A last-shot win for the Milwaukee Bucks and a Dallas Mavericks team with something to prove took NBA triumphs Tuesday over rivals in tight playoff races.
Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton’s 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the host Bucks an 89-88 victory over Miami while Monta Ellis scored 38 points on 16-of-27 shooting to spark Dallas over visiting San Antonio 101-94.
Middleton’s game-winner, the last of his 13 points, came off a jump ball win from Jerryd Bayless and a rebound and pass from Zaza Pachulia. The basket capped a game-closing 18-3 Bucks run over the final 6 1/2 minutes and allowed Milwaukee to stop a season-long six-game losing streak.
Milwaukee improved to 35-36, boosting the Bucks’ edge over the Heat (32-38) for sixth place in the Eastern Conference to 2 1/2 games. It was Miami’s fifth consecutive road defeat.
Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Milwaukee while Pachulia added 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Dwyane Wade led Miami with 21 points while Goran Dragic added 16.
At Dallas, the Mavericks answered the challenge of coach Rick Carlisle two nights after he questioned their soul as a team.
Dirk Nowitzki had 15 points and 13 rebounds while Chandler Parsons added 15 points for the Mavericks, who fell behind by 14 points in the first quarter before rallying within 46-43 at halftime.
Kawhi Leonard paced the reigning NBA champion Spurs with 19 points while Danny Green added 17 for San Antonio, which had won 10 of 12 prior starts.
The Mavericks improved to 45-27 while the Spurs sank to 44-26 as they fight for the sixth and seventh positions in the Western Conference.