MILWAUKEE — Khris Middleton wasn’t going to let Zaza Pachulia’s tough offensive rebound go to waste.
The Milwaukee center got to Middleton’s missed 3, then somehow maneuvered around a double team to flip a pass back to an open Middleton.
He didn’t miss this time.
Middleton scored a career-best 30 points and hit the key 3-pointer from the corner with 40.8 seconds left, and Milwaukee snapped a four-game losing streak with a 91-85 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
‘"Z’ comes up with a big rebound and makes a heck of a pass to Khris. Khris didn’t even hesitate to knock down that shot," coach Jason Kidd said.
Paul Pierce missed a 3 on Washington’s next possession and Jared Bayless hit two foul shots with 22.2 seconds left to give the Bucks a five-point lead. Pierce also went 1 of 2 from the foul line with 17.6 seconds left.
It was an important win for a young Bucks team after nearly squandering a 60-43 lead with 8:50 left in the third quarter.
"It was a step in the right direction," Middleton said.
Washington finished the quarter with a 20-5 run to cut it to 65-63 going into the fourth quarter. Garrett Temple scored eight of his 11 points in the third.
It was neck-and-neck the rest of the way between two teams vying for playoff positioning in the middle of the Eastern Conference.
Middleton was a difference-maker after shooting 11 of 20, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range. He also grabbed nine rebounds.
"He is their designated shooter and we know that. We should have done a better job concentrating our effort on him, running him off the three-point line," Pierce said. He led the Wizards with 14 points, but was 4 of 15 from the field.
John Wall had 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but was 3 of 14 from the field.
"I think (Wall) is a little bit fatigued," coach Randy Wittman said. "Sometimes that happens. That will bounce back."
Bayless added 13 points for the Bucks off the bench.
A better first quarter might have put Washington in better position at night’s end. Middleton scored 14 points in the first on 6-of-7 shooting, and the Bucks took a 30-19 lead.
"We let him get too comfortable early," Wittman said.