Khris Middleton’s free throw with 0.6 seconds left saved the Milwaukee Bucks from overtime and snapped a five-game losing streak with a 112-111 victory over the Boston Celtics at the Bradley Center.
Middleton finished with 20 points for the Bucks, who got 29 points and 12 rebounds from center Greg Monroe.
Monroe’s hook shot with a second to play seemed to give the Bucks the lead for good, but Jerryd Bayless was whistled for a foul on the other end, and Kelly Olnyk sank two free throws to tie the game at 111.
Avery Bradley, whose 18 paced the Celtics, was whistled on Milwaukee’s inbounds attempt, sending Middleton to the line for the game-winner.
Monroe and point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who had 16 points with six rebounds and five assists, came off the bench for Milwaukee as coach Jason Kidd looked to shake things up for the Bucks, who had lost seven of their last eight overall.
O.J. Mayo started at point in place of Carter-Williams while Mason Plumlee got the nod at center but the lineup switch didn’t last long. Mayo missed a pair of 3-pointers and collected two fouls before going to the bench with 9:02 left in the opening quarter.
Monroe wasn’t far behind, taking over for Plumlee at the 7:33 mark, but he went 2 for 6 from the field and was largely ineffective as the Bucks fell behind by 10 before cutting the deficit to 30-26 heading into the second.
Rashad Vaughn’s 3-pointer put Milwaukee up, 49-46, with 4:45 left in the half and Monroe took over in the quarter hitting 5 of 8 shots to score 11 in the second.
Down one at the break, the Bucks took control of the game in the third, scoring a season-high 40 points and riding a 24-7 run to take a 93-74 game into the final quarter.
Fourteen of Milwaukee’s third quarter scoring came off eight Boston turnovers. Carelessness was a big problem all night for the Celtics, who turned the ball over 18 times but not at all in the final quarter, tying the game at 109-109 on Crowder’s 3-pointer with 23 seconds left.