Middleton comes alive in 4th quarter; Bucks take 3-1 lead

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Orlando Magic's Markelle Fultz, left, fights for a rebound with Milwaukee Bucks' Khris Middleton during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Giannis Antetokounmpo offered some advice to teammate Khris Middleton before the fourth quarter of Monday's playoff game against the Orlando Magic: “Shoot until your arms fall off.”

Middleton took the advice to heart.

Antetokounmpo had 31 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists and Middleton finally came alive with a huge fourth quarter as the Bucks beat the Magic 121-106 to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.

Middleton scored 18 of his 21 points in the final quarter and finished with 10 rebounds after being held to one field goal in the first three quarters on 1-of-9 shooting.

“At times I am too unselfish, so I have to force the issue,” Middleton said.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said it was “just a matter of time” before Middleton had a breakout game.

If the Bucks hope to win their first NBA title since 1971 they're going to need Middleton to be a consistent scorer and take some of the pressure off Antetokounmpo.

The top-seeded Bucks led by three entering the fourth quarter before Middleton scored 11 points during an 18-2 run on three 3-pointers and a mid-range jumper off an inbouds play to help the Bucks build a 102-83 lead.