Mikal Bridges likes what he’s seeing in the Brooklyn Nets’ lineup adjustments – going small-ball when it matters most.
With Nic Claxton on the bench for six fouls, coach Jacque Vaughn activated his highly-effective going dynamic scheme against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Capitalizing on Rudy Gobert’s weakness in his lateral movement, Dorian Finney-Smith played center in crunch time and continued to make a splash.
This tactic worked well as Finney-Smith drained a corner trey to lift the Nets into overtime and seal a 124-123 road dub.
Bridges, now playing former Dallas Maverick Finney-Smith, took a reference in their final postseason duel about the advantage of the small-ball approach.
“Just making them guys (Minnesota) on defense react. Five guys out that can all shoot and drive so I think that’s just difficult for the opponents. When I was in Phoenix, Dallas was doing that and it was hard to guard and you got a guy who could get into the paint and you had to help but, you had shooters everywhere. So, it’s definitely hard so that’s all we do, just get it to one of the guys to create and everybody ready to shoot and drive and make a play.”
Since the acquisition of Bridges, Finney-Smith, and Cam Johnson, Brooklyn has become one of the most moldable versatile teams in the league which Vaughn has been applying and taking advantage of on a nightly basis.
By also getting Royce O’Neale off the bench, the Nets got heavy wings to plug into key situations that screamed for flexibility as an obvious solution.
Bridges continued to blossom as the Nets’ new main man, posting a stellar 34 points and six boards. Spencer Dinwiddie had 29 points and 11 assists as the club improved to 38-29.