Bucks beat Suns 109-105 hours after firing Jason Kidd
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 23, 2018 11:55 AM
Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, left, drives to the basket against the Phoenix Suns during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)
By Genaro C. Armas, Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton scored 35 points and hit two long jumpers in the final minute, Malcolm Brogdon added 32 points and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 109-105 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time), hours after firing coach Jason Kidd.
Brogdon added a steal with 40 seconds left after the Bucks double-teamed guard Devin Booker in the backcourt. Brogdon lobbed a cross-court pass to Middleton, who hit a jumper from the left corner with 24 seconds left for a 105-100 lead.
Middleton also hit a fade-away jumper from nearly the exact same spot with defender Isaiah Canaan in his face with 54 seconds left for a three-point edge.
T.J. Warren had 23 points for Phoenix, which has lost 4-of-5.
Kidd was fired hours before the game, ending a three-plus season tenure that included two playoff appearances but stretches of inconsistency on both ends of the floor. Other than a 33-win season in 2015-16, the Bucks hovered around .500 under Kidd as a young core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Brogdon blossomed into top-flight players.
The Suns fell to 17-30, making them an ideal opponent for the Bucks to beat in their first game under Joe Prunty, the former assistant who will replace Kidd the rest of the season.
Prunty was fiery at times on the sideline and jawed with an official, a contrast from Kidd's typically mild-mannered demeanor.
Middleton and Brogdon sparked the Bucks in the closing minutes by dominating in the backcourt.
Eric Bledsoe added 19 points for the Bucks against his former team. He was dealt to Milwaukee earlier this season in a trade that sent Greg Monroe to Phoenix.
Monroe finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Bucks started slow, then used a 24-10 in the first quarter to get back in the game that was tied at 53 at halftime.
Suns: Monroe played for the first time in three games, and his 30 minutes were his most since playing 34 on Jan. 3 (Jan. 4, PHL time) against Denver. Coach Jay Triano said he wanted to give a break to Tyson Chandler, the 35-year old starting center averaging about 26 minutes over his previous nine games. "He has been going hard," Triano said. "We'll give [Monroe] a chance to come back home where he was and see how he plays."
Bucks: Antetokounmpo missed a second straight game with right knee soreness, sticking with a plan put in place by Kidd.
Suns: At the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
Bucks: Host the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).