National Basketball Association
Milwaukee 109, Dallas 102
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, December 8, 2017
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
#24 Mike Callahan, #67 Brandon Adair, #16 David Guthrie
MILWAUKEE -- A little more than two weeks ago, the Mavericks flat-out humiliated the Milwaukee Bucks, rolling to an easy 32-point victory in Dallas.
For the first 30 minutes of their rematch Friday night in Milwaukee, it looked like the Mavericks might do it again.
But Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe took over down the stretch, combining for 27 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bucks to a 109-102 victory over Dallas at the Bradley Center.
"Khris was great," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said.
Middleton finished with a game-high 31 points and accounted for five of the Bucks' eight 3-pointers. Bledsoe added two more and finished with 24 for Milwaukee, which won for the fifth time in its last six games.
"I just got into a rhythm," said Middleton, who at one point scored 12 straight points. "I was able to create a little bit of space for myself. Most of them were catch-and-shoot 3s. For the most part, I was just able to get space, just find a rhythm and find the open shot."
Wesley Matthews led Dallas (7-19) with 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting, including a 5-of-7 mark from beyond the arc. The Mavericks shot 46.7 percent from the floor but couldn't get stops on the defensive end in the fourth quarter as Milwaukee connected at a 57.9 percent (11 of 19) clip.
"We've got to put together 48 minutes," Matthews said. "Play hard the whole time, the whole way through. Not put ourselves in position for 34 free throws to affect us."
Dallas was also burned by a disparity at the free-throw line. Milwaukee made 29 of 34 attempts while the Mavericks went to the line 26 times, though they made 22.
"There's always going to be disputes on calls and disagreements, but we were physical and they were physical," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "Some of the calls didn't go our way but they were relatively consistent. That's all you can ask for."
Just as they did the last time out, the Mavs took control early and opened up a 10-point lead early in the second quarter when Matthews drained a 13-foot turnaround jumper.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 17 of his 27 in the first half, but the Bucks shot 37.5 percent while the Mavericks made six from distance and were 19 of 39 overall to take a 54-49 lead into halftime.
Milwaukee used a 12-0 run in the final minutes of the third to take a 77-76 lead when Middleton sank a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left in the quarter.
Dirk Nowitzki put Dallas back in front with two free throws and the Mavericks opened the fourth leading 78-77.
Again, the Bucks rallied. Bledsoe scored six points in a 7-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from the corner that put Milwaukee up six with 6:55 left.
A pair of 3-pointers from Matthews helped Dallas tie it at 95, and the Mavericks kept it close until Middleton converted a four-point play with 3:03 to go.
Middleton came up big again a minute later with an open 8-footer. He and Bledsoe each hit two free throws in the final 20 seconds to close it out.
"I don't know if we closed any of the quarters well," Carlisle said. "We had a good cushion in the first and didn't win the two-minute battle in any of the quarters. That's something that's always an emphasis for us. You lose four in a row of those on the road and it makes things really tough."
NOTES: Dallas PG Dennis Smith Jr. was unavailable because of a strained left hip suffered when he fell into a camera operator earlier this week in a game against Boston. Coach Rick Carlisle said Smith would likely miss the next game on Sunday at Minnesota. ... Milwaukee was already playing short-handed because of injuries to Matthew Dellavedova (left knee tendinitis), Mirza Teletovic (knee surgery) and Jason Terry (strained calf) but had to also go without G Tony Snell, who sat with tendinitis in his left knee. G Gary Payton II started in Snell's place. ... After missing the Bucks' last nine games, Dellavedova was listed as questionable but did not see action against the Mavs. ... Milwaukee is 10-4 since acquiring SG Eric Bledsoe in a trade with Phoenix on Nov. 7.
Top Game Performances
Wesley Matthews 29
Khris Middleton 31
J.J. Barea 6
Malcolm Brogdon 6
Harrison Barnes 8
Giannis Antetokounmpo 11
J.J. Barea 4
||Free Throws Made
Giannis Antetokounmpo 11
J.J. Barea 2
Eric Bledsoe 3
Antonius Cleveland 1
Giannis Antetokounmpo 2
Team Stats Summary
Milwaukee will play their next game at home against Utah. The Bucks have a W/L % of .571 after a win and .600 after a loss.
Dallas will play their next game on the road against Minnesota. The Mavericks have a W/L % of .286 after a win and .263 after a loss.