Going down with a lower-leg injury in the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs, Lakers‘ guard Avery Bradley was last seen being from the bench to the locker room. While testing came back negative for any bone or ligament damage, Bradley was ruled day-to-day with a lower leg contusion.
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Avery Bradley Injury Update: Lakers’ Starter Ruled Out Against Bulls
Unfortunately, Bradley’s leg wasn’t able to heal quick enough and he is forced to sit out in the Lakers’ final leg of their road trip against the Bulls. Bradley has served as an instrumental part of the Lakers’ starting lineup so far. Not only is he second on the team in three-point percentage behind Danny Green but his lockdown defense on opposing point guards enables the Lakers to run LeBron James at point guard on offense while allowing him to conserve energy and avoid covering opposing point guards on defense.
Bradley’s role on the Lakers is extremely important and the hope is that he only needs to end up missing tonight’s game against the Bulls before finding himself back in the lineup for Friday’s highly anticipated matchup with the Miami Heat.
With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drawing the start, it seems apparent that Frank Vogel wants to emphasize defensive versatility with the first unit. Though Bradley’s defense will undoubtedly be missed, Caldwell-Pope is an excellent defender at the point of attack in spite of all the flack he catches from Laker fans for his shooting.
Lakers vs. Bulls Preview
Despite not having Avery Bradley, the Lakers still match up extremely well with the Bulls on paper. However, coming into the final leg of a road trip with wins over two very solid teams in the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs, this game has all the makings of a trap game. With a pair of big matchups looming against the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors later this week, the Lakers could potentially be overlooking an undermanned Bulls squad.
Especially with Avery Bradley – a defender whose impact has been massively underrated – out for the evening, the Lakers’ starting unit may have a slight feeling out process with Caldwell-Pope stepping into the starting lineup.
Once again, Dwight Howard seems to have a juicy matchup off the bench going up against big men like Luke Kornet and Thaddeus Young. Howard holds a significant size, strength, and athleticism advantage over the Bulls’ depth and should be able to once again control the boards and effectively protect the rim to help stabilize the streaky production from the Laker bench. Even when looking at Dwight’s matchup against starters Wendell Carter Jr. (day-to-day) and Lauri Markkanen, Dwight should be able to take advantage of the youthful inexperience to do significant damage.
Mocked at the time of his signing, Dwight has proved repeatedly so far that he is still capable of big-time production and has been a crucial component to the Lakers’ impressive 5-1 start.