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Khris Middleton stars as Bucks crush Wizards in ninth straight win

By PA Sport Staff

With the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against city rivals the Clippers postponed following the death of former Lakers star Kobe Bryant, the Milwaukee Bucks’ clash with the Washington Wizards took top billing.

And the Bucks showed just why they have an eight-game lead at the top of the Eastern Conference, with a 151-131 trouncing of the Wizards.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was sidelined through injury, but it made little difference to Milwaukee as Khris Middleton scored a career-high 51 points as the Bucks made it nine straight wins.

The Bucks also scored a team-record 88 points in the first half and finished with their highest total of the season.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 47 points.

The Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat 109-101 to move Boston to just a half game behind Miami in the battle for the play-offs.

Gordon Hayward scored 29 points and got nine rebounds, while Jaylen Brown added 25 and Kemba Walker 16.

Hayward told reporters: “We’re all so close together so…each one we have to treat it like a play-off game. That’s just how tight it is.”

Goran Dragic top-scored for Miami with 23 points.

In a game that belied their respective positions (sixth against 11th) in the Western Conference table, the Mavericks were beaten 133-104 by the Phoenix Suns in Dallas.

Devin Booker scored 20 of his 32 points in the third quarter, Deandre Ayton had a season-high 31 points and the Suns were never behind in a well-deserved victory – their fourth out of the last five on the road.

All-Star Luka Doncic scored 21 points, but he was the only starter in double figures for Dallas.

Elsewhere, the Charlotte Hornets beat the New York Knicks 97-92, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost 111-125 to the New Orleans Pelicans and the Memphis Grizzlies were 104-96 victors over the Denver Nuggets.

In Philadelphia, the 76ers beat the Golden State Warriors 115-104, while the Toronto Raptors won 130-114 against the Atlanta Hawks.