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Mills signed by title contenders as he looks to add second championship ring, Reath goes through the roof for Blazers

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5th March, 2024
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Australian star Patty Mills has found a new home in the NBA, with the Miami Heat reported to have snapped up the free agent point guard.

ESPN reported on Tuesday that the 35-year-old, much-travelled Boomer would be going to Florida after being released by the Atlanta Hawks five days earlier.

Mills is averaging 2.7 points, 1.1 rebounds and 10.6 minutes in 19 games off the bench this season, shooting 37.3 per cent from the floor and 38.2 per cent from three-point range.

It’s another stop-off for the Olympic bronze medallist who averages 8.9 points and 2.2 assists in 879 career games (107 starts) with the Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Brooklyn Nets and Hawks. 

It’s a decade since Mills won the 2013-14 NBA championship with the Spurs but signing with the Florida franchise will represent another opportunity for the veteran to play his part in a post-season push with the Heat currently seventh in the Eastern Conference.

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Meanwhile, Duop Reath’s hot NBA form has continued but the Australian centre’s career-best night was not enough to stop Minnesota in a 119-114 defeat of Portland that drew them level on top of the western conference.

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Reath, upgraded last month to a three-year deal on the back of his consistent bench cameos, hit five of his six triples to finish with a career-best 26 points in Minneapolis.

Teammate Anfernee Simons had 34 points, 14 assists and five rebounds but Rudy Gobert had 25 points and 16 rebounds for his 43rd double-double of the season to complete a four-game season sweep of the Trail Blazers.

With the win, Minnesota (43-19) moved into a tie for first place in the Western Conference with Oklahoma City, Josh Giddey’s Thunder treading water after a 116-104 loss to Los Angeles Lakers later on Tuesday (AEDT).

Point guard Giddey (13 points, five rebounds, four assists) was one of five Thunder players with at least 12 points.

LeBron James (19 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) orchestrated the shut down on MVP chance Shae Gilgeous-Alexander (20 points, seven rebounds, four steals, four assists), who shot at 38.5 per cent from the field. 

It ended his streak of eight consecutive 30-point games.

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In his first game since scoring his record 40,000th career point in a loss to Denver, James nearly got a triple-double before the Lakers’ big lead allowed him to sit out the final six minutes. 

Davis was able to sit out the entire fourth quarter when the Lakers hit six three-pointers in quick succession during his absence, boosting their lead to 25 points.

Luke Kennard scored a season-high 25 points and Memphis snapped a five-game losing streak by beating a Brooklyn team missing Ben Simmons, who continues to be plagued by soreness stemming from a nerve impingement in his lower back.

Simmons has missed 46 games this season and played in just 57 of 178 since the Nets acquired him at the 2022 trade deadline. 

“He’s still day-to-day, he’s still on the court, and hopefully we can get him back soon and get him ready for this play-off push that we have in March and April,” interim coach Kevin Ollie said.

Nic Claxton had 21 points for the Nets, who were coming off consecutive victories over Atlanta that had allowed them to pull within two games of the Hawks for 10th place in the east and the final spot in the play-in tournament. 

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In Milwaukee, Damian Lillard scored 41 points and the Bucks overcame the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo to beat Los Angeles 113-106 for their sixth straight victory.

Jordan Clarkson scored a season-high 38 points, including a 12-0 run down the stretch, to boost hosts Utah over Washington 127-115 and extend their losing streak to 15.

And Chicago beat the Kings in Sacramento, Coby White’s career-high 37 points and DeMar DeRozan (33 points) 19 final-quarter points allowing them to rally from 22 down to win 113-109.

© AAP

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