Nets’ Mikal Bridges continues to exceed offensive expectations

MINNEAPOLIS — Everyone knew Mikal Bridges was good.

Nobody knew he was this good.

Bridges poured in a game-high 34 points and shot 4-for-8 from 3-point range to lead the Nets to a 124-123 overtime win over the Timberwolves on Friday night.

And everybody from teammates and opponents to executives acknowledged the budding young wing has exceeded all reasonable expectations as he has seized his moment.

“Defensively I’d say we knew this was our identity. I don’t think anybody knew that Mikal was this amazing offensively. Just being completely real,” Spencer Dinwiddie said. “It’s our job that he can get to his spots and get his shots and continue to stack up these 30s as much as he possibly can. We’ve got to feed that, encourage that and then for me the coaches want me to just get in the paint.”

Bridges has averaged 25.8 points in 12 games since he was acquired in the Kevin Durant trade.

He was one of just two players in NBA history to average 25 points on 50/40/90 splits through the first 10 games with a new team.

Mikal Bridges, who score 34 points, drives on Anthony Edwards during the Nets' 124-123 win over the Timberwolves.
Mikal Bridges, who score 34 points, drives on Anthony Edwards during the Nets’ 124-123 win over the Timberwolves.

The other? Kyrie Irving.

Consider Timberwolves coach Chris Finch impressed.

“He’s a heck of a player,” Finch said. “He’s really seized this opportunity. You see this in the league sometimes when guys get traded and they’re in a role with a team and that role may have a glass ceiling, but then you get a new opportunity and they get the chance to expand their game. And he’s made every moment count.

“He’s one of the players 99.99 percent of the people — if not 100 percent of people in the league — would love to have: A two-way guy, high character, he’s about the right things, he’s a winner, he’s kind of won at every level he’s ever been at.”

Royce O’Neale had 12 points Friday and tied his career high with 15 rebounds.

The Nets played overtime for just the second time this season. They lost in OT at home against the Mavericks in their fifth game of the season on Oct. 27.

Nets center Nic Claxton fouled out, but not before moved back into a tie with Bucks center Brook Lopez for the league lead in total blocked shots. Both players have 161 blocks this season.

Ben Simmons missed his ninth straight game.