Khris Middleton’s final shot vs. Nets draws flak, Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer responds
The Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets took part in what could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday, with the Nets emerging victorious. Despite the criticism that Khris Middleton drew for his possible game-winning shot, Mike Budenholzer defended him after the game, via The Athletic’s Eric Nehm.
Asked Budenholzer about the set they ran to get Middleton a stepback 3 on the final possession and if he thought teams were starting to anticipate it is coming since they've ran it before.
"We're good with the look that we got." – Bud
His full answer: pic.twitter.com/EKuv88b4ea
— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) January 19, 2021
It was a back and forth game between the Bucks and Nets as the fourth quarter rolled around. Both teams were going shot-for-shot late in the game, with Kevin Durant nailing a clutch three-point shot with 37 seconds remaining to give Brooklyn a 125-123 lead.
Following a steal by Brook Lopez with four seconds remaining, the Bucks called a timeout to draw up a final play. The play began with Jrue Holiday inbounding the ball as he swung the ball to Middleton in the left corner.
Middleton would attempt a stepback 3-pointer as time expired in hopes to give Milwaukee a one-point victory. However, the ball would hit the back of the rim and the Bucks would fall to the Nets on the road.
After the shot occurred, some people wondered whether Budenholzer would have liked someone else to take the shot to end the game. On the final play, Middleton was heavily defended and there were other guys open for the Bucks if he were to pass it out.
But with Middleton being Milwaukee’s closer on offense — especially since teams don’t respect Giannis Antetokounmpo’s outside shot — Budenholzer was satisfied with the shot that transpired to end the game. With that being said, Middleton was 0-5 from the 3-point range in Monday night’s contest, with his final one being an ill-timed miss.
Regardless of how the game ended, Mike Budenholzer seems confident in having Khris Middleton take late-game shots, even though teams are expecting him to shoot it.