Khris Middleton leads short-handed Bucks over Heat to avoid sweep

Sept. 6 (UPI) — The short-handed Milwaukee Bucks avoided elimination by beating the Miami Heat 118-115 in overtime of Game 4 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series Sunday.

Khris Middleton scored 36 points — including a key 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds remaining in the extra quarter — to lead the Bucks over the Heat. He logged 48 minutes in the game and added eight rebounds and eight assists to prevent the sweep.

“Khris is very unique,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He’s got a way about him. He wanted to play. He asked to stay in the game.”

Miami still holds a 3-1 series lead, but the Bucks — the best team in the regular season — stayed alive, even after superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo left early in the second quarter after aggravating his right ankle injury. Antetokounmpo had 19 points and four rebounds in 11 minutes before leaving the game.

“Just keep fighting,” Middleton said. “That’s all my teammates did. … We’ve got to fight every night to keep on playing.”

Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe each had 14 points for the Bucks. Reserve guard George Hill scored 12 points and Donte DiVincenzo added 10.

Bam Adebayo notched 26 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Heat. Sharpshooter Duncan Robinson had 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting from 3-point range.

Jae Crowder finished with 18 points, five boards and three assists for Miami, and Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler each scored 17. Tyler Herro had 11 points in 33 minutes off the bench.

“The reality is, they deserved to win the game,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They were doing things with more force, more consistency.”

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is set for Tuesday.

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