Austin Reaves Happy With 150 Points Against Pacers But Understands Lakers Must Improve Defensively
Austin Reaves, Lakers, Pacers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The 150 points scored by the Los Angeles Lakers against the Indiana Pacers was their highest scoring performance since 1987. Four Lakers starters scored at least 25 points, including Austin Reaves, who added eight assists and five rebounds to go along with his 25 points while also knocking down 11-of-12 shots at the free throw line.

The Lakers are normally a team that relies on their defense, but against the highest scoring team in the league in the Pacers, they needed their offense to kick it up and they did. The Lakers were aggressive in attacking the basket and shot the ball well from three, but Reaves doesn’t want them to lose their defensive identity.

After the game, Reaves noted that the Lakers still have to remain focused on defense as giving up 145 points just isn’t acceptable.

“Yeah, I think a lot. You never want to give up 145,” Reaves said after the Lakers’ five-point win. “They got hot late, I think with under a minute left they probably hit three or four 3s, maybe more.

“But we just got to be better on the ball, in rotations and really just collectively guard as a team. When we do that, you got AD back there making things tough in the paint, we’re a good defensive team or are defensive-minded.”

The presence of Anthony Davis down low always changes things and the Lakers as a team do a good job of funneling the opposition towards him in the paint where he wreaks havoc. That has been the key to success and while Reaves was happy with how the team performed offensively Sunday night, he knows they can’t rely on that kind of performance on a nightly basis.

“To put up 150, obviously you were doing something right on the offensive end,” Reaves added. “We shot 43 free throws, made 38 of them, which is a really good number as a team. I think we were just playing downhill, physical and trying to get to the paint. When you do that, you get easy ones at the free throw line and then on top of that, we shot the 3-ball well.

“So you enjoy it, you don’t really plan on doing that every night. So obviously we got to be better defensively, but when it does happen and with the way they play, a win is a win.”

At this stage of the season, the Lakers will take the victory any way they can get it. But as Reaves said, this is still a defensive team first and foremost and the Lakers can’t lose sight of that.

Austin Reaves says Lakers in a ‘must-win’ mindset

The Lakers missed out on a couple opportunities recently to help themselves climb up the Western Conference standings and that does not sit well with this team. But now as they truly hit the home stretch of the regular season, Austin Reaves feels the team is really in a must-win mindset.

“You see kind of how things can change so quick that I think everybody, especially from that Atlanta game the other night, you can tell everybody was locked in on one goal and that was winning. The way we do that is playing the game the right way, so I think the intensity is ratcheting up and we’re kind of in that mindset of must-win.”

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