Bucks hold off charging Celtics, Magic quench Suns
LOS ANGELES – The Milwaukee Bucks pushed their NBA winning streak to eight games by the skin of their teeth on Wednesday, squandering a 25-point third-quarter lead but holding on to edge the Boston Celtics 121-119.
Khris Middleton scored 27 points and pulled down 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who escaped with the victory when Boston center Daniel Theis’s three-point attempt failed to drop as time expired.
“Man, I thought it was good,” Middleton admitted of Theis’s wide-open effort — which came on the heels of missed attempts from Boston’s Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart. “Great play, great look.”
For most of the night, it hadn’t appeared the Bucks would be cutting it so close.
The Celtics trailed 90-65 midway through the third quarter but cut the deficit to two Jaylen Brown’s three-pointer with 1:32 remaining.
“They made shots, we slowed down, missed some good looks,” Middleton said. “Credit them, they hung in the game, found a way to get back in it and had a chance to win at the end.”
Donte DiVincenzo blocked a Walker layup with 34.8 seconds to play and Brook Lopez blocked a Smart attempt with two seconds to play.
Bobby Portis scored 21 points off the bench for Milwaukee and Lopez and DiVincenzo added 17 apiece for the Bucks, whose two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo had a quiet night of 13 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as he returned after resting his sprained left knee on Monday.
Jaylen Brown paced Boston with 24 points. Walker had 23 and Jayson Tatum, back after missing a game because of illness, added 18.
Orlando guard Evan Fournier drove for the game-winning layup with 6.4 seconds remaining in the Magic’s 112-111 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Magic center Nikola Vucevic put up 27 points and 14 rebounds — his 30th double-double of the season.
Fournier added 21 points and Chuma Okeke scored a career-high 17 off the bench in the dramatic win.
“I’m honestly just very happy about the win tonight because I feel like we deserved it,” Fournier said after the Magic emerged victorious after a fourth quarter featuring five lead changes.
Devin Booker scored 25 points and Chris Paul scored 23 for the Suns, who had won three straight.