The Milwaukee Bucks got 35 points from Khris Middleton and a career-high 32 points from Malcolm Brogdon to compensate for the absence of All Star Giannis Antetokounmpo as they made the winning plays late over the Phoenix Suns to escape with a 109-105 victory and hand new interim head coach Joe Prunty his first win.
This game swung back and forth all night, with the Suns carrying a 79-76 lead into the 4th quarter thanks to a 7-0 run to close the 3rd quarter. But with the Suns up 83-78 with 10:26 remaining, Milwaukee went on a 14-2 run to take a 92-85 lead that proved to be the difference. Phoenix would climb back to within a single point on a Greg Monroe 3-point play with 1:49 remaining, but the Suns missed two open 3-point shots on their next possession, gave up a jumper to Middleton, saw Brogdon steal the ball from Devin Booker on a trap, and then had Middleton bury another fadeaway along the baseline to put the Bucks ahead 105-100 with just 24.3 seconds left. The Bucks made their free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Despite a 42-9 differential in bench scoring, the Suns could not control the Bucks’ starters, surrendering 60-percent shooting from the field to that unit. Aside from the huge efforts from Middleton and Brogdon, who returned after missing his last game for personal reasons, Eric Bledsoe had 19 points and seven assists, and John Henson added 10 points.
The Suns struggled all night to free Booker, as the Bucks trapped him at every opportunity. Booker finished with 14 points on 2-of-14 shooting from the field. T.J. Warren had a team-high 23 points, with 10 of those coming in the 4th quarter. Monroe, starting against his former team in place of the resting Tyson Chandler, had 19 points and seven rebounds, and Troy Daniels had 15 points off the bench, including five made 3-pointers. Daniels’ first made 3-pointer of the game in the 3rd quarter gave him a made 3-pointer in 27 consecutive games off the bench, breaking Wesley Person’s team record of 26 consecutive games off the bench with a made 3.
For the game, Phoenix shot 49.4 percent from the field and had 31 assists on 39 made field goals, but they also committed 22 turnovers and allowed Milwaukee to shoot 53.5 percent from the field.