Miles Bridge while carrying the Hornet without LaMelo Ball, other key players

NS Charlotte Hornets defeat Atlanta Hawks, 130-127 without their main players. LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Jalen McDaniels and Mason Plumlee were all absent due to COVID-19 protocol, but Hornet got the job done.

Mostly because of Miles Bridges, who down 32 points in victory. This is his sixth game of 30 points of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Hornets. He knew the Hawks would try to use him in defence, but he made smart plays throughout the game.

“We knew we just had to play together,” Bridges said. “On attack and defense, moving the ball, talking about defense, counter-attacking the gang, everything. We just know that we have to play together to win.”

Even in doubles, Bridges reacted. He knew that teams would try to knock him down as he drove to the lap.

“I just need to rely on my teammates. If I get paired up and someone has a loophole, I just need to adjust,” said Bridges.

He has only four assists but he can move and let loose for open shots in mid-range and from deep.

Bridges is the star of the show, but he’s got plenty of help. Kelly Oubre Jr is the Hornets’ second-highest scorer with 28 points. Gordon Hayward and Ish Smith scored 18 points each and added up to have 10 assists. Cody Martin also had a great game on the bench, with a career-high 19 points. He has missed the last three games, but he is as effective as ever on both flanks.

“If you don’t understand how much we missed Cody Martin in these last three games, you’re not watching our team,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We won this game because Cody was out there 32 minutes and he added 22. He just impacted our win at a high level. It’s no coincidence that he’s back and we find ourselves in the winning lane again.”

Hornet skated three times on their road trip before defeating the Hawks. Despite the dismissal of four key players, the Hornets are still a dangerous team. Bridge can wreak havoc on both sides of the ball and he will likely have the majority of touchdowns when Ball and Rozier are out. Also don’t forget that the former Michigan State standout player can continue to build his case for the Most Improved Player award.

If the Wasps can keep their spins down and fire as efficiently as they did tonight (46% from worm and six spins), they can hold the fort strong with their key guys.

“It’s a psycho next man and we have some real dogs here and it showed up tonight,” Oubre said.

Wasps have Philadelphia 76ers back home in Monday at the second end of a return.

LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridge, Hornet Miles Bridge while carrying the Hornet without LaMelo Ball, other key players

Olly Dawes

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