Patty Mills has begun his NBA spell with Brooklyn by scoring 21 points off the bench but his stellar performance was not enough to prevent an opening night 127-104 loss to reigning champions Milwaukee.
Mills, who joined the Nets in the off-season after 10 seasons with San Antonio, was still riding his lethal three-point shooting from the Tokyo Olympics – in which he led the Boomers to an historic bronze medal.
In 29 minutes against the Bucks, Mills was a perfect seven-from-seven from beyond the arc with only superstar teammate Kevin Durant outscoring the Australian for the Nets.
— NBA (@NBA) October 20, 2021
Durant finished with 32 points and 11 assists but was outshone by two-time MVP and reigning finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Greek star matched Durant with 32 points, to go with 14 rebounds and seven assists.
Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton, off the bench, both added 20 points for the Bucks while Jrue Holiday chipped in 12 points, before he left the game in the second quarter with a heel contusion.
Nets head coach Steve Nash will likely turn to Mills moving forward in the absence of star point guard Kyrie Irving – who is unavailable due to his refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Mills’ addition to a side featuring former MVP’s Durant and James Harden could be one of the signings off the season, as his engine and high-percentage shooting from three will be key in the 82-game campaign.
In a blockbuster match-up to commence the 75th season of the NBA, it was the Bucks who led early and extended their advantage to as many as 19 points early in the second half.
They cruised to victory as both team’s went to their bench players late.
Antetokounmpo showed he hadn’t missed a beat since leading Milwaukee to their first championship since 1971 earlier this year – stuffing the stat sheet on the night they received their rings and raised a banner in celebration.
???? MIDDLETON TO GIANNIS ????
— NBA (@NBA) October 19, 2021
Their play-off run included a game seven overtime win over the Nets in the eastern conference semi-finals, with both clubs again tipped to head deep into the post-season.
Capping off the first evening of the NBA season is the western conference showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.