Austin Reaves: Lakers Had To Be Almost Perfect After Slow Start Vs. Suns
Austin Reaves, Devin Booker, Lakers, Suns
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers had a tough task in front of them as they took on the Phoenix Suns in an early Sunday contest. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they put themselves in a deep hole early on, giving up 45 points to the Suns in the first quarter, trailing by 17 points headed to the second.

The team did an excellent job of bouncing back and giving themselves a chance late, but they just weren’t able to get over the hump, ultimately losing by 10. After the game, Austin Reaves praised the team for battling back after the slow start, but felt that they had to be basically perfect once they fell behind.

“It’s tough. You never want to start the game off like that obviously,” Reaves said after the game. “But I thought we did a good job battling back after that but like you said it puts yourself in a tough situation where you almost had to play perfect the rest of the game. Like I said, we did a good job battling back but we had a couple of mishaps and we almost had to be perfect.”

The main reason for the Lakers’ loss on this night was their failure to rebound. The Suns had 14 offensive rebounds, seven from Jusuf Nurkic, which led to 22 second-chance points and Reaves felt the Lakers didn’t do a good enough job of helping Anthony Davis out on the glass.

“(Jusuf) Nurkic is just a big body that likes to be physical,” Reaves added. “We didn’t do a good job helping AD (Anthony Davis) because he’s battling, trying to box him out. And they shoot a lot of jump shots, so a lot of those rebounds come off much further away from the basket. We’ve got to do a better job with that, and we’ve got to do a better job not fouling.”

Some will see Nurkic’s 22 rebounds and look at Davis as failing to keep him off the glass, but like Reaves said. it is an entire team effort and the Lakers as a whole failed to support the big man.

Even still, the Lakers had a number of chances to get themselves over the hump and potentially take the lead, but were unable to convert on a couple big 3-pointers and it felt like every time that happened, Phoenix was able to respond with a big shot of their own, which made all the difference.

“Yeah. They shot the ball really well, 17-of-40 from 3,” Reaves said. “Like you said, a couple of those possessions, we had opportunities on the offensive end for us to kind of put points on the board and we didn’t, which gave them maybe a runout to a swing, swing 3. So yeah, those are tough. But that’s just basketball and like I said, starting off like that, you almost have to be perfect and we weren’t after that.”

The Lakers have a small margin for error in the standings right now and every game matters. The same goes within the games themselves and against Phoenix the Lakers lessened the margin even more with the slow start. As Reaves said, that forced them to need to be perfect and they just weren’t able to pull that off.

Austin Reaves: Lakers must continue to ‘play the right way’ post All-Star break

The Lakers had won six of their last seven games going into All-Star Weekend and hoped to continue that momentum post All-Star Weekend. In order to do so, Reaves feels the team has to just continue playing the way they had been.

“I think it’s just continuing to play the game the right way,” Reaves said after practice on Wednesday. “It’s not much rocket science behind it, it’s just if we have to, we’ll go back and watch the games where we played well and just replicate that. You can’t control always making shots or missing shots and all that but you can control effort and playing the right way.”

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