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Miller closes out 17th NBA season

Another NBA season is in the books for Mitchell native Mike Miller. Miller, 37, closed out his season with the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, as Denver traveled to Oklahoma City and defeated the Thunder 111-105. Miller played 28 minutes but d...

Denver Nuggets guard Mike Miller (3) grabs a rebound in front of Dallas Mavericks forward Jarrod Uthoff (19) during the second half Tuesday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. (Jerome Miron / USA TODAY Sports)
Denver Nuggets guard Mike Miller (3) grabs a rebound in front of Dallas Mavericks forward Jarrod Uthoff (19) during the second half Tuesday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. (Jerome Miron / USA TODAY Sports)

Another NBA season is in the books for Mitchell native Mike Miller.

Miller, 37, closed out his season with the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, as Denver traveled to Oklahoma City and defeated the Thunder 111-105. Miller played 28 minutes but did not score, pulling down eight rebounds and dishing four assists in the victory.

The performance came one day after Miller flirted with a triple-double in Denver's 109-91 win over Dallas on Tuesday. While Denver rested much of its roster against the Mavericks, Miller - who had not played more than 12 minutes in a game all season - played 29 minutes, scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds and tallied six assists.

The Mavericks cut the lead to eight, but back-to-back 3-pointers by the seldom-used veteran late in the game helped Denver hang on.

"That speaks to him staying in shape and playing the whole year," said Denver coach Michael Malone via The Denver Post after the game. "He's not a vet that's just hanging out in the locker room eating pregame meal, postgame meal. He works. Mike Miller works."

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Miller appeared in 20 games and entering Wednesday's finale, averaged 6.4 minutes per game he played in, while averaging 1.5 points per game and 1.6 rebounds. Miller ends the season averaging 10.6 points per game for his career.

The former Kernel has been lauded all season for his effort in practice and mentoring the team's young players. That includes Denver's surprise second-year big man Nikola Jokic. Miller, when speaking to NBA.com last month, compared Jokic to a young Marc Gasol, with a special ability to pass the ball.

"Obviously with pressure comes a lot of that stuff where you start looking at things negatively,'' said Miller, who provided Jokic with his nickname "The Joker.'' "There hasn't been anything negatively said about him. He hasn't gone through that part of the league yet. He's going to hit those things. Then it's about who you have around you when you go through it. And I think he's going to have the right people around him.''

Miller, who was under contract for $3.5 million this season, is under contract for the 2017-18 season with Denver. But the deal is non-guaranteed for next season, meaning the Nuggets could waive Miller before July 1 and make Miller an unrestricted free agent. He has previously indicated that he wishes to play both years of his contract.

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