Avery Bradley made his return from injury on Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic and for the first time since he was hurt, the Los Angeles Lakers held a team to under 90 points. While their success on the defensive end can’t be solely contributed to Bradley, who played just 16 minutes on Wednesday, Frank Vogel made sure to credit Bradley for it, and it’s clear he sets the tone on defense when he’s on the floor.
It turns out he does what he can from the bench, too.
Before the Lakers and Magic tipped off, Bradley spoke to Allie Clifton of Spectrum SportsNet about how he and his injured teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, tried to keep their team sharp defensively while wearing street clothes:
“(We tried to) be able to point out certain plays, certain defensive coverages that we could help them with throughout the game so we can improve as a team. All that’s important. We’re a team, we have to make sure we’re vocal at all times. Being together is the most important thing, so we wanted to make sure we supported them every game.”
It seems Bradley and Cousins have had the same affect on offense, too.
When Anthony Davis had his 50-point outburst against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, he said that Bradley and Cousins were the two guys that pushed him to stay aggressive on the offensive end and go for 50 points. While Davis ultimately did all of the work to get to 50, the support he got from his teammates didn’t hurt his chances of getting there.
That type of support from the bench is indicative of the chemistry in the locker room, and it’s a good example of the benefits of having veterans on the team — especially ones as defensive-minded as Bradley. And as long as everyone is doing their part to help the team succeed — whether they’re playing or not — the Lakers should continue to enjoy one of their best starts in franchise history.