Bridges Scores Career-High 33 PTS, Hornets Fall in Fourth to Brooklyn
Carey Shines in First Career NBA Start, Charlotte Hangs Tough Through First Three Quarters
The Charlotte Hornets saw their offense finally break through a bit and fought until the very end before falling to the powerhouse Brooklyn Nets, 130-115, on Friday, April 16 at the Barclays Center.
Miles Bridges erupted for a career-high 33 points on 13-of-18 shooting (career-high-tying 6-of-10 from three), nine rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Charlotte loss. This marks the second 30-point game of Bridges’ three-year NBA career and the seventh overall by a different Hornets player this season, the most of any team in the league so far.
Charlotte got off to a much stronger start than it did 15 days ago in Brooklyn, building up a 14-point first-quarter lead before the Nets battled back to close the first half tied at 61. Both sides went back and forth throughout the third with the hosts pulling ahead by five heading into the fourth. Brooklyn then started the final frame on a 19-5 run, giving itself more than enough cushion to coast to a relatively easy home victory.
“I thought the guys did a great job competing tonight,” said Coach Borrego afterwards. “Built a 14-point lead and I thought we sustained our effort, our energy. We competed our tails off. In general, I liked the offense. The ball was moving. More than anything, I just liked the competitive spirit against a top-tier team that’s competing for an NBA title.”
Terry Rozier notched his third double-double of the season, finishing with 27 points, six rebounds and 10 assists. In a somewhat surprising development, rookie center Vernon Carey Jr. made his first career NBA start and then put up a remarkable 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting and six rebounds in 35 minutes of action.
Borrego added, “This is why he drafted [Carey]. There’s a knack, a feel that you can’t teach. This kid has got it. We’ve been eager to see it out there. I thought he was great. His feel around the rim, his hands, his feet, his ability to rebound, he impacted the rim. I thought he was fantastic tonight. He showed his versatility, ability to score around the paint, the mid-range, the three. He can pass. He’s a very skilled individual.”
Jalen McDaniels (12) and Caleb Martin (10) also scored in double figures, while two-way guard Grant Riller knocked down a late corner three for his first NBA basket. On top of having no LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward or Malik Monk, the Hornets were also without PJ Washington (ankle), Devonte’ Graham (quad) and Nate Darling (ankle) for the contest.
Joe Harris (26 points; 6-of-9 from three), Kevin Durant (25) and Landry Shamet (20; 6-of-11 from three) all had 20-point games for Brooklyn, with Durant adding a game-high 11 assists for his seventh double-double of the campaign. Kyrie Irving racked up 12 points, six assists, three steals and five turnovers and Blake Griffin had 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals off the bench.
Charlotte finished the night shooting 53% from the field and 35% from three-point range (12-of-34), although committed 19 turnovers leading to 21 points for the Nets. Brooklyn’s bench also outscored its Hornets counterpart, 49-16, and knocked down 21 three-pointers on an efficient 51% clip.
The Hornets will now head back home to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, April 18 beginning at 7 PM EST at Spectrum Center. Catch all the action on Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM.