The Hornets broke away from the current trend of the season and actually started the game well. Bridges and LaMelo Ball scored or assisted on 17 of the Hornets’ first 19 points as they built a small lead. The Nets eventually flipped the script and turned a six point deficit into a six point lead in about three minutes, mostly due to Kevin Durant hitting his first five shots. After one, the Hornets trailed by four.
Bridges shouldered the offensive load in the second quarter. He scored 13 points in the frame as his team and the Nets went back and forth for most of the quarter. He stole James Harden’s cookies to make this highlight here.
Miles Bridges showing off the bounce— NBA (@NBA) October 24, 2021
He's up to 14 PTS on NBA LP. pic.twitter.com/VQHNHm80jC
That steal and slam kicked off a dry spell where both teams scored a total of four points in three minutes. A late run put the Nets up by as many as ten, and they took an eight point lead into the break.
A small Hornets push was quickly answered by a Nets run over the first few minutes of the third. But we know how this Hornets did what the Hornets do. They stole of couple Nets passes and got out on the break. A 14-4 run was capped off by a Cody Martin steal and dime to Miles Bridges, who converted the layup while being fouled before knocking down the ensuing free throw to give the Hornets their first lead since the second quarter. In all, the Hornets limited the Nets to just 20 third quarter points and kept that one point lead heading into the fourth.
Bridges spotted up and hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter scoring, giving him 32 points on the night. He wouldn’t score again, but it wouldn’t be needed. It was time for Cody Martin and Ish Smith to take over the game, because why not? Smith hit a few pull-up jumpers, then Martin took consecutive charges on James Harden, then Smith found Martin for a backdoor cut leading to a dunk. A short time later, the duo hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions. They played so well that LaMelo Ball, who was at the scorer’s table waiting to come in as those threes fell, returned to the bench during a Nets timeout and told James Borrego to keep riding Ish down the stretch.
The pair combined to score 19 points, drop five assists, and make all three of their 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter alone. The Hornets held the Nets to just 17 fourth quarter points and closed the game on a 17-7 spurt to run away with the win.
Bridges finished the night with 32 points and nine rebounds and he played the part of star all night long. Ball finished with 18-5-5 and would have had a bigger night if not for Ish taking the fourth quarter all to himself. Martin finished with 12 points in total, putting him in double figures in all three games so far after he had just nine such games in his first 100 appearances as a Hornet.
The Hornets won this game on the defensive end. Kevin Durant got his, but there’s only so much that can be done about that. James Harden was the only other Net to score in double figures, but he took 16 shots to score 15 points. The Hornets played their most consistent game on that end of the floor and had almost none of the lapses that were scattered about their first two contests.
It’s the first 3-0 start in team history (which was surprising to me). The Hornets will look to make it four Monday night against the Celtics.