Through Jared Dudley‘s 13-year career, he has a reputation for protecting his teammates and it was no different when the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Orlando Magic.
With 7:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, 2-3 Magic players shoved Dwight Howard after fouling him and Dudley came to his teammate’s defense but was eventually ejected.
“Not just me, you’ve got to stand up for your guys. Sometimes it’s pushing, sometimes it’s a hard foul, sometimes it’s whatever you have to do. This time it was just a push. I couldn’t really get to him, too, so I just pushed the pile and make sure everybody moves.”
Dudley further explained his mindset when it comes to his teammates and compared it to a father defending his son:
“I don’t care if my teammate’s in the wrong or not,” Dudley said. “It’s like if you have a son, if you have kids at home, and they’re in trouble, you’ll stand up for your son regardless of [whether] if it’s a teacher going at him, it’s my son. And if it’s my teammate just, you know, going to keep it like that [the same way].”
Although all of the attention will naturally be on Dudley’s ejection, he was productive on the court. With Kyle Kuzma not playing due to a recent ankle injury, Dudley stepped up off the bench and finished with nine points in 21 minutes.
While Dudley is only averaging 7.6 minutes in 16 games, he has been ready when called upon by head coach Frank Vogel and sets a good example for his teammates.
With Dudley being one of the leaders of the locker room, his words quickly turned into actions and his teammates will appreciate that. While the Lakers have a lot of new players, they have quickly come together en route to a 22-3 record.
Since the Magic were the first opponent in a five-game road trip, the hope is this scuffle brings them closer together now and they can continue their 12-game road winning streak.