Aussies in NBA: Mills nets season high against Lakers
Patty Mills honored retiring great Kobe Bryant the best way any player could, by getting buckets.
Sharing the court with the NBA’s 3rd all-time leading scorer, Mills looked inspired the moment he stepped on the court during the San Antonio Spurs 109-87 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
He put up a quick-fire 22 points (on 9-of-11 shooting, 3-of-4 from 3pt range), dished out 3 assists and pulled down 3 rebounds in 22 minutes of action.
It was a season high in points for Mills, who was coming off a lean patch were he had only managed single digits in his past 4 games.
While its the scoring that will grab the headlines, the play which will earn Mills the most respect from his coaches and teammates was one that didn't trouble the boxscore.
In the battle for a 50/50 loose ball, Mills performed his best Delly impression by putting aside personal safety and diving to win possession for his team.
The crowd showed their appreciation with a loud applause and Mark Jackson, who was commentating, began waxing lyrical about Mills.
“That’s getting it done. The ball is on the floor, who wants it?” Jackson said effusively.
“Lou Williams wanted it, but Patty Mills wanted it more. Sacrifices his body, that’s a winning play. That’s why he’s a champion!”
THE SEASON SO FAR
At the quarter way mark of the season, if we were to sum up Patty's play so far it would be inconsistent but promising.
The Spurs have begun managing Tony Parker's minutes and games more strictly this season allowing Mills to fill the space and play a career high in minutes per game.
His shooting percentages are in-line with his breakout 13-14 season which suggests the shoulder is feeling healthy again. Although, he has experienced more quiet patches and his points per game are down on the same season.
This may simply be down to acclimatising to his new teammates and we could see more consistent scoring in the back half of the year.
Mills is averaging 8.4 points and 2.4 assists in 21 minutes this season.