Miles Bridges nets 30 points in return, but can't prevent Charlotte Hornets from pivotal overtime loss

NEW YORK -- Miles Bridges, cleared from the NBA's health and safety protocols, returned Saturday for the Charlotte Hornets, scoring 30 points in their 118-109 overtime loss to the New York Knicks.

Bridges also had five rebounds and four assists, after missing six games due to COVID-19 protocols. The Hornets went 2-4 in his absence while trying to hold onto the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. And Saturday's loss leaves them with just one game to go before the league's play-in tournament next week.

Bridges looked to have his stamina, as he managed to play 34 minutes, shooting 12-of-21 from the field, and 5-of-12 from three-point range.

The third-year player averaged 21.6 points over six games prior to entering the protocol on May 4, and has become a bit of a highlight fixture around the NBA with several poster-worthy dunks.

With night games still to play on Saturday, Charlotte, at 33-38, was tied for eighth place in the East, alongside the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers.

Meanwhile, the home team -- in a playoff push of a different kind -- continued to fine-tune its game. Julius Randle had 33 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds, and paced the Knicks to an overtime surge.

Reggie Bullock added 17 points for the Knicks, who improved to 40-31 and moved into a tie with the idle Atlanta Hawks for the fourth spot in the East.

New York led by 17 points with 7:45 left in the third quarter before the Hornets went on a run capped by Bridges' windmill dunk to cut their deficit to 89-86.

Charlotte opened the final quarter with a 7-0 run, highlighted by Graham's 3-pointer for a 93-89 lead.

New York scored seven straight points to go up 104-101 on Randle's jumper. Charlotte's Terry Rozier made a free throw with 2:09 left and had a layup with 37 seconds remaining that made it 104-all.

Randle put the Knicks ahead in overtime 106-104 with a pair of free throws and then assisted on the next three baskets during 9-0 run, setting up Alec Burks' layup with 1:31 left in the extra period that made it 112-106.

Devonte' Graham added 25 for the Hornets in the loss.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.