The Charlotte Hornets had the honor of playing on MLK Day and did not disappoint. They rolled into Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks and made a major statement. The final score was a 97-87 win for the Hornets, but they held a 20-point lead for much of the game. They did this without their best player in LaMelo Ball, who did not play because of a non-COVID-19 illness.
With Ball out, Miles Bridges put on a show in The Garden. Bridges finished with a career-high 38 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. The Hornets forward was an efficient 14-of-20 from the field and only had one turnover in the game.
Hornets head coach James Borrego had plenty to say after his star player’s huge performance.
“He was awesome tonight. High-level performance. His confidence and spirit led us to victory,” Borrego said.” I thought Miles and Terry controlled the game together, but Miles was fantastic tonight. We put the ball in his hands a ton. We have a number of guys we play through offensively. We just find something we like and play off that guy. Miles is one of those guys who can play off the bounce, to score for himself and get to the rim. He’s also done a great job playmaking for us. I thought he had a great balance between scoring and playmaking tonight.”
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Bridges’ huge performance spurred runs that allowed the Hornets to hold a massive lead for most of the game. With LaMelo out, Borrego made a conscious effort to feed Bridges any chance they could. He was hitting almost anything he threw toward the rim. His hot night also allowed Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward to find their niche as the game progressed.
Bridges commented on some of the keys to his career night as well. He said he just wanted to “stay aggressive.”
“My teammates did a great job finding me early on, and once I seen one or two go in, that’s when I got it going,” Bridges said. “Coach kept trusting me to have the offense run through me this game, and it worked out.”
Bridges also chimed in on how it was to play without LaMelo Ball in the Hornets’ lineup.
“I had to stay aggressive,” Bridges said. “Melo usually brings that aggression for us. We go as he goes. Somebody had to pick up the slack, and I wanted to go out there and be aggressive from the jump. Then Gordon and Terry got it going. It was like a domino effect.”
Hopefully, those dominos continue to fall for their next game in Boston. A win there would be a sweep for the Hornets’ two-game road trip.