Jamal Crawford’s pull-up jumper with 0.8 seconds left capped an 8-0 closing run, and the Phoenix Suns stunned the Milwaukee Bucks for a 116-114 victory Friday night at Fiserv Forum.
The Bucks lost to a sub-.500 team for the first time this season and continued a frustrating trend of slow starts that was briefly interrupted in Wednesday night’s wire-to-wire victory over Portland.
Playing the fifth game of a six-game homestand, the Bucks trailed at the half for the fourth time in those five games.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 29 points, but missed eight of his last nine shots. Crawford’s game-winning shot gave him 11 points and put seven Phoenix players in double figures.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 35 points and added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Malcolm Brogdon added 22 points for the Bucks (13-5).
The Suns entered with a 3-14 record, but the Bucks played flat-footed through most of the first three quarters. Phoenix led, 91-79, on Josh Jackson’s 3-pointer with 4:09 left in the third, before Milwaukee flipped a switch and closed the period with an 11-0 run.
The Suns again restored order in the fourth quarter, taking a 108-100 lead on Mikal Bridges’ 3-pointer with 6:59 left.
From there, the Bucks went on a 14-0 run, with Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring six points. Malcolm Brogdon’s 3-point play with 3:26 left capped the run and gave the Bucks a 114-108 lead. But those would be the Bucks’ last points.
Brook Lopez missed two 3-pointers down the stretch to cap an 0-for-12 night from behind the arc, and Eric Bledsoe missed another 3-pointer with 1:28 left. To that point, it didn’t matter because the Suns couldn’t score, either.
But Trevor Ariza’s 3-pointer with 1:17 left pulled the Suns within three, and T.J. Warren’s 3-point play with 53.5 seconds left tied it up.
From there, two huge non-calls went against the Bucks.
First, Warren hacked Middleton’s left arm, sending the ball out of bounds with 44.2 seconds left. Because Warren never touched the ball, replay review gave the ball to the Suns.
Lopez erased that problem with a block of Warren’s driving attempt. But another non-whistle gave the Suns the final possession. This time, rookie Deandre Ayton’s left arm clearly held down Antetokounmpo’s right arm. The ball flew out of bounds, and replay review again confirmed Ayton never touched the ball.
Crawford couldn’t get the ball to Phoenix’s Devin Booker, so he worked one-on-one against Brogdon and pulled up from the free throw line for the winning bucket.
After a timeout, Middleton hit a 3-pointer from the left corner, but the shot was waved off as it came just after the buzzer.