the field and the Suns shot 52%. –