After another Patty Mills masterclass, the coach of one of the NBA’s best teams revealed he wanted the Aussie playing for him instead.
Patty Mills turned in another sensational shooting performance for the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday (AEDT), but it wasn’t enough to get his team over the line against the Golden State Warriors.
In a clash between two of the leading contenders for the NBA championship, neither team had a stranglehold on the playoffs-like game that went down to the wire.
Watch the 21/22 NBA Season with ESPN on Kayo. Live coverage every week plus every game of the NBA Finals. New to Kayo? Start your free trial >
Mills helped keep the Nets in touch, nailing six three-pointers including three clutch shots from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter.
The Australian tied the game with a pair of free throws with three minutes remaining but his heroics were in vain as Golden State’s Klay Thompson knocked down a three-pointer with 12 seconds left to seal a 110-106 win for the Warriors.
Mills finished with 24 points, four rebounds and four assists, as he closes in on his NBA career-high of 161 threes in a season.
With Kevin Durant still sidelined with a knee injury, Kyrie Irving was the Nets’ best, racking up 32 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Mills has been a consistent contributor in his first season for the Nets, who have been ravaged by injuries and Covid.
The tough loss continued Brooklyn’s slide down to sixth in the congested Eastern Conference standings with a 29-20 record.
But remarkably, the Nets are only three wins off top spot in the East currently occupied by the Miami Heat with 32 wins.
After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr revealed Golden State attempted to recruit Mills during the off-season, when he became a free agent after leaving the San Antonio Spurs, with whom he won the 2014 NBA title.
Mills had been linked with Golden State, the LA Lakers and Brooklyn, before he eventually decided to join the Nets in a two-year $16 million deal.
While the Warriors are second in the Western Conference and cruising this season, Kerr said he admired Mills, adding he would have fit in perfectly with the San Francisco-based franchise.
“You probably know we were trying to sign him this past summer,” he said.
“He seems like our kind of guy. I’m a huge fan. Great player, leader.
“I always enjoyed watching him play in his early years in the NBA, (he) really obviously made his mark in San Antonio.
“Given my friendship with Pop (San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich), Pop always raved about him, his leadership and character.”