Boomers captain Patty Mills has stepped up for the Brooklyn Nets again after NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant was forced off court with a knee injury.
Mills scored 21 points while James Harden led the way with 27 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds as the Nets overcame the loss of superstar Durant to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 120-105 in New York.
The Nets are sweating on the results of scans on two-time NBA Finals MVP Durant's left knee after what was initially diagnosed as a sprain.
He was hurt with 5:44 left in the second quarter when New Orleans forward Herbert Jones was driving down the court and crashed into Nets guard Bruce Brown, who fell backward into Durant.
As he has often in his first season with the Nets, Mills stepped into the scoring breach when needed and delivered for his team, who sit third in the eastern conference.
With Kyrie Irving ineligible for home games because he's not vaccinated for COVID-19, Mills has played big minutes and he's averaging more than 13 points a game this season - the most in his 13-season NBA career.
He and Durant were back in the lineup after sitting out a loss to Oklahoma City on Thursday night to rest on the second night of a back-to-back.
Saturday night's game was the Nets' fourth in five nights.
"Guys got to step up. It's simple," Harden said.
"Obviously you know how great of a player KD is and what he brings to the table each and every night consistently. So, guys got to step up and fill that role and just continue to compete."
In San Antonio, Mills' Boomers teammate Jock Landale got his first starting role in his rookie season for the Spurs and finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds in a 101-94 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
It came after the 26-year-old centre had impressed as a bench player since being called back from the G League.
In Oklahoma City, fellow Aussie rookie Josh Giddey scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Thunder.
But Giddey had to yield to a clinic from young point guard opponent Darius Garland who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 106-102 win.
Garland scored 27 points and provided a career-high 18 assists - tying Phoenix's Chris Paul for the most assists in a game this season.
In Denver, Nikola Jokic had 17 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds for his eighth triple-double of the season as his Denver Nuggets routed the Los Angeles Lakers 133-96.
Elsewhere, Toronto downed reigning champions Milwaukee 103-96, the Boston Celtics defeated the Chicago Bulls 114-112, the New York Knicks downed Atlanta 117-108, Philadelphia 76ers beat Miami Heat 109-98 and Portland beat Washington 115-110.
Australian Associated Press
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