The Brooklyn Nets ran a skeleton crew out against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 9 but that doesn’t make the 118-113 loss any easier. For one thing, it cost them a chance to move up in the standings from their precarious position as the six-seed – just 2.5 games out of being in the Play-In Tournament – to the five-seed and ahead of the rival New York Knicks who fell on the road against the Sacramento Kings.
It also opened up Nets rising star Mikal Bridges to a little ribbing from former Phoenix Suns teammate Jevon Carter, now a key contributor with the Bucks.
Following a Khris Middleton three to put the Bucks up 19-13 during a 19-0 run in the first quarter, it happened.
Carter was, of course, imitating Bridges’ signature three-point celebration which he has done countless times.
“I got it actually from the [San Diego] Padres,” Bridges said of the celebration’s origins via the Nets’ official YouTube channel on February 12. “So, every time they would get a double or more, they’ll look at their…dugout and they’ll just point and just head turn. And I got in a big little baseball phase, I watched the Phillies all the time. So I’ll be locked. And I’m a big fan of Manny Machado so watching him getting doubles and stuff like that, I’m just watching the game and I see him just point, just turn the head I’m just like, ‘I’m gonna add. I’m gonna add that in my own little three-point way. And, I mean it’s stuck. [I’m] just happy I’m making threes so I can do it.”
Bridges has connected on 28 of the 57 threes he has taken as a Net giving him ample opportunity to do his dance. But it is clear that he made quite an impact on his former teammates during his four-plus seasons in Phoenix.
Carter and Bridges spent two seasons together in Phoenix reaching the NBA Finals in 2021 before the former was traded to Brooklyn for Landry Shamet ahead of the 2021-22 season. He was waived in favor of veteran Goran Dragic and signed with Milwaukee where he has become a valued contributor off the bench.
Both Carter and Dragic now occupy spots on the Bucks’ bench.
Nets Called Out for Handling of Mikal Bridges
Bridges had his streak of consecutive 21-plus-point performances snapped at six games finishing with just 10 points against Milwaukee adding a pair of steals in the process. Part of that was because he was one of just two Nets starters not to sit out and went 4-for-13 shooting the ball during his 12 minutes of floor time before getting the hook.
Still, it was that hook that some feel took this game out of the Nets’ hands and cost them the aforementioned opportunity to improve their standing.
“I’m cool playing a lot of minutes,” Bridges said via the team’s YouTube channel after beating the Charlotte Hornets on March 5. “If you ask anybody when I was in Phoenix, got nothing wrong with it at all. I just want to go out there and just do the best I can, help the team win.”
Some fans were a little less diplomatic in their approach to what some see as a rampant issue in the NBA today.
Jacque Vaughn Defends Resting Mikal Bridges
“It was more so the way the game kind of unfolded a little bit, with the lead they had after the first quarter,” head coach Jacque Vaughn said about why he kept Bridges out of the tightly contested game. “It was going to take a lot for [the starters] to come back. So, [I] went with the idea of some fresh legs and see if we can turn it around, junking the game up a little bit.”
Vaughn, who said pre-game Bridges would likely not see his full workload, also credited the Nets’ bench which set a franchise record with 98 points.
The 12 minutes Bridges saw are fewer than half of his previous season-low mark set with the Suns in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on February 27. It is just the seventh time Birdges has played as many or fewer minutes in his career.
His career-low for minutes played in a game is 11 seconds set in 2018 – Bridges’ rookie season – in a Suns win over the Dallas Mavericks.