Austin Reaves: Lakers Are Playing Best Basketball At Right Time
Austin Reaves, Lakers
Apr 6, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves (15) passes the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Max Strus (1) during the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have been on a run for a considerable portion of their season by this point. The recent success is a four-game winning streak and nine wins in their last 10 games, but the success can be traced all the way back to a Feb. 9 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. By that time, the Lakers had established their final starting five of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura.

Since that day, the Lakers are 18-7, tied for the second-most wins and the second-best win percentage in the NBA. They have the No. 2 offensive rating in basketball behind only the league-leading Boston Celtics and the ninth-best net rating. And that has culminated with the Lakers climbing to the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with control over their own destiny to get up to No. 7.

And with only four games remaining until the Play-In Tournament and the postseason, Reaves is glad to see the Lakers playing their best basketball of the season.

“I think we’re in a really good spot,” Reaves said. “And like you said, it’s all about playing your best basketball at the right time.

“Go back to last year, and we’re it’s kind of a similar spot and, won that first Play-In game and then make a run to the Western Conference Finals, and like I said, it’s all about peaking at the right time and playing unselfish basketball and caring about one another, and you’re like I said, really just want to win. And like I said, at the end of the day, if your team is bought into winning, you’ll do whatever it takes to win.”

Much of the Lakers’ success has been their offense in the last couple of months, and that numbers back that up. But Reaves is focused on the mindset that the whole team has that he believes has led to their offensive success.

“You kind of feel and remember when times things were kind of changing offensively, and we were just getting into a better rhythm. And I think it was just more so us getting used to playing with one another. And like I said, our common goal is to win. And that’s what everybody in this locker room wants to do. So when that’s the common goal don’t matter if you know Bron scores 20, AD scores 20 … it is really just about winning.”

The Lakers desperately needed to find a rhythm on at least one side of the court to make a run. Last season, their defense allowed them to do it, and this year, it’s their offense. Either way, the Lakers are winning games and finding ways to climb up the conference ranks.

Austin Reaves praises Gabe Vincent

Gabe Vincent made his long-awaited return on March 31 in Brooklyn during L.A.’s six-game road trip. While his offense has yet to come along, the team desperately missed his perimeter defense.

Vincent continued to showcase his tenacious defense in Sunday’s win against the Cleveland Cavaliers by guarding Donovan Mitchell, who only scored 10 points. Reaves spoke to the positive impact that the veteran point has had since returning.

“Oh, a lot,” Reaves said. “You know exactly what you’re gonna get from Gabe. Every single game, he’s gonna go out there and compete at the highest level on that end. And that’s what we need from him once he gets a feel for the game again. He hasn’t played for so long. Once he gets a feel for the game, shots will start falling and stuff like that. So Gabe is a big part of what we’re trying to do, especially defensively because he’s so active and plays so hard.”

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