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NBA fines Miles Bridges for hitting girl in stands with mouthpiece

“Any consequences the NBA gives me, I deserve it, for sure,” Charlotte's Miles Bridges said before the league announced its fine. (John Bazemore/AP)

The NBA fined Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges $50,000 on Thursday after he hit a girl in the stands with his mouthpiece.

The incident occurred during the fourth quarter of the Hornets’ 132-103 loss to the Hawks in a play-in game Wednesday at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena. After he received a pair of technical fouls and an automatic ejection while arguing a goaltending call, Bridges was leaving the court when he stopped just before entering the players’ tunnel and hurled his mouthpiece into the stands.

The fourth-year player said after the game that his act of anger was meant for a male fan who had been heckling him, and he expressed contrition for how it turned out.

“I was upset about a call — a couple of calls, really — and I let my temper get the best of me,” Bridges said in a postgame news conference. “That was definitely the wrong thing to do by throwing my mouthpiece. I was aiming for the guy that was screaming at me, and it hit a little girl, so that’s definitely unacceptable on my part and I take full responsibility. I’m ready for any consequence that the NBA gives me.”

In its announcement of the fine, the NBA said it was punishing Bridges for “throwing his mouthpiece into the spectator stands, which resulted in the mouthpiece striking a fan.” The league didn’t specify which fan was hit, but Bridges was told he struck a 16-year-old girl.

“Hopefully I can get in contact with the young girl and sincerely apologize to her and do something nice for her,” he said. Bridges reiterated that desire in a subsequent Twitter post.

Bridges also told reporters Wednesday that he was frustrated because his 10th-seeded Hornets were headed for a second straight play-in trouncing at the hands of a ninth-seeded team. Last year, Charlotte lost by 27 points to the No. 9 Indiana Pacers. The Hornets increased their win total by 10 this season, only to again lose in a rout, this time to a Trae Young-led Atlanta squad.

“I felt like we improved so much this year, and for the same thing to happen again, it’s definitely frustrating,” Bridges said, “because I didn’t see myself tomorrow anywhere else but in another play-in game, and then in the playoffs.”

In an end-of-season media session Thursday, before the NBA announced its fine, Bridges again said he would “take responsibility for anything coming my way” from the league.

“Any consequences the NBA gives me, I deserve it, for sure,” the 24-year-old said. “You’re never supposed to go out like that, especially on the fan part, because they come to the game to watch you play, and for their safety to be in danger at that time, that’s wrong on my part.”

Earlier Thursday, the NBA announced it was fining the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Patrick Beverley $30,000 for “inappropriate statements” he made after his team defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in a play-in game Tuesday. The league cited “the egregious use of profanity” by Beverley, a former member of the Clippers, in a postgame news conference and a subsequent social media post. In an email to The Washington Post, an NBA spokesman pointed to Beverley’s use of the f-word in both outbursts.

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