Bucks forward Khris Middleton is a two-time All-Star who shuns the spotlight and animated theatrics.
But in the final two minutes of Milwaukee’s comeback in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night, you couldn’t avoid Middleton’s heroics. He led the Bucks, in front of their hometown crowd, with 10 straight points down the stretch to highlight his 40 points, six rebounds and four assists in Milwaukee’s 109-103 victory over the Suns.
He was 15-for-33 from the field — the most shot attempts he ever hhas taken in the playoffs, while his partner, Giannis Antetokounmpo, had a low-volume evening. Middleton didn’t make this year’s All-Star Game, but he may soon have a championship ring.
When Middleton was asked by a reporter when he knew it would be “a Khris Middleton Night,” Bucks teammate Pat Connaughton interrupted, saying, “Every night is a Khris Middleton Night.”
Of course, if Antetokounmpo had scored 10 straight points down the stretch to win Game 4, there would be calls for a Greek Freak statue to be erected in downtown Milwaukee. (He still may get one because of his block on Deandre Ayton’s alley-oop dunk.)
But Milwaukee won because of Middleton’s soft, feathery sweet jumper late in a game in which the Bucks had trailed throughout.
“It was great,’’ Antetokounmpo said. “He was being aggressive. I kept communicating to him that there were things that we could do to get him wide open, to get him to the elbow jump shot because usually they are helping a lot when he’s turning the corner. But that’s what he does down the stretch. We want him to have the ball. We want him to be the decision maker. We know he’s going to take big shots, and tonight he was incredible. We need him to keep doing it. We are within reach of our goals.’’
Middleton talks softly and carries a wicked jumper, but he may be close to earning superstar credibility if the Bucks win two more games and clinch Milwaukee’s first title since 1972.
“You need somebody who can make those shots,’’ Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He and Giannis in a pick-and-roll, Giannis setting great screens. Khris, I thought he had some good looks kind of early. But then he just stayed with it. Credit to him. A lot of big, tough shots, and then the tough finish in transition. He was special.’’
Regarding the lack of headlines he gets, Middleton said, “I’m sorry, I don’t care what you guys write or what you guys think, whether it’s good or bad. But for my teammates to have the confidence in me, trust in me, that’s most important of alll.”
Originally published at https://nypost.com/2021/07/15/khris-middleton-heroics-saved-the-bucks/ on .