Patty Mills continued his stellar form in the NBA with another clutch display earning high praise from teammates and fans.
Patty Mills continued his sensational NBA season with another superb performance in the Brooklyn Nets’ 110-105 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.
The Australian had 23 points, three assists and a steal to be the main support for Nets star Kevin Durant, who had a game-high 30 points.
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On a night Brooklyn struggled shooting from deep, Mills had three-pointers including a crucial go-head three with four minutes remaining in the last quarter.
The Nets were far from their best and started slowly, with only a fourth quarter surge enough to get them over the line and consolidate top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Mills has now scored 20 or more points in eight games out of 22 this season and appears set to easily surpass his personal best of nine games with 20 or more points in a season.
He is also on track to make 250 three-pointers this season, which would smash his previous record of 161 threes made last year.
Fans were impressed with Mills’ shooting and believe Brooklyn’s decision to recruit him from the San Antonio Spurs is proving a masterstroke as it pushes for an NBA championship.
Sports Illustrated host Robin Lundberg tweeted: “Patty Mills was always one of those guys where I wondered if he could shine like he does internationally if just given the role to do so. “He has been absolutely money for the Nets.”
Mills said while the win was scrappy, it was important the Nets learn to close out tight games if they are to be “the last team standing” come season’s end.
“In the tight games we’re learning a lot about ourselves and how we can get better,” he said after the game.
“But for us it’s about the big picture here. At this point in time our understanding is where we want to be at the end of the season and our goal is to be the last team standing.”
He said he was happy to be given the confidence to shoot clutch baskets and be a major contributor to Brooklyn.
“When we have a team and coaching staff that empowers you that way at a place that is home here, I think it instils all that confidence to go out and be yourself,” Mills said.
“I couldn’t ask for much more than that.”
Mills earned high praise from his star teammates and coach for his shooting and defence.
Nets star James Harden said he “big time on both ends of the ball”, adding that Mills
“plays basketball the right way, you can tell”.
Head coach Steve Nash added: “He’s great. He made plays. He had a big assist in the fourth quarter.
“He did a lot of things outside of the shot-making to help us win tonight.”
Durant said Mills has been excellent and he will play a big role in the Net’s charge to a title.
“He’s been very crucial,” he said.
“Patty’s been great and we’re asking a lot from him now with guys being injured but he’s taking on that challenge. We’re going to need a lot more from him going forward.”
Originally published as ‘Absolute money’: Patty Mills comes up clutch for Brooklyn Nets in NBA