Harden salutes 'consistent' Mills after record-breaking Nets display

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James Harden believes Brooklyn Nets team-mate Patty Mills is playing the best basketball of his career after the Australian’s 34-point haul in the victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Nets had seen their three previous matches called off due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the squad, with Harden, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and LaMarcus Aldridge among those affected.

But Harden, who admitted he was "just happy to be back on the court," and Mills were instrumental as they returned to action with a narrow 122-155 win on Christmas Day.

The pair combined for 42 of their side’s 66 first-half points, with Mills recording his best overall tally in the NBA this season and surpassing the 20-point mark for a 10th time.

The former San Antonio Spurs guard also registered a season-high seven assists, while landing a record number of three-pointers in an NBA game played on Christmas Day with eight.

Asked if he thought Mills was playing the best basketball of his career, Harden said: "I think so.

"We know how many big shots Patty hit when he was in San Antonio, but he has a much bigger role in this team because of having all the injuries and dealing with guys dropping out of line-ups.

"He's just playing consistent; his shot is always cash. He's doing a better job of just being a playmaker, putting the ball on the floor and getting it to the paint. He’s got his finishes, and he's making plays. He just looks more confident."

Mills added: "It was a massive team effort from every guy that stepped on the floor.

We've been handling adversity throughout the whole season with different types of things, so I think this was no different.

"With the past week that we've had, it was exciting to get some guys back and there was good energy there.

"We're all about the big picture here and where we want to be at the end of the season, and I think that's what’s really keeping us moving forward in the right direction."

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