Thursday's NBA: Ex-Spartan Miles Bridges fined $50K for throwing mouthpiece into crowd

Associated Press

The NBA fined Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges $50,000 Thursday for throwing his mouthpiece into the crowd after he was ejected from Wednesday night’s play-in game loss to the Hawks in Atlanta.

After picking up two technical fouls for arguing a call, an agitated Bridges left the floor for the locker room and was heckled by a male fan in the tunnel. He then heaved his mouthpiece in that direction, hitting a young female.

Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges (0) is restrained by P.J. Washington (25) and others as he argues with an official after being charged with a foul during the second half of the team's NBA play-in basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in Atlanta. Bridges was ejected. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Bridges apologized after the game for the incident and again Thursday following his exit interview in Charlotte.

“I lost my cool last night with a lot of stuff that went on,” Bridges said. “I normally don't act like that and that was an embarrassment on my part and for the organization.”

Bridges said he was ready to take “full responsibility” for any punishment the league handed down.

“I deserve it,” Bridges said. "You are never supposed to go out like that, especially because the fans come to the game to watch you play. For their safety to be in danger at that time, that is wrong on my part. I take full responsibility."

Bridges said he has reached out to the female fan on Instagram to apologize, but has not heard back. The Hornets public relations department said it is trying to get Bridges in touch with the fan.

Stephen Curry optimistic about returning for Game 1

Stephen Curry threw down a two-handed slam dunk during practice, then said he was optimistic about his chances of being on the court again for Golden State's playoff opener Saturday against Denver.

Curry took a key step in his recovery from a sprained ligament in his left foot when he scrimmaged Thursday. If he plays in Game 1, “for sure I'll start,” Curry said.

“I see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Curry said after an extensive, hours-long workout.

The reigning scoring champion participated in three six-minute stretches in full team scrimmaging work then his full individual shooting routine, too. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Monday.

Coach Steve Kerr also is hopeful of having Curry in the opener against the Nuggets at Chase Center. Curry's foot is still tender four weeks later and he also dealt with a bone bruise that had him in a walking boot.

“There’s a confidence that the whole team gets when Steph is playing,” Kerr said. “And then I think there’s a confidence that comes with the continuity and familiarity of groups that have been together and been through a lot of experience, playoff experiences together.”

It would be the first time all season the Warriors’ four postseason veterans are healthy and available — Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson.

“Steph looked like himself. He just gives everybody a lift, just his presence on the court,” Thompson said. “Great to have him out there.”

The 34-year-old Curry was injured March 16 at home against Boston and Golden State went 6-6 without him, though the Warriors found their rhythm and won the final five regular-season games.

Curry has long shown a knack for being able to come back from injuries and immediately return to dominant form.

“It’s just who he is on a human level, it’s the wealth of expertise and confidence built over time,” Kerr said.