Lakers laud Jared Dudley for sticking up for Dwight Howard in ejection

first_img Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed BRADLEY BACK IN ACTIONAfter a few weeks of the vaunted “Avery Challenge” to get the Lakers’ defense back to the top of the league ratings, Frank Vogel smiled at the first stat sheet he’s seen in a month with Bradley’s name on it.“Shocking: Avery Bradley comes back and we hold a team under 90 points,” Vogel quipped. “He’s not all responsible for it, Avery. But getting his legs underneath him.”Indeed, Bradley, who scored just two points in 16 minutes off the bench, was a positive influence: The Lakers outscored the Magic by 12 during the minutes he played.It’s been a slow process of recovery for Bradley after a hairline fracture in his right leg sidelined him for 14 games. The Lakers only lost once without him, but their defense took a statistical backslide before Vogel attempted to reinvigorate them with the challenge in Bradley’s name.Related Articles Bradley had hoped to play more in his debut, but he said the coaching staff had been transparent pregame in their plans to bring him off the bench.“It was great being out there,” he said. “Wish I could’ve gotten more minutes, but it was nice to be out there with my teammates being able to battle again.”Vogel has dropped hints in recent weeks that Bradley, when fully healthy, should be the starting guard again in place of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who has filled in reliably. Bradley himself said he was “extremely happy” for Caldwell-Pope, who started the season as embattled as anyone on the Lakers roster.The Lakers said Rajon Rondo was a game-time decision on Wednesday night, but they ended up sitting him with hamstring soreness in his left leg.“I think he was hopeful but just not ready yet,” Vogel said. “It’s early in the season. We’re not going to rush guys back, especially soft tissue injuries.” Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThere was some incredulity to the postgame discussion of Dudley’s ejection in the Lakers’ locker room. Howard called it “kind of bogus” that Dudley was tossed for a push and standing up for him against Wes Iwundu and Terrence Ross. Davis said he was surprised that the penalty was so severe.James asked: “That’s all it takes to get ejected? These days? Little shove?”But while the Lakers lauded Dudley for being “the muscle,” it was also the rare night in which Dudley was allowed to show a little more of his game. Before he was ejected with the double technical, he was enjoying a season-high nine points, all scored on 3-pointers.With Kyle Kuzma sidelined while nursing an injured ankle, the Lakers leaned on Dudley to produce off the bench. In that role too, he did his part.“My number’s eventually going to get called, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here,” he said. “I knew I wouldn’t have to play every day, I knew we have A.D. and Kuzma so I might play 40 or 50 games, but you know it’s a long season, people are going to miss games.” MIAMI — Every player has his role. Jared Dudley is here to get fined.Well, occasionally. The 34-year-old veteran said as much at the Lakers’ preseason media day, when he told reporters if any opponents had a flagrant foul on LeBron James or Anthony Davis, “It’s on, straight up. … That’s part of my job here.”Taking a double technical during a fourth-quarter scrap for Dwight Howard wasn’t exactly what he imagined at the outset, but Dudley (who is making the veteran’s minimum this season) knows the cardinal rule of an NBA rotation player: Know your role.“I’m not an enforcer but there’s certain times you’ve got to stick up,” Dudley said after the 96-87 win over Orlando. “Usually a lot of people don’t mess with LeBron and A.D. because of them being such high-quality players, so what I said on media day was more for them two, because they’re not here to get chippy stuff. It’s guys like me who try to hang around a couple more years.” Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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