MILWAUKEE — Khris Middleton scored 35 points and hit two long jumpers in the final minute, Malcolm Brogdon added 32 points and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 109-105 on Monday night, Jan. 22, hours after firing coach Jason Kidd.
Brogdon added a steal with 40 seconds left after the Bucks double-teamed guard Devin Booker in the backcourt. Brogdon lobbed a cross-court pass to Middleton, who hit a jumper from the left corner with 24 seconds left for a 105-100 lead.
Middleton also hit a fade-away jumper from nearly the exact same spot with defender Isaiah Canaan in his face with 54 seconds left for a three-point edge.
T.J. Warren had 23 points for Phoenix, which has lost four of five.
Kidd was fired hours before the game, ending a three-plus season tenure that included two playoff appearances but stretches of inconsistency on both ends of the floor. Other than a 33-win season in 2015-16, the Bucks hovered around .500 under Kidd as a young core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Brogdon blossomed into top-flight players.
The Suns fell to 17-30, making them an ideal opponent for the Bucks to beat in their first game under Joe Prunty, the former assistant who will replace Kidd the rest of the season.
Prunty was fiery at times on the sideline and jawed with an official, a contrast from Kidd’s typically mild-mannered demeanor.
Middleton and Brogdon sparked the Bucks in the closing minutes by dominating in the backcourt.
Eric Bledsoe added 19 points for the Bucks against his former team. He was dealt to Milwaukee earlier this season in a trade that sent Greg Monroe to Phoenix.
Monroe finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Troy Daniels added 15 off the bench for Phoenix
The Bucks started slow, then used a 24-10 in the first quarter to get back in the game that was tied at 53 at halftime.
Suns: Monroe played for the first time in three games, and his 30 minutes were his most since playing 34 on Jan. 3 against Denver. Coach Jay Triano said he wanted to give a break to Tyson Chandler, the 35-year old starting center averaging about 26 minutes over his previous nine games. “He has been going hard,” Triano said. “We’ll give (Monroe) a chance to come back home where he was and see how he plays.”
Bucks: Antetokounmpo missed a second straight game with right knee soreness, sticking with a plan put in place by Kidd.
Suns: At the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Bucks: Host the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.