Nets see 'winner' Patty Mills provide spark in rout of Wizards: 'We're going to need that from him'

·3 min read
Patty Mills Spencer Dinwiddie cropped 10/25/2021
Patty Mills Spencer Dinwiddie cropped 10/25/2021

When the Nets needed a boost Monday at Barclays Center, Patty Mills was there. In 23 minutes off the bench, Mills scored 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting -- including a 5-for-9 mark from long range -- while dishing three assists and grabbing two rebounds during Brooklyn's convincing 104-90 bounce-back victory against the Washington Wizards.

"He's a winner," said head coach Steve Nash. "He plays the right way. He's experienced. Obviously, he is skilled. But he just brings a great feel to the game with (or) without the ball, defensively. He makes, I think, our team communicate better. He organizes us on both sides of the ball. He brings a lot to the table and he's a great addition to our team."

Bruce Brown -- who got the starting-five nod alongside a Nets lineup of James Harden, Joe Harris, Blake Griffin, and Kevin Durant -- echoed Nash's sentiment about Mills. Now his teammate, Brown remembers being tasked with guarding Mills, formerly a San Antonio Spur from 2011-21.

"It's been amazing," said Brown, who added 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting and eight rebounds in 30 minutes. "Patty makes tough shots. I remember guarding him when he was on the Spurs, and it was hell. He comes out screens extremely fast and still can shoot the ball a hundred miles per hour. So he's just a great player, great dude to have for us."

Durant paced the Nets yet again. Mills, though, made life easier.

"Just a true pro, through and through," Durant said. "Just how he approaches his craft every day is inspiring to anybody, especially if you know his story and where he comes from. So just having that energy around every day is amazing. He's beating his chest into the stands, into the crowd, making timely plays underneath the basket still. Just playing with energy, and we're going to need that from him."

The previous game, a 111-95 loss Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets, was a performance to forget for Mills. After mustering five points on 2-of-10 shooting and a 1-for-6 mark from behind the arc in 32 minutes off the bench, Mills showed Monday why Brooklyn got him this offseason.

"I think I've understood, over my time, that it is a marathon of a season and you can't necessarily nitpick certain things every game," Mills said. "I think, for me, take it in chunks. But there are some little things, I think, you can definitely look at and improve on every game. And things you do well, things you didn't do so well, make sure you come out.

"This is all new territory for me, in a sense of, obviously, being here and working it all out, figuring it all out. But that's probably the most exciting bit about this whole thing, is being able to talk about it and learn about it and chat about it with teammates to be able to get to where we want to be. So I spoke about patience is probably the thing that we need to have throughout this process and just being able to finetune those little details along the way."

Oct 25, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills (8) high fives forward Kevin Durant (7) after a three point shot during the third quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills (8) high fives forward Kevin Durant (7) after a three point shot during the third quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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