Nets fans rejoice because Mikal Bridges surprised them … and everyone else!

Kevin Durant is rehabbing from an ankle injury and will not be seen on the court for at least two to three weeks. Kyrie Irving missed Friday’s practice and could miss Saturday’s game due to “personal issues.” It is uncertain.

Meanwhile, in the fourth, Mikal Bridges is on fire and is quickly becoming the face of the Brooklyn Nets franchise. Since joining the Nets, he has averaged 25.8 points with six 30-pointers, including 12 40-point games. Shot distribution: 51/49/90. He is one of only two players to reach those numbers in their first 10 games. The second was Irving.

And he often goes up against the opposition’s best player at the other end of the court. Of course, his defense is no surprise. He finished second in Defensive Player or the Year last year. And he’s never in street clothes. Friday’s game was his 377th straight since entering the NBA.

The revelation is the attack, the variety of shots, the willingness to sacrifice his body and when necessary, take control. Before coming to Brooklyn, he had his best season and best month since turning pro. He averaged 17.7 points when he left the Mavs, scoring nearly two more points in January when Devin Booker was sidelined and became more of a focus. But this? This is the second level.

Bridges, looking like a humble hero, says it’s all about winning, team play.

“Our biggest thing is to try to win — whatever it takes,” Bridges said after scoring 34 in the Nets’ overtime victory Friday night. “If I score five and we win, like, I’m not going to stumble. I just want to go out there and win, be aggressive and do whatever it takes.”

His coach and teammates now indulge him. Jacque Vaughn has repeatedly said that Bridges has surprised him offensively, noting his versatility and competitiveness.

“He’s the biggest competitor,” Vaughn said. “I love that article about him. He plays every night. He is very selfless. He gives his time, his knowledge in the dressing room, during the games. It was truly a pleasure to be with him and to learn from him as an individual.”

Spencer Dinwiddie, who scored 29 points of his own on Friday, called Bridges’ offense “amazing” and yes, a surprise.

“Defensively, I would say we knew that was our identity. I don’t think anyone knew Mikal was this incredibly offensive. Just being completely real,” Spencer Dinwiddie said. “It’s our job for him to be able to get to his spots and get his shots and continue to rack up these 30s as much as he can. We have to feed that, encourage it, and then for me the coaches want me to just get into the paint.”

Bridges returned the favor, saying he had no problem letting Dinwiddie run things, adding that he was “grateful” for the point guard’s work.

Yeah, Spence went crazy and just his confidence allowed him to keep the ball in his hands and create,” Bridges said. “He scored several times in overtime, and then he stunned us. Let him create and he will figure it out. You know, we just have to give him a pass, give him a look. But only he is aggressive and so damn skilled. So I’m just grateful for him.”

There is also talk about the league.

“He’s a great player,” Timberwolves head coach Chad Finch told the media on Friday. “He really grabbed this opportunity. You see that sometimes in the league when guys change and play a role on a team and that role can have a glass ceiling, but then you get a new opportunity and they get a chance to expand their game. And he made every moment count.

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

Indeed there is. He was twice national champion in Villanova and went to NBA Finals Two years ago. And he also shows some leadership. When he scored 38 against The Celtics in the characteristic game of this bizarre season, Bridges rallied his teammates around him.

“This is family, bro,” he said, arm in arm with Vaughn. “You know it’s more than just winning. It’s real. So together, man!”

If only fans could find Mikal Bridges’ jersey. Sigh.

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