Things finally went the right way for the Los Angeles Lakers in the team’s first victory of the year against the Denver Nuggets as they got contributions not only from the stars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, but also the role players like Matt Ryan, Wenyen Gabriel and Austin Reaves.
Reaves did a little bit of everything on the night, finishing with 10 points, four rebounds and two assists, but most importantly made some huge timely plays in the second half. His three-point play with five seconds left in the third quarter capped an 18-to-2 run to end that quarter and his deep 3 midway through the fourth put the Lakers up double-digits.
Everything clicked for the Lakers in the second half and Reaves gave credit to head coach Darvin Ham, who the players were happy to get him his first win as a head coach.
“It started with Darvin [Ham],” Reaves said after the win. “Obviously we wish it was earlier but everybody was super excited for him. I’m sure he’s super excited for himself but he’ll never forget that. As a team, I thought we competed well. Defensively we’ve been great but just continuing that and tonight we made shots.”
Defense has not been the issue for the Lakers this season as they have been more than solid on that end of the floor. Against Denver, the shots finally fell as the Lakers hit 43.3 percent from 3-point range, but it was that run to end the third quarter that truly changed things.
The Lakers were in danger of the game getting out of hand but instead of rolling over, they turned things around and Reaves pointed to the team’s ball movement as being key. “Just playing hard and sharing the basketball,” the second-year guard added. “I’m a firm believer in basketball having energy if you get it moving. So that was the main thing and then like I said, on the defensive end just competing.”
It is just one win, but for Reaves and the Lakers, it has the chance to be a building block for success this season and if they can continue to compete defensively and create great shots, things could begin to turn around and the Lakers can get Darvin Ham even more wins.
Ham discusses what changed in Lakers first win of the season
Ham obviously took great joy in getting his first ever head coach win and for the Lakers to finally get in the win column. And he discussed what he believes changed on the night for his team.
“I just think guys got tired of going through the same motions for the last five games where we’ll be highly competitive and some kind of way fumble the ball and end up on the wrong side of the game, getting L’s,” Ham said after the contest.
“So I just saw a different type of focus. Guys really just digging in, coming together and that’s a part of it. It’s a part of the process, you have to go through that bad in order to understand why tonight feels so great.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!