Khris Middleton drops career-high 30 as Bucks top Wizards


On a night when the Milwaukee Bucks were honoring one of the top wing players in franchise history, it was a present-day perimeter performer who stole the show.

They raised Bob Dandridge’s No. 10 to the rafters Saturday night at BMO Harris Bradley Center as Khris Middleton scored a career-high 30 points in the Bucks’ 91-85 win over the Washington Wizards.

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The Bucks (33-29) held a 17-point lead over the struggling Wizards (35-28) before Washington roared back to grab a one-point lead with 1:53 remaining on John Wall’s layup.

Wall was banged by Ersan Ilyasova on the play, but Wall missed the free throw and Ilyasova atoned on the other end, scoring on a drive to give the Bucks the lead back at 84-83.

Garrett Temple split a pair of free throws for Washington and Middleton put Milwaukee up for good with a second-chance 3-pointer with 40.8 seconds remaining.

Middleton got a shot from 3, but missed it. Zaza Pachulia tracked down the offensive rebound and kicked the ball back out to Middleton, who didn’t miss his second look.

Jerryd Bayless, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, hit four straight free throws down the stretch as the Bucks snapped a four-game losing streak and climbed to within 1½ games of the fifth-place Wizards in the Eastern Conference.

“I kind of saw it was short and his guy came to me,” Pachulia told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of the key offensive rebound. “Nene and (Marcin) Gortat both were on me and I saw Khris was wide open in the corner.

“I tell you what, he missed the one. It’s Khris Middleton. I’ll put everything I have on him making the second one. Especially with the night he had [Saturday night]; he was unbelievable.”

Middleton also had a career-high six 3-pointers, going 6-for-9 from long range.

Mar 7, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Jerryd Bayless (19) drives for the basket between Washington Wizards guard Ramon Sessions (7) and forward Drew Gooden (90) in the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

“We just need him to play his game,” coach Jason Kidd said. “We’re not looking for him to do anything more. The ball will find him. He’s having a heck of a season.

“He was having a heck of a season before the trade. Being able to knock down shots and he’s not a secret anymore in this league. We just need him to be himself. You can see he’s growing with confidence and playing both ends extremely well.”

Middleton is averaging 16.5 points per game in his last 10 games, raising his season average to 12.1 points per game.

The victory left the Bucks with a 1-2 mark against Washington this season; Milwaukee had lost a pair of games to the Wizards in November.

Michael Carter-Williams finished with 12 points and nine assists for the Bucks and Ilyasova dropped in 10 points. Middleton also had nine rebounds, while Pachulia only scored four points, but grabbed eight boards and dished five assists.

Chris Johnson made his debut for Milwaukee, scoring seven points on 3-of-5 shooting in 21 minutes. John Henson came off the bench to block four shots and corral seven rebounds in 23 minutes.

Paul Pierce scored 14 points to lead Washington, which shot just 38.3 percent from the floor. Wall and Temple had 11 points each, with wall getting nine boards and six assists. Gortat and Ramon Sessions score 10 points apiece. Drew Gooden finished with 10 rebounds and Gortat ripped down nine.

At halftime, Dandridge’s number was officially retired. Dandridge, a fourth-round pick out of Norfolk State in 1969, was with the Bucks for nine of his 13 NBA seasons, spending the other four with Washington.

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  • He won titles for both teams, with Milwaukee in 1971 and with the then-Washington Bullets in 1978.

    Dandridge, a three-time All-Star with the Bucks, is the franchise’s all-time leader in minutes played and is fifth in team history with 11,478 points.

    Unfortunately, the event didn’t go off without a hitch. The banner listed Dandridge’s time with the club as 1969-77 and 1980-81. He was with the team from 1969-77, but his final season with the Bucks was actually 1981-82, so the banner will have to be corrected at some point. It is embarrassing, but not fatal, as far as errors go.

    The Bucks play the second of three straight home games on Monday when they host the New Orleans Pelicans (34-29), who beat the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday night, 95-89.

    It will be the first meeting of the season between the Bucks and Pelicans, who swept Milwaukee last season and have won three straight overall against the Bucks.

    Next: Bucks add Chris Johnson on 10-day deal