Austin Reaves: Lakers Have To Be Better After ‘Super Frustrating’ Loss To Kings
Austin Reaves, Lakers, Kings
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers’ issues with the Sacramento Kings continued on Wednesday night as they dropped to 0-3 against their division rivals this season in a 130-120 loss. De’Aaron Fox tied a career-high with 44 points on the night as Austin Reaves and the rest of the Lakers defense were unable to keep him out of the paint all night long.

The Lakers actually got off to a great start in the contest, leading by 19 points late in the first quarter before everything crumbled. The Kings scored the final 10 points of the first before dominating the second quarter 44-20 and never looked back. Reaves admitted to being frustrated after the loss not only individually, but for the team as a whole.

“Super frustrating. Anytime you lose, you should be frustrated,” Reaves said. “You should feel some type of way about how you played as an individual and what you can do to better help the team be successful. Like you said, we had a really good pretty much first quarter, but a really good first nine minutes. We just got to figure out how to continue that for a full 48 minutes.”

A reason they couldn’t keep it up was because of Fox and Malik Monk taking over and the Lakers being unable to match them. Fox is already one of the top scorers in the NBA, but he especially dominates the Lakers, averaging 36.3 points in three games this year. Reaves credited not only Fox himself, but the way the Kings have built their roster as making it nearly impossible to keep him in check.

“Anytime you’re guarding a guy like De’Aaron, it’s tough because I think early in his career, he didn’t shoot the 3 great,” Reaves added. “But now, he’s shooting it and shooting it with confidence and making them. Everything looks good coming off his hands, so you have to account for that. On top of that, he’s arguably one of the fastest guards in the league and it’s a tough task to keep him out of your paint.

“But I think as a collective group, you had to guard him that way. You have to guard him with five guys. They’ve done a really good job orchestrating that roster to fit around him and Sabonis with shooting. So it’s tough, but we have to do better, I have to do better individually to try to stay in front of him.”

Of course even when the Lakers did do a good job of defending and contesting Fox and Monk, the duo were still able to hit a number of tough shots which only adds to the frustration. “Yeah. Anytime you’re a competitor and you have a task at hand in front of you and you fail on that possession, it’s frustrating,” Reaves said. “Or at least it’s frustrating for me.

“There was a couple times I thought I played good defense and De’Aaron and Malik just made shots. That’s a testament to their skill level and their ability to put the ball in the basket. But at the same time, it’s basketball and you know going into every game you’re not gonna hold a team to 10 points. They score the ball as well as any team in the league and you have to have a very short term memory and move on to the next possession.”

Unfortunately for Reaves and the Lakers, the next possession usually brought about more Kings points as their division rival continued to show themselves to be a matchup nightmare for this team.

Lakers’ LeBron James ‘alright’ after tweaking ankle late vs. Kings

Making things even worse for the Lakers was that LeBron James left the loss to the Kings late in the fourth due to injury. Afterwards, LeBron downplayed the injury, saying that he tweaked the same ankle that has been bothering him all year long, but insisting he’ll be fine.

“I’ll be alright,” James said. “It was what I was dealing with before the break, after the break. Just managing it as best as I can. Played the whole third, sat a little bit to start the fourth. When I got back in, it was kind of just whatever. Something I need to deal with.”

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