Giannis Antetokounmpo overcame poor free-throw shooting to score 31 points, Khris Middleton hit two late 3-pointers and the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Dallas Mavericks 112-109 on Friday night
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo overcame poor free-throw shooting to score 31 points, Khris Middleton hit two late 3-pointers and the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Dallas Mavericks 112-109 on Friday night.
The Bucks improved to 9-4, winning their fourth straight and snapping the Mavericks’ winning streak at four.
Both teams wasted plenty of opportunities from the foul line. The Bucks were 12 of 25 on free throws, with Antetokounmpo going 1 of 10 and missing all seven of his fourth-quarter attempts. Dallas was 6 of 13.
Middleton scored 25 points for the Bucks.
Luka Doncic had 28 points and 13 assists for Dallas, and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 22 points.
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.
Middleton made a 3-pointer to put the Bucks ahead for good at 106-105 with 2:21 left. He hit another 3-pointer 34 seconds later to make it 109-105.
Doncic cut it to two with 1:38 left, but Brook Lopez blocked Doncic’s driving layup attemptwith 1:02 remaining. Trey Burke and Kristaps Porzingis missed 3-point shots that could have put Dallas ahead in the final minute.
Dallas had one last chance when Lopez missed his second of two free-throw attempts to keep the score at 112-109 with 1.6 seconds left. Doncic got the rebound and got about one-third of the way up the court before his desperation attempt at a tying 3-pointer bounced off the left side of the backboard.
That enabled the Bucks to beat one of the few NBA team’s that has had their number lately.
The Mavericks entered the night having won 11 of the last 14 regular-season meetings with the Bucks. Dallas also swept two preseason matchups in Milwaukee last month.
Milwaukee went 0-2 against Dallas and 56-15 against the rest of the NBA during the 2019-20 regular season.
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.”
Bucks: At Brooklyn on Monday.
Mavericks: Host Chicago on Sunday.
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