Mikal Bridges is loving what he is seeing on the lineup adjustments of the Brooklyn Nets – turning to small-ball when it matters the most.
With Nic Claxton at the bench due to six fouls, coach Jacque Vaughn activated his highly-effective scheme of going dynamic against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Capitalizing Rudy Gobert’s weakness in his lateral movement, Dorian Finney-Smith played at center in crunch time and went on to come up splashing.
This tactic worked effectively when Finney-Smith drained a corner trey to lift the Nets in overtime and seal a 124-123 road dub.
Bridges, who now plays with ex-Dallas Maverick Finney-Smith, took a reference on their last postseason duel about the advantage of the small-ball strategy.
“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.”
Since acquiring Bridges, Finney-Smith, and Cam Johnson, Brooklyn transformed into one of the most moldable versatile teams in the league which Vaughn significantly applies and seizes on a nightly basis.
By also having Royce O’Neale off the bench, the Nets got formidable wings to plug in crucial situations that shout flexibility as a clear solution.
Bridges continued his blossoming as the Nets’ new main man, tallying an efficient 34 points and six boards. Spencer Dinwiddie had 29 points and 11 assists as the club improved to 38-29.