Mikal Bridges helps Team USA win gold at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

In Manila, Philippines. Don't be fooled by his gangly arms, kneeling hands, and protective stance. Mikal Bridges, the 27-year-old star of Phoenix and  

Brooklyn's Kevin Durant blockbuster discussions, scored 45 points in his second home game at Barclays Center. He possesses the extra gear that distinguishes key protagonists from supporting actors.

Mikal is the same every night. Jalen Brunson, Team USA's starting point guard and Bridges' Villanova colleague, said Bridges always has that approach. “He can do everything. 

From the moment I saw him, I saw it.” Bridges' deadly switch inspired the Memphis Grizzlies to offer four first-round selections to acquire him at February's trade deadline.

league sources told Yahoo Sports, both before Phoenix traded Bridges east and after Brooklyn rejected all offers.

Bridges scored a game-high 24 points Tuesday against Italy at Mall of Asia Arena, blazing downhill and shooting from beyond for 11 second-quarter points. 

Two nights after Lithuania took a 21-point lead over the skilled Americans, Team USA led by 24 in the second half and 41 overall to win the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals 110-63.

“We’re all ready to make that shot, to go make that play,” Bridges said. “That’ll never work. 

I just got locker room dogs, man. We know what we can do. We all shoot, dribble, pass, defend, and do everything.”

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