On a busy night in the NBA, the best game might have been one many overlooked: the San Antonio Spurs’ 125-119 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. There was a whole lot going on in Minneapolis on Saturday, including Karl-Anthony Towns’ return from injury, DeMar DeRozan putting on a scoring clinic — 38 points on 13 of 23 from the field — and Anthony Edwards making a costly rookie mistake in the final seconds.
There was also, as has become commonplace with the Spurs over the years, some clutch shotmaking from Patty Mills. The veteran finished with 21 points off the bench, and hit two huge shots in overtime to help secure the win. With the Spurs up by one and less than three minutes to go, Mills drained a 3-pointer to make it a four-point game.
A few minutes later the margin remained the same, and Mills buried a mid-range effort that helped put things out of reach.
After his big night against the Wolves, Mills is now up to 14.7 points per game this season, and shooting an astounding 56.9 percent from 3-point range. Both of those marks would be career-highs, and earlier this week he set another best by making eight 3s in the Spurs’ win over the Lakers.
It’s interesting in that Mills is doing what he’s always done — knock down open jumpers and provide a spark off the bench — throughout his career, but he’s doing it better than ever. He’s third in the league in 3-point shooting, trailing only PJ Tucker and Seth Curry, is on pace to join the exclusive 50/40/90 club and his 1.33 points per possession make him the eighth most efficient scorer in the entire league, per Synergy Sports.
Even if you assume that those numbers are going to drop off a bit at some point — he’s currently making 61.1 percent of his off-the-dribble 3s, which isn’t sustainable — he’s still on pace for one of the best seasons of his career. And if he’s able to maintain something close to this level of play, he’s setting himself up for a run at the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
But award or no award, it’s been fun to watch Mills stand out this season. He’s been a key part of this Spurs team for so many years, but has always flown under the radar playing alongside stars like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard and the current duo of DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. Now, in the early stages of his 11th season, he’s finally taking some of the spotlight for himself.