Mikal Bridges ready to face former Villanova teammates in new twist on Nets, Knicks rivalry

amNewYork/Christian Arnold

The rivalry between the Nets and Knicks will probably take some time to reach a true level of intensity, especially with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving gone. But for Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn’s newest player, Monday’s meeting between the two teams should be pretty special. 

It will be a Villanova reunion of sorts as Bridges go head-to-head against his former college teammates Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart. The three played two seasons together at the Big East school, with Brunson and Bridges playing a third year with each other during the 2017-18 season. 

The three are all now residing in the Big Apple following deadline deals that brought Brunson and Hart together and Manhattan and placed Bridges in Brooklyn. And now very quickly they’ll all meet after arriving in New York. 

“Nah, we ain’t talk about it yet,” Bridges said about the impending matchup with his former teammates. “But I knew when I got traded, I saw that we play the Knicks and I was like, ‘okay I’m gonna see these boys early.” So I’m excited man. I’m really excited. I ain’t seen them guys yet. I’ll probably end up seeing them guys this week or something. But, you know, I love them boys but it’s o the court I don’t like them.”

Bridges, along with fellow acquisition Cam Johnson, made their Nets debut on Saturday night to much fanfare. Bridges put up a team-high 23 points and shot 8-of-18 from the field. 

 He quickly endeared himself to Nets fans, who serenaded him with chants of Brooklyn Bridges while he was at the foul line. The newest member of the organization appreciated the kindness. 

“I love it. Trust me. I’m usually locked in, especially at the free-throw line. I’m locked in on a free throw, Bridges said. “But just hear that chant I was like, Oh. I kind of wanted to join in and kind of like wanted to make them yell it louder, but I was so locked on making the free throw. But it was dope. People was already saying Brooklyn Bridges when I got traded, so I already knew that was gonna be a little nickname because I like it. It’s dope and then them chanting it was really cool.” 

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