Brooklyn Nets guard Mikal Bridges has had to learn a different role and way of playing ever since he was traded to the Nets at the trade deadline. In Phoenix, Bridges was used to playing in the forward spot since he played with Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The change in Brooklyn seems to have brought out the best in Bridges.
In Friday’s 124-123 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bridges had 34 points and six rebounds while having to do his best to guard Anthony Edwards for most of the night. After a slow first quarter, the Nets were able to swing the momentum to their side once Brooklyn started playing small which usually results in Dorian Finney-Smith playing at the center spot.
This proved pivotal in the overtime period since the Nets had no choice but to play small since starting center Nic Claxton fouled out in the fourth quarter. However, it looked to be to Brooklyn’s benefit as Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert had to guard someone like Dorian Finney-Smith or Royce O’Neale and it costs Minnesota in the end as Finney-Smith hit a clutch three-pointer off a nice pass from Spencer Dinwiddie. Bridges reacted to the team’s success playing small against Minnesota after the thrilling win:
“Just making them guys (Minnesota) on defense react. Five guys out that can all shoot and drive so I think that’s just tough for opponents. When I was in Phoenix, Dallas was doing that and it was tough to guard and you got a guy that can get in the paint and you got to over help but, you got shooters everywhere. So, it’s definitely tough so just that’s what we’re doing just get it to one of the guys to create and everybody ready to shoot and drive and make a play.”