Khris Middleton stepped up and led the Milwaukee Bucks in a must-win Game 4 against the Miami Heat on Sunday.
In the Bucks’ 118-115 overtime victory, Middleton drained a 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left in the bonus period and scored a game-high 36 points.
Miami leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series 3-1 at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Bam Adebayo paced the Heat with 26 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Teammate Duncan Robinson poured in 20 points, while Jae Crowder added 18.
In other NBA action on Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets 117-109 to even things up at 1-1 in their Western Conference semifinal series. Anthony Davis had 34 points and 10 rebounds and LeBron James contributed 28 points, 11 boards, nine assists, four steals, and two blocks for the Lakers. James Harden led the Rocket with 27 points, while Eric Gordon scored 24.
Khris Middleton carries Bucks
Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo departed the game in the second quarter due to a sprained right ankle. He finished with 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting in 11 minutes.
In his absence, Middleton was the focal point of the Bucks’ offensive attack.
As a result, he played 48 minutes, eight more than he had played in any contest entering Game 4. He also snared eight rebounds and dished out eight assists.
Khris Middleton scored 21 points in the third quarter.
What was his mindset in the do-or-die duel?
“We’ve got to fight every night to keep on playing,” Middleton told reporters.
The Texas A&M alum added: “Just keep fighting. That’s all my teammates did.”
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said, “Khris is very unique. He’s got a way about him. He wanted to play. He asked to stay in the game.”
A look ahead
The Heat, meanwhile, look to eliminate the heavily favored and top-seeded Bucks in Game 5 on Tuesday.
Miami, the No. 5 seed, set the tone early in the series, starting with a surprise victory in Game 1.