The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Indiana Pacers in Las Vegas on Saturday night to win the NBA’s first In-Season Tournament.
They were led by their stars in this one as Anthony Davis had an incredible 41-point, 20-rebound performance while LeBron James had 24 points, 11 rebounds and four assists while taking home MVP honors of the tournament.
Austin Reaves also had his best game of the season off the bench despite having the flu. He finished with 28 point, two rebounds and three assists on 9-of-15 shooting.
As a former undrafted free agent, Reaves spoke on what it means to him to win the first NBA Cup.
“It means a lot. I’ve spoke about it a lot. Just being able to bring light to kids that had the same situation as I did growing up. You know, for me, being from a small town of 1,100 people, not a lot of people leave that graduate high school. They might go to college and stay there and basically just work their whole life there and find a job around the town that you live in.
“But just being able to show kids that it’s possible to chase your dream, and regardless of what your dream is, don’t let anybody tell you that it’s not possible. I probably had a lot of people look at me sideways when I was running around school, telling everybody I wanted to be in the NBA. I didn’t care what they thought. I was just going to chase that regardless.”
L.A. is a city that is used to winning, regardless of what it is, so Reaves knows that being the first to ever win this tournament means something to the fans as well.
“It means a lot. The sports in L.A. is I think second-to-none. Just to be in a place that loves the game of basketball, one, but sports in general is sweet. Hopefully we can bring the city championships throughout all sports.”
Reaves is very competitive and while he knows this is not an NBA Championship, he wants to win at whatever he does.
“It’s awesome. Any time you can be the first to win or do anything or win anything, it’s cool. The money is obviously a good, extra bonus, but any time we get on the court and compete as a unit, we want to win regardless of the tournament or regular-season game. To be able to say that we won the first one is really cool.”
Reaves praises Lakers’ defense against Pacers
The Pacers came into the championship game on a roll, boasting the No. 1 offense in the league while beating quality teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks in the tournament.
The Lakers were able to slow Tyrese Haliburton and the Pacers down though, which Reaves believes was key in the victory.
“Yeah, any time — they had 99 with I think two to play or 1:30 to play. Any time you can hold the No. 1 offense in the league and a guy like Tyrese, his efficiency and the way he plays the game — I thought regardless of Cam’s points, rebounds, assists, I thought he was one of the best players on the floor tonight with the way he pressured, kind of deaded their outlets and slowed their pace down.
“As a unit, everybody seemed to be locked in on the task at hand. If that’s the case, we believe we can be really good.”
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