Lingering question marks around the Bucks ability to close out games loomed large against Dallas, as a depleted Mavericks roster forged an impressive fourth-quarter rally.
Leading 105-103 with 2:39 to play, Milwaukee needed a response and got one immediately from All-Star forward, Khris Middleton.
Scoring eight of the Bucks final 10 points, the 29-year-old closed out the game with two triples and a pair of clutch free-throws to help his team improve to 9-4 on the season.
"That's what Khris does," Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said postgame. "He never really gets rushed, he takes his time, surveys the floor and makes the right read. The trust that I and the team have in him is huge."
The patience of Middleton offensively has impressed another new teammate in Milwaukee, with back-up guard, D.J Augustin comparing him to a Boston Celtics great.
"He kind of reminds me personally of Paul Pierce. Just his pace, how he plays, he can get a bucket whenever we need him to, that's who he reminds me of. He's just an All-Star player."
Tallying 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists, it was the latest big performance from one of the league's most understated stars.
Players averaging 20/5/5 on 45%+ from three
"Just practice at game speed, that's the easiest way," Middleton said of his ability to remain confident in big moments. "Nobody would be shocked about any shot I take because they know I practice them so many times."
Shooting 53 percent from the field thus far this season, the two late triples late snapped a rare cold shooting night for Middleton, as we was just 2-for-7 from deep until the clutch moments.
"The confidence from my teammates and coaches is the most important to myself," Middleton said. "I had a lot of great looks tonight that just didn't fall but not one person told me it was a bad shot, they tell me to keep shooting and stay with it."
The win for Milwaukee tips off a testing three-game stretch, with the new look Brooklyn Nets and then the Los Angeles Lakers on tap later this week. If Milwaukee are continue their winning ways they will likely lean heavily on Middleton once again, with back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo more than happy to share the load.
"He's a great player. Down the stretch when he's hot you got to give him the ball. You've got to give him the ball," Antetokounmpo said postgame without hesitation. "He wants big moments, he wants big shots and we trust he's going to make the right play. He's grown into an unbelievable player, an unbelievable leader and we want more from him every single night."
The rest of the NBA may have been slow to catch up to Middleton's talents, but while he continues to put up monster numbers, neither Khris or the Bucks are going to be too bothered.
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