When the undermanned Brooklyn Nets needed someone to step up against the LA Lakers – albeit, arguably even more undermanned – Patty Mills answered that call.
Mills went off for 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field with four triples in 26 minutes off the bench to help lead the Nets past the Lakers at home in a comfortable 116-102 victory on Tuesday (all times AEDT).
The Aussie veteran’s performance comes in the face of trade rumours ahead of next week’s deadline, with The Ringer’s Kevin O’Conor revealing Brooklyn is “actively looking for upgrades” and noting Mills, Joe Harris and Seth Curry could all get moved.
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Mills has been forced out of the deep Nets rotation for most of the season, but on Tuesday, showed he’s still more than capable of stepping up when required.
Brooklyn, who remains without Kevin Durant (MCL) and was missing Ben Simmons (knee soreness), was led by Kyrie Irving’s 26 point and six assists, while Cam Thomas also chipped in 21 points against the bench against a Lakers team that rested LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the front end of a back-to-back.
Thomas Bryant led the way Darvin Ham’s team with 18 points and nine rebounds, Troy Brown Jr. racked up 11 points and 17 boards and Russell Westbrook tallied 17 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists off the bench.
With it, the Nets won their second-straight game and improved to 30-19 on the season, while LA fell to 23-27.
STEPH EXPLODES AGAINST GIDDEY’S THUNDER
Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap to the opposition.
In Oklahoma City, Steph Curry was red-hot with 38 points and eight threes to help the Golden State Warriors survive a fierce rally against Josh Giddey and the Thunder in a 128-120 win.
Curry shot 12-of-20 from the floor with eight rebounds and 12 assists in a dominant performance – passing Wilt Chamberlain for the most field goals made in Warriors history (7,216) – while Klay Thompson chipped in 28 points, six triples and seven rebounds for the Warriors and Draymond Green had seven points, nine rebounds, 12 assists and two steals.
It marked seven-straight wins from Curry against OKC dating back to 2019.
Aussie’s epic response to trade rumours; Steph makes history against Giddey - NBA Wrap
For OKC, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way with 31 points and seven assists and Giddey scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter – making several key buckets matched up on Curry to try and will the Thunder home – to go with eight rebounds, six assists and four steals.
The Warriors had led by as much 21 including 18 midway through the third before OKC came charging back into the game despite consecutive triples from Curry ensuring the Warriors led by nine at the last change,
A Giddey bucket followed by a Jalen Williams three saw the Thunder cut their deficit to 100-98 with 8:22 remaining. Klay Thompson steadied for Golden State with a three, only for Giddey to come right back at the other end with a 27-foot triple.
Later in the fourth, Giddey hit a long-range fadeaway a Dirk Nowitzki-like step back to continuously keep the Thunder within striking distance – the latter making it a 115-109 Warriors lead with 2:18 remaining.
But consecutive buckets to Thompson and a Kevin Looney dunk inside the final two minutes extended Golden State’s lead back out to nine and gave the reigning champs enough breathing space before making several free throws down the stretch to hang on to victory.
It marked a third-straight win from Steve Kerr’s side to improve to 26-24 and climb into the West’s fifth seed. The Thunder meanwhile fell to 24-26.
MAGIC 119 76ERS 109
LAKERS 104 NETS 121
KINGS 118 TIMBERWOLVES 111
WARRIORS 128 THUNDER 120
WIZARDS 127 SPURS 106
PISTONS 105 MAVERICKS 111
RAPTORS - SUNS
HAWKS - TRAIL BLAZERS