Australian guard Patty Mills has produced the best game of his NBA career to lift the San Antonio Spurs to a 104-100 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
The 25-year-old Mills came off the bench to rescue the Spurs with a game-high 32 points in a great all-round display.
Mills was on fire with his shooting, making 10-of-13 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, and sinking 8-of-9 from the free throw line while also contributing seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
He poured in 18 of his points in the final quarter and, considering his final tally was only two less than his career-high 34 in a meaningless game in the 2011-12 season, there’s little doubt it was his finest performance in the league.
His display came when coach Greg Popovich and his team needed him badly, with their starters struggling to find their shooting touch.
Star point guard Tony Parker has been battling injuries and went 3-of-13 and scored only nine points, while countryman Boris Diaw had 13 points and French reserve guard Nando de Colo added 15.
Spurs big man Tim Duncan had 16 points and 13 rebounds but made only 6-of-13 from the floor.
In all, San Antonio’s starters went 18-of-48 from the floor.
Mills’ teammates were quick to express their appreciation for Mills’ work.
“Patty Mills!! Great job M8!” tweeted Manu Ginobili.
“Great w! Great job big dog @Patty_Mills,” added Marco Belinelli.
The Spurs improved to 37-14, the second-best record in the Western Conference, to stretch their Southwest division lead with a fourth win in their past five games.
Charlotte sank to 22-29, still in the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
The score was deadlocked at 82-82, when the Spurs seized command with a 12-4 run sparked by a Mills jumper and a floating loft shot.