Austin Reaves: Lakers Never Stopped Believing They Could Come Back & Beat Clippers
Austin Reaves, Lakers, Clippers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

When a team trails by more than 20 points in the fourth quarter, it can be easy to just pack everything in and mentally check out. But that wasn’t the case with the Los Angeles Lakers as LeBron James led the way and the likes of Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura followed.

LeBron knocked down a trio of 3-pointers early in the fourth that really changed the momentum of the game and once things started going the Lakers way, it never let up. The Lakers would come back from down 21 in the fourth to capture a huge 116-112 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Of course LeBron and his 19-point fourth quarter was the story afterwards, but Reaves also spoke to the mental toughness of the Lakers as a whole as once the momentum turned their way, they believed they could pull off the comeback.

“Once you get the momentum in a game like that, obviously in those moments you’re like, ‘We can win this.’ And you feel that,” Reaves said after the win. “I think we might’ve started the fourth quarter with like three 3s in a row and once kind of that happened, you kind of felt the momentum shifting in our direction.

“In that moment, we were like ‘We can still win this game’ and that’s what we did. Obviously LeBron had an unbelievable performance, but everyone stepped up around him, got stops and really competed really hard in the fourth.”

The Lakers’ defense held the Clippers to 41% shooting and just 16 points in the fourth quarter. And when the Clippers began shifting their defense towards LeBron, he made the right play with both Hachimura and Russell hitting huge shots late to cap off the comeback.

And while the rest of the world might have been in awe of James, Reaves felt it was another case of him doing what he does best.

“Really just him being him,” Reaves added. “Like I said, he hit a couple 3s early in the quarter and got it going. At that point, regardless of what’s happening on defense, make or miss, when you get a rebound, you just look for him and get him the ball and get out the way and he’s gonna do something special. That’s what he did tonight.

“Even when they started doubling, he made the right play as always and Rui hit a 3, they got a reverse layup, and then DLo hit a 3 as well. So yeah, like you said, I think the world expects that from LeBron.”

It shouldn’t be possible for James to do these things in his 21st NBA season, but he has made the impossible very possible throughout his career and the Lakers benefitted greatly from it on this night.

Lakers’ Anthony Davis had ‘fanboy moment’ watching LeBron James’ fourth quarter

Someone else who thoroughly enjoyed watching LeBron go on that tear was Anthony Davis, who was on the bench for most of the hot shooting stretch in the fourth. And Davis admitted that watching from the sideline gave him a bit of a fanboy moment.

“I was off the floor when he went through his little stretch, I was on the floor when he was doing his passes,” Davis said. “But I’ve been around him long enough, played with him long enough to see and be on the floor when he’s had those moments, He is who he is. He’s a phenomenal basketball player and he makes a ton of plays for our team. So to witness it from the sideline tonight, it was definitely a fanboy moment.”

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