'Unacceptable': NBA player's wild act after being thrown out

Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges was ejected from the play-in game against Atlanta, hitting a fan with his angrily tossed mouthguard as he left the floor. Pictures: ESPN/Twitter

Charlotte Hornets star Miles Bridges has sought to apologise to a teenage NBA fan after his angrily thrown mouthguard accidentally hit her in the face on Thursday.

Bridges was fuming after he was ejected in the fourth quarter of Charlotte's bruising season-ending 132-103 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the play-in tournament.

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Already having earned one technical foul moments earlier, Bridges was tossed after picking up his second protesting against a foul call.

An infuriated Bridges had to be guided from the floor by teammates, until he overhead a taunt from a fan and flung his mouthguard into the crowd.

Replays showed it had missed whichever target Bridges had intended to hit, bouncing off a teenage girls shoulder and head.

Those actions likely mean a fine, at the very least, is headed Bridges' way from the league.

Bridges posted a request via Twitter asking to get in contact with the fan after the game, calling his actions "unacceptable."

Bridges' mouthguard toss was hardly the Hornets' only miss in the game, as the team finished 34 of 90 from the field (37.8 percent) with 14 turnovers in a miserable night in Atlanta.

With the 132-103 loss, the Hornets are ending their season via a blowout in the 9-vs.-10 play-in game for a second straight year.

The 24-year-old Bridges had 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting with four rebounds and four assists.

Fans were less than impressed by the mouthguard toss, however some gave Bridges credit for owning up to his actions and apologising publicly soon afterwards.

Atlanta Hawks rout Hornets to move on in NBA

For one night, at least, the Atlanta Hawks looked like the team that made a stunning run to the NBA's Eastern Conference final last summer.

Trae Young bounced back from a sluggish start to score 24 points and De'Andre Hunter led a 42-24 third-quarter surge Wednesday that carried the Hawks to a 132-103 rout of the Charlotte Hornets in their play-in game.

The Hawks were a bit of a disappointment during the regular season, finishing ninth in the East after their surprising playoff success in 2021.

They've still got to win one more play-in game just to make the playoffs, heading to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Friday night.

The winner claims the No.8 seed in the East and will face the top-seeded Miami Heat in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Hawks will now face the Cleveland Cavaliers for a spot in the NBA playoffs. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

All five Atlanta starters scored in double figures, as did Bogdan Bogdanovic off the bench.

It was Hunter who came up big in the decisive third period, bursting out with 16 points after being held to 3 in the first half.

"I think I'm a big part of this team," Hunter said. "Me being aggressive, scoring and defending, helps this team a lot."

The season is over for the Hornets, who were overwhelmed in the 9-10 play-in game for the second year in a row and haven't made the playoffs since 2016.

LaMelo Ball led Charlotte with 26 points but they came off 7-of-25 shooting.

Still, coach James Borrego called it another step forward for a rebuilding team.

"A lot of good things have happened for this franchise based on where we're at today compared to where we were two or three years ago," he said.

With AAP

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