The incident started with Iwundu and Dwight Howard getting into a pushing match, with Dudley then coming in and escalating the situation. Dudley had to be restrained by a ref while yelling at Iwundu and other Magic players. Magic guard Michael Carter-Williams and Howard also received technical fouls.
Dudley was having the best game of his season so far, hitting 3-of-4 attempts from 3-point range and finishing at plus-16 — the highest mark on the Lakers.
Iwundu, a Magic bench player, had six points and three rebounds in 17 minutes of work, but the Lakers won the game 96-87, running their record to 22-3.
Jared Dudley Doesn’t Mind Getting His Hands Dirty
This outcome wasn’t completely unexpected from Dudley. During the Lakers media day, he told reporters that he’d take on anyone who touched LeBron James or Anthony Davis.
“Any flagrant foul on LeBron James, just give me the $20,000 fine. It’s on, straight up. Anyone touches Anthony Davis or LeBron James, that’s part of my job here. I’ve made my money, they can take my minimum … Nah, they can’t take that. They can’t take that.
“But no, I think you’ve got to have it throughout the year. You’ve got to have one or two guys. I mean, that’s not my role, but you stand for your guys, and so even though it’s not the old days where you could fight and get that, there’s a certain thing you have to have.”
James came to the defense of Dudley after the game, saying that he believed the refs were pretty quick to pull the trigger on the ejection, as ESPN detailed.
“I mean, that’s all it takes to get ejected? These days? Little shove?” James told ESPN. “I’ve seen a lot more than that. But ‘Duds’ will do whatever. He told you guys at media day his job is to come in here if somebody goes crazy, do something crazy to me or AD [Anthony Davis] or whoever on the team, he’s going to be the muscle.”
Dudley was also a part of a big scuffle in last year’s playoffs while a member of the Brooklyn Nets. He and Jimmy Butler revved up an altercation after Joel Embiid committed a hard foul on Jarrett Allen.
“Yeah, for sure I send a message,” Dudley said after the ruckus. “When you have a guy giving flagrant fouls, I mean Joel Embiid is second in the league in flagrant fouls. So for that elbow he had before just to have a flagrant 1, no fine, no nothing, laughing in the media, if you think that a team that I play on is going to have (to accept) that, that’s another thing coming, especially on this young team.”
So while some while make fun of Dudley for not looking like a superstar athlete on the court, there’s no doubt he’s one of the biggest “glue-guy” veterans out there and won’t think twice about stepping up for his teammates. If the Lakers want to make a run at a championship, that’s a great attribute to have on the roster.
Avery Bradley Returns to Lakers Lineup
Avery Bradley made his much-anticipated return to the Lakers lineup, playing 17 minutes but netting just two points. He did grab a pair of rebounds and finished plus-12, behind only Dudley and Alex Caruso.
Bradley had been sidelined with a hairline fracture in his leg that forced him to miss a month.
The Lakers are in the midst of a massive five-game road trip that closes with a matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 19. The Bucks have matched the Lakers incredible 22-3 start and it could be an NBA Finals preview.