Khris Middleton delivered a big reminder on Sunday that the Milwaukee Bucks are not a one-man team.
Middleton scored 20 of his 38 points in the pivotal fourth quarter to lift the visiting Bucks to a 113-102 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
As a result, the Bucks took a 2-1 series lead, and bounced back from a blowout loss in Game 2. Atlanta superstar powered the club with 48 points.
Milwaukee superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo praised his teammate for his game-defining performance.
“What he did today was unreal,” Antetokounmpo said of Khris Middleton, who added 11 rebounds and seven assists in 42 pulsating minutes. “He was unbelievable. Carried the team at the end. … What I saw today was greatness. Simple as that.”
Young, who scored 35 points, injured his right ankle after stepping on a game official’s foot in the third period. He left the game in pain. Young returned briefly in the fourth quarter. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday.
While Middleton and Young seized attention in this game, Antetokounmpo also produced big numbers (33 points, 11 rebounds).
Middleton owned the fourth quarter
Khris Middleton had the shooter’s touch in the fourth quarter, contributing to his 6-for-12 effort from 3-point range.
After the game, Middleton credited his teammates for putting him in positions to succeed.
“I think our team is so unselfish, if anybody has it going, that ball goes to them. Some games it’s me, some games it’s Giannis, some games it’s Jrue (Holiday),” Middleton told reporters. “We all have a great feel about who has it going, who has the best matchup and who can create the best look.”
Holiday dished out a game-high 12 assists with just one turnover.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer showered praised on Middleton after the game.
“He’s just a hell of a player,” the coach said. “There’s lots of great players in this league, and we know what Khris can do for us and how we can win with him. That’s what’s most important.”
Led by Khris Middleton, the Bucks outscored the Hawks 30-17 in the final period.
After an Onyeka Okongwu dunk put Atlanta ahead 93-88 with 9:29 remaining, the Bucks grabbed the lead (101-98) on a Middleton jumper with 5:13 to play.
Milwaukee led for the rest of the game.