With backcourt running mates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili resting on the second night of a back-to-back, point guard Patty Mills returned to Olympic form, pacing the Spurs with a season best 23 points, in a 94-87 victory over the Mavericks. Mills was a scorching 9 for 12 from the field, including 5 for 6 from beyond the arc, and his 8 points in crunch time helped secure the win for the Spurs, who remain undefeated on the road this season.
“There is that extra sense of focus and whatever it is when you play on the road because you understand how hard it is to win games on the road,” said Mills earlier this week at shootaround. “We can’t deny that were gonna need to be as focused as anything coming home, knowing our record at home.”
San Antonio has now matched a franchise record 12 straight road wins, extending back to last season, and as standout performances in Boston and Dallas have demonstrated, Mills has played a key role throughout the streak. When Parker was recently sidelined with a sore right knee, Mills answered the call with his jumper, picking up some of the offensive flack in the future Hall of Famer's absence.
Mills’ hot hand is reminiscent of his performance last summer at the Olympic Games in Rio, where he once again led all players in scoring. The Boomers narrowly fell out of medal contention, losing to Spain after a controversial foul call that went against Mills. Over the weekend, he admitted that he still hasn’t gotten over the loss, which could be providing extra motivation in a long NBA season.
Mills also confirmed that he would be suiting up for Australia at the 2020 games in Tokyo, where he hopes to lead the Boomers to their first Olympic medal in basketball. Until then, his focus is another NBA title for the Spurs, where he is averaging career highs in minutes and points. As Parker continues to play a reduced role in the team’s offense, look for Mills to provide the spark off the bench that is necessary to win on the road.