LOS ANGELES – The Milwaukee Bucks battled past a depleted Phoenix Suns with a 132-122 win at the Fiserv Forum.
Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 44 points in a see-saw tussle between last season’s NBA Finals participants.
Middleton’s 16 points in the fourth quarter proved decisive for Milwaukee, who pulled away late on to claim a victory that leaves them third in the Eastern Conference at 40-25.
“He’s such a good scorer,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Middleton. “He makes the right pass, makes the right read, makes the right decision.
“He tends to be the guy that gets us organized. There’s so many more things he does than just score. You need games like that from your best guys, and that was a hell of an effort from Khris.”
Middleton was backed by Jrue Holiday with 24 points while Giannis Antetokounmpo was restricted to a modest 19 points.
Phoenix, missing injured playmaker Chris Paul and Devin Booker (health protocols), had five players in double digits, with Deandre Ayton leading the scoring for the visitors with 30 points.
The Suns remain comfortably in front at the top of the Western Conference with a 51-13 record, leading Memphis in second by 7.5 games.
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