For 32 minutes, Patty Mills remained scoreless. His San Antonio Spurs teammates were handling the Denver Nuggets with relative ease and truth be told, they didn’t need the Bala today. Victory over the Nuggets was secure long before the Mills decided to pop up with his now rudimentary cameo appearance, but that shouldn’t diminish what we saw.
What we witnessed was a reminder, if ever so brief, why Mills can expect to be a rich man come July. In the space of four minutes and a few simplified terms - corner three, mid range pull up, running floater and buzzer beater – Mills acted like a popcorn kernel in the microwave. It was instant heat and instant offence.
It was only four minutes, and it was only a 10-point spurt against a team on the second night of a tough back-to-back. All the same, Mills has a role to fill on this Spurs team, and providing continuous offence is the foundational aspect of this role. Mills spoke exclusively to The Pick and Roll following the game and explained how he kept on attacking.
“You have to understand what’s best for the team and play hard. I think that’s the thing that trumps everything. As long as you play hard and shoot open shots, that’s the main thing.
“You get into that flow. Defensive energy and making sure you do all the right things.
“For me, I’m just trying to make great basketball plays. Whether it’s on the defensive end or on the offensive end. If it happens that I shoot open shots, great. If not, it’s the same way. That’s the mindset.”
Tonight was the 24th time Mills has come off the bench to score double digits this season and the Spurs have only lost one such game.
This was not Mills’ night as he was just a small cog in the Spurs machine. San Antonio secured a 121-97 victory over a young Nuggets side who looked visibly fatigued on the second night of a back to back.
San Antonio now heads out on their annual rodeo road trip and Mills is excited at the prospect of hitting the road.
“It should be good. We had a good home stint here but now we’ve got a fairly long road trip.
“Road trips are always good. There are a lot of bonding experiences you can have.”
The Spurs next play in Memphis on Wednesday morning Australian time.