Aussies in NBA: Baynes returns, Mills dishes
Patty Mills took the points against Aron Baynes in the battle of the Aussies as his Spurs ramped up the defense in the second half to post the 97-81 win over the Pistons.
Baynes' warm welcome
It was Baynes’ first regular season game back in San Antonio where he spent his first three NBA seasons before crossing to Detroit in the off-season.
Baynes was a cult figure in San Antonio thanks to his brutish play both on the court and during practices, along with being a championship player with the team in 2014.
Early foul trouble to Andre Drummond saw Baynes enter the game early in the first quarter and he was greeted with loud applause from the Spurs crowd.
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) March 3, 2016
"It was definitely neat," Baynes told Mlive.com about his warm welcome.
I definitely thank them for that. I enjoyed my time when I was here playing with them and I have some great memories. It's on to that next chapter for me but I definitely still have fond memories coming through here and being in the arena.
During the game Baynes had his midrange shot going early and then was able to finish his attempts around the basket which mostly came from some good interior passing by his teammates.
He was able to break out of his recent scoring rut and hit double figures for the first time in six games.
Baynes finished with 12 points (5-of-8 FGs), 6 rebounds and 1 assist in 26 minutes, which was the 2nd highest minutes he has played in a game this season.
Mills plays waiter
At the other end Detroit did a good job chasing Mills off the 3-point line, except for the one brain fade which gifted him a wide-open first basket.
In the past this would have meant a quite night, now a more multifaceted player Mills countered by setting up teammates for baskets.
— NBA (@NBA) March 3, 2016
Mills put up 7 points (3-of-8 FGs, 1-of-2 3PT), a game high 7 assists and 1 steal in his 18 minutes.
With news of Manu Ginobili’s impending return it will be interesting to see if Mills can maintain his production which has increased during in his absence.
Mills has no doubt enjoyed his role as he primary scorer and ball-handler off the Spurs bench. However, his improved play has also come from a 3-point shot which has found its mark and risen to the 14th best accuracy in the league.
Will Mills' output decline with with the ball and shot attempts shifting back to Ginobili?
Will Ginobili defer to Mills?
Or will the mixture of Ginobili's slick passing and Mills deadly outside shooting see him soar to greater heights?