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Avery Bradley’s diligence reaps rewards for Lakers in win over Clippers

Avery Bradley made a season-best six three-pointers in 12 tries in the Lakers’ win over the Clippers and played his usual tenacious defense.
Avery Bradley made a season-best six three-pointers in 12 tries in the Lakers’ win over the Clippers and played his usual tenacious defense.
(Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty Images)

Deep into the night, long after the Lakers have practiced, Avery Bradley often has returned to the team’s facility to work on his shooting.

He has been joined by teammates Quinn Cook and Danny Green and sometimes Rajon Rondo, all of them toiling late into the night, all of them trying to get their shots right so they can be threats when main scorers LeBron James and Anthony Davis are double-teamed.

On Sunday afternoon against the Clippers, in yet another significant game for the Lakers, Bradley put those shooting skills on display in a way that proved to be pivotal.

He scored a season-high 24 points and made a season-best six three-pointers in 12 attempts in finishing nine for 17 from the field overall in the Lakers’ 112-103 victory.

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Bradley immediately thought back to all the nights of getting up shot after shot, of working with Cook, Green and Rondo.

“Me and Q [Cook], we’re in the gym every night. Don’t matter. Every night,” Bradley said. “Me, Q and Danny. ‘Do [Rondo] comes every now and then. But every night, we’re in there. Don’t matter. Game, no game. It don’t matter.”

Bradley was typically stout on defense, picking up the Clippers full court, pressuring whomever he was defending.

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But it was his offense that helped Bradley post a plus-13 for the game and showed that hard work indeed pays off.

“Yeah, that’s how it works,” Bradley said. “You put the hard work in. It might not kick in right away, but it’s going to kick in. It has always been that way. I just got to keep working. And to me, it’s always credit to God too, you know, always having that faith no matter what.”

The Lakers’ 12-point lead had been trimmed to six late in the fourth quarter when coach Frank Vogel called a timeout to design a play.

As it turned out, Bradley was one of the primary players involved along with James.

Bradley, with the Clippers’ Lou Williams defending him, set a screen for James, who had Kawhi Leonard defending him. With the ball in James’ hands, Williams and Leonard both stayed on the Lakers star.

Bradley just moved to an open spot, took the pass from James and drilled a three-pointer with 3:58 remaining, giving the Lakers a nine-point lead that never got below seven the rest of the way.

“That was the point of trying to set the screen because we were trying to put some indecision in between those guys,” Bradley said. “And LeBron is such a threat. We were trying to get Kawhi off his body, get the switch. Lou Will wasn’t going to switch. He was going to show, so we knew there was going to be a shot available. ”

In victories over the Bucks and Clippers — two of the NBA’s finest teams — LeBron James showed how much of a difference-maker he is for the Lakers.
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In many ways, Bradley set the tone for the Lakers in the first quarter.

He hounded Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley all over the court in the opening quarter, eventually stealing the ball and waltzing in for a layup.

“Played extremely well,” Beverley said of Bradley. “Struggled in the first two games we played them. He was the X-factor, for sure.”

After he scored, Bradley was hit with a technical foul for yapping at Beverley.

The Lakers didn’t really care because the 6-foot-2 guard was giving them a big-time lift.

“I feel like he was doing what he does usually and he locked people up,” Lakers center JaVale McGee said. “And then he was hitting the three also. I told him when he was coming out, ‘You played a hell of a game.’ ”

UP NEXT

VS. BROOKLYN

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When: 7:30 p.m., Tuesday

On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet; Radio: 710, 1330

Update: The Nets (29-34) start a four-game trip after victories over the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls. The Lakers (49-13) have won four in a row, beating title contenders Milwaukee and the Clippers over the weekend.

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