Khris Middleton suddenly went cold down the stretch against the Washington Wizards.
Fortunately for the Milwaukee Bucks, he kept shooting.
With Giannis Antetotkounmpo fouled out, Middleton bounced back from five straight misses and scored Milwaukee’s final nine points and the Bucks beat Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards 137-134 in overtime.
“It was frustrating,” Middleton said of his cold stretch from late in regulation to early in overtime. “I thought they were easy shots, great looks that I knock down a majority of the time. Going into the timeouts, going back on defense, everybody was just telling me to keep shooting.”
Middleton, who finished with 40 points, hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 30.2 seconds left to give the Bucks a 135-132 lead.
After Beal — who had his second straight 50-point game — made two free throws, Middleton was fouled with 7.8 seconds left and made both attempts from the line to make it 137-134 and Troy Brown, Jr.’s 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer.
“We definitely didn’t want (Beal) to take the last shot,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We feel fortunate that we made one more play than them probably down the stretch.”
Beal, who had a then-career high 53 points in a loss at Chicago on Sunday, topped it with a 55-point effort that included 22 points in the fourth quarter and seven more in overtime.
“I was just locked in and I just was having fun,” said Beal, the first player in franchise history to have back-to-back 50-point games. “Probably the most fun game I’ve ever played in.”
On the day of Kobe Bryant’s Memorial Service in Los Angeles, Beal became the first player since Bryant in March 2007 to score 50-plus points on consecutive days.
“Oh man, that’s crazy,” Beal said. “Didn’t know that. That’s who Kobe was. That was his drive and that ceremony today just brought the feeling, the tears all back again.”
Shabazz Napier added a season-high 27 points for Washington, which has lost three straight. Rui Hachimura, who played a game-high 46-plus minutes, finished with 12 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Antetokounmpo had 22 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out with 1:33 remaining in regulation for the Bucks, who have won 17 of 19.
The Wizards rallied from 17 points down to take a 123-121 lead on Beal’s 3 with 1:01 remaining.
Eric Bledsoe’s free throws tied it and after a miss by Beal, Middleton missed as well. Robin Lopez blocked Hachimura’s layup attempt off a pass from Beal with 2.6 seconds left and Milwaukee’s alley-oop toss at the buzzer failed.
“I probably should’ve shot the ball at the end of (regulation),” Beal said. “Granted Rui (Hachimura) was wide open. I should’ve threw a zip pass to him. I kind of lobbed it to him, so I set him up for failure.”
Middleton had a career-high 51-points in the teams’ first meeting, a 151-131 Milwaukee win on Jan. 28.
Suns 131, Jazz 111
In Salt Lake City, Ricky Rubio had 22 points, 11 assists and seven steals to lead Phoenix past reeling Utah.
In his first game back in Salt Lake City after playing for the Jazz for two seasons, Rubio led an offense that shot 56 percent and seemed a step ahead of the Jazz all night.
Devin Booker had 24 points and 10 assists while Deandre Ayton added 16 for the Suns.
Donovan Mitchell scored 38 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 for Utah. The Jazz made a season-high 37 free throws — on 43 attempts — but looked disjointed while committing 19 turnovers.
76ers 129, Hawks 112
In Philadelphia, Joel Embiid scored a career-high 49 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Tobias Harris had 25 points and the hosts defeated Atlanta.
Missing All-Star Ben Simmons for the second time in three games because of a back injury, the Sixers mixed up their starting lineup and got 15 points from Furkan Korkmaz in a reserve role.
Trae Young led the Hawks with 28 points despite missing nine of 11 from 3-point range. De’Andre Hunter added 22 and John Collins had 21 for Atlanta.
Rockets 123, Knicks 112
In Houston, James Harden scored 37 points, and the Rockets earned their fourth straight victory by topping New York.
Harden had 31 by halftime, helping Houston to a 72-57 lead at the break. He cooled down eventually, but his first-half work put the Rockets in control against the struggling Knicks, who lost their fourth in a row.
Harden, Russell Westbrook and P.J. Tucker arrived at the arena about 70 minutes before tip-off after attending Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service in Los Angeles. Westbrook was expected to play against the Knicks, but was scratched minutes before the game with a sore thumb.
The Knicks got 21 points from RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle added 17 points with 12 rebounds.
In Other Games
Magic 115, Nets 113
Cavaliers 125, Heat 119 (OT)
Mavericks 139, Timberwolves 123
Clippers 124, Grizzlies 97
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