Mikal Bridges of the Nets scores a career-high 45 points as Brooklyn beats the Heat

Four Brooklyn Nets players have scored at least 40 points this season: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Cameron Thomas and now Mikal Bridges. In a 116-105 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, Bridges dropped a career-high 45 points to show exactly why the Nets coveted him so badly in the blockbuster deal that sent Durant to Phoenix.

The efficiency with which Bridges got his 45 points stands out the most, as he shot 70.8 percent from the field and 66.7 percent in 3-point territory. He also had eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. That stat line makes Bridges only the second player in Nets history to record at least 45 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. What other player to do it? during

It’s ironic that Bridges joins Durant in posting that elite stat line, as he was the player Brooklyn most coveted from Phoenix in the trade that sent KD to Valley of the Sun. It was reported that excluding Bridges from any commercial package for Durant was a failure for the Nets, and Wednesday night showed exactly why.

In Phoenix, we saw some of Bridges’ game-creating and scoring ability, but on a team that featured two All-Star talents in Devin Booker and Chris Paul, he was used primarily as a pitcher and blocking fielder. Against the Heat, we saw him put the ball down a lot more, showing the possibility of what his game could be from now on. He got into his midrange spots with ease, shedding his silky sweater, and also showed off his efficient deep range.

The beauty of Bridges’ game is that he can be effective on offense with or without the ball, which is beneficial when playing alongside Ben Simmons, who needs the rock to be a threat. Just look at this ongoing game where Bridges immediately drives towards the hoop as soon as Simmons feeds him the ball. He didn’t even dribble and managed to make a difficult layup that resulted in an e-1 opportunity.

Or how about this ball possession where he showed no fear of hitting Jimmy Butler 1-on-1 and converting this difficult floater:

That’s one of the best perimeter defenders and a five-time All-Defensive player that Bridges is up against in Butler, but he doesn’t shy away from the challenge.

It wasn’t just the score that marked this performance. Bridges’ defense was also highlighted. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as he is an all-defensive player and has been celebrated for his efforts at that end of the court since he entered the league. But when you put that side by side with the offensive performance he had, it takes block defense to another level.

In the three games since being traded to the Nets, Bridges has averaged 25 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists. It’s a small sample size, but it underscores why Brooklyn wanted Bridges in the Durant deal and why they refused to trade him for another candidate before the deadline despite the endless interest he drew from across the league. He’s an exceptional two-way player who could be a key building block in Brooklyn’s sudden rebuild, and if the Nets decide to pull out of Bridges in the offseason, the price will rise after Wednesday’s performance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *