Nets Mikal Bridges’ consecutive game record lives on despite missing his first ever NBA contest

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Brooklyn’s newest signing Mikal Bridges missed his first NBA game in his career last night, but still maintains the longest-consecutive game streak for any active player, as the league considered it shouldn’t count as a miss since he wasn’t elegible to play.

The ‘Iron Man’ was recently acquired by the Nets from Phoenix last Thursday before the trade deadline, as part of the blockbuster trade offered for star Kevin Durant. Even though the deal was accepted by both teams, the NBA sent their approval too late for Bridges to participate in the Nets’ clash against Chicago.

This means the player had to watch a whole game from the bench for the first time in his professional career, as he was listed as “inactive, trade pending”. So his record lives on as the longest active streak in the NBA, after reaching 367 games when Brooklyn visited the New York Knicks on Monday. Incredibly enough, Bridges played in all 116 contest at Villanova, also never missing a single game during his college years.

Cam Johnson, who also came to Brooklyn in exchange for Kevin Durant, said that Bridges was “shaking” at the idea of not being able to participate in the match. “He was like, ‘I’ve got to get out there, I’ve got to get out there’,” Johnson joked around.

The small foward has already played in 56 games with Phoenix this campaign, with 27 matches still remaining in regular season with the Brooklyn side. This means, Bridges could still potentially be a part of 83 contests in total this tournament. We’ll have to wait and see if the Nets go all the way to the Finals to play even more.

Coach Vaughn uses Bridges as his best example of what he wants from his roster

Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said just recently that he was looking for players that inspired themselves in athletes like Cal Ripken Jr., baseball’s career leader in consecutive games played. Now the team can find their motivation in a player who’ll be with them every day in training.

“Some things as a coach you want don’t want to think about and that’s one of the things,” Vaughn said. “Like, you want your dudes available on a nightly basis and Mikal Bridges is a guy that takes pride in that. He’s done it his whole career, so when you’re thinking about game planning and what’s next for the team, when you can pen a guy in on a nightly basis, that eases the mind of a coach.”

The 26-year-old has had a strong season so far, having averaged 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists in 36.3 minutes per game. His shooting efficiency is also solid, as he’s dropped 46.9% of his field goal attempts, and his career-best 39% from beyong the arc and 89% from the free throw line.

Now the Nets stand 5th in the Western Conference with a 33-24 record, and will now face two more games before the All-Star break. The first clash will be tomorrow against the Heat in Brooklyn (6:30pm CST) and finally this next Friday in Chicago against the Bulls (9:00pm CST).