• Kevin Durant and Patty Mills interact during a Brooklyn Nets game (AAP)Source: AAP
Kevin Durant heaped praise on Patty Mills after the Australian continued his impressive start to life in Brooklyn with a 21-point performance against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.
Jonathan Bernard

27 Oct 2021 - 10:02 AM  UPDATED 27 Oct 2021 - 10:02 AM

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Mills trailed only Durant in scoring at the Barclays Center, as their combined 46 points propelled Steve Nash’s side back to 2-2 with a 104-90 victory.

It was something of a bounce back game for the former San Antonio Spurs star, who struggled to assert himself against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, posting only five points on two-of-10 shooting from the field.

That’s been the only blemish on an otherwise stellar start from the 33-year-old, who earlier became the first player to begin an NBA season a perfect 10-of-10 from three-point range.

Performances such as these are what’s elevated Mills’ reputation across the association since he was drafted in 2009, and it’s what Durant believes makes him simply “inspiring”.

“True pro through and through,” Durant said of Mills.

“Just how he approaches his craft everyday is inspiring to anybody. Especially when you know his story and where he comes from.

“Just having that energy around every day is amazing. Beating his chest into the crowd, making timely plays underneath the basket, getting steals.

“Just playing with energy. We’re going to need that from him.”

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Mills has averaged 14.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists off the bench this season – his 13th in the league – and has reaped the rewards of a system built around outside offence.

Any fears of fatigue following a historic bronze medal in Tokyo with the Boomers have been allayed by a shooting percentage north of 50 from the field and 64% from beyond the arc, and it’s all come as no surprise to Nash.

“He’s a winner,” Nash said after the win over the Wizards. “He plays the right way, he’s experienced.

“Obviously he’s skilled, but he just brings a great feel to the game, with or without the ball.

“And defensively, he makes our team communicate better. He organises us both sides of the ball, so he just brings a lot to the table, and he’s a great addition to our team.”

Nash and the Nets are seeking a first-ever NBA championship this season, having exited the playoffs in the second round at the hands of eventual champions Milwaukee this past June.

Mills’ veteran presence will only enhance the Nets’ chances alongside the likes of Durant and James Harden, though he admits it will take time in the borough.

“This is all new territory for me in the sense of obviously being here and working it all out,” Mills said.

“But that’s probably the most exciting bit about this whole thing.

“Being able to talk about it, learn about it and chat about it with teammates to be able to get to where we want to be.

“Patience is probably the thing that we need to have throughout this process.”

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