Austin Reaves Believes Close Win Over Grizzlies Can Help Lakers Going Into Matchup With Pelicans
Austin Reaves, Lakers, Grizzlies
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers left themselves no margin for error heading into the final week of the regular season, needing to win their final two games to finish eighth in the Western Conference going into the Play-In Tournament.

One of those games appeared to be easy with the Lakers taking on the Memphis Grizzlies, who were without 13 players, on Friday night. The other games appears to be more challenging as they take on a red-hot New Orleans Pelicans team fighting for the sixth seed.

As it turned out though, the Lakers were tested by the undermanned Grizzlies as the game went down to the wire before L.A. pulled away in the final minute for the victory.

When speaking postgame, Lakers guard Austin Reaves gave credit to the young Grizzlies, who he believes have a bright future.

“You’re very aware of it. A lot of us have been around [Scotty Pippen Jr.] a lot with him being with the G League and seeing how talented he is. They got a lot of talent over there with those young guys,” Reaves said. “Jake LaRavia was really good in the first half making shots, getting to the free throw line, 11-of-11 from the free throw line. And then obviously G.G. (Jackson) kind of just doing what he’s shown he does all year. Then the other guys around that kind of just filling in those gaps and playing super hard. They’re really well-coached and you can tell just with the way they were carrying themselves early in the game that they believed that they should be in the game.

“You tip your hat when you see guys like that really going and taking control of a game. Memphis is gonna be in a really good spot next year when they get all their guys back with that young talent that they have as well.”

When talking about the Lakers though, Reaves feels that them being tested can actually help them going into Sunday’s big game with the Pelicans and beyond.

“For sure. We got to go in there and play as hard as we possibly can,” Reaves said. “Obviously play smart as well, but when we do that and we are clicking on both ends of the floor, we feel like we’re a tough team to beat. But Sunday will be a really good test for the start of basically the playoffs. Just getting into that mindset, getting into that competitive spirit of this is that time of the year. It’s a beautiful time of the year, best basketball in my opinion just because every team is competing for one common goal and once we do that as a collective group and play the right basketball, we feel like we got a really good opportunity.”

Reaves and the Lakers have typically been at their best around this time of the year, and now they have an opportunity to beat the Pelicans on the road to earn the eighth spot going into next week’s Play-In Tournament.

Rui Hachimura calls out Lakers for ‘messing around’ against Grizzlies

Rui Hachimura shared a different sentiment than Reaves after the Lakers’ win over the Grizzlies, calling his team out for ‘messing around’ in a game that should have been a blowout.

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