Austin Reaves Says Celtics Game Felt Like One Lakers ‘Should’ve Won’
Austin Reaves, Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Second-year guard Austin Reaves has become one of the most important and reliable parts of the Los Angeles Lakers rotation. Reaves regularly finishes games for the Lakers and is an all-around contributor being able to create, shoot and defend at a high level.

Reaves played 36 minutes in the Lakers’ thrilling loss to the Boston Celtics, third-most on the team. The back-and-forth contest saw the Lakers fight back from a 20-point third-quarter deficit to lead by 13 late in the fourth before ultimately falling by four points in overtime in a game that Reaves felt should have gone the Lakers’ way.

“Obviously we didn’t get off to the start we wanted to,” Reaves said after the game. “We looked up and it was 30-16 so they had a 14-point lead and at one point it was 20 in the third maybe. But I’m really happy with the way we competed in the fourth, end of the third and start of the fourth, throughout the whole fourth honestly. You’re gonna lose games in this league but that one felt like we should’ve won.”

As for what really pushed the Lakers to go on that massive run to take their lead, Reaves believes the reason was simple.

“I think it was just energy and effort, everybody laying it out on the line,” the second-year guard added. “Especially for me and Troy, that was our focus. We knew AD, Bron and Russ were gonna take care of it on the offensive end so the defensive end was really a point of emphasis for me and him. But everybody played well on the defensive end in that fourth quarter. I think it was just effort.”

Reaves, Brown and Russell Westbrook all played over 30 minutes off the bench, joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis in giving the Lakers a chance to win. The Lakers made things difficult by falling behind early, and while them coming off a long road trip may have contributed to that, Reaves is just happy with the fight the Lakers showed.

“We’ll watch film and really assess us individually and as a group, but sometimes it’s like that,” Reaves noted. “You can’t disregard what they’re trying to do either. They’re arguably the best team in the league for a reason and they make things happen. So I’m just happy with the way we fought back.”

The fight was admirable and the Lakers have shown they can hang with the NBA’s best, but the entire team would much prefer these close losses turn into wins.

Darvin Ham wishes he managed timeouts better in second half

While the reserve trio of Reaves, Westbrook and Brown all played more than 30 minutes, the Lakers’ superstar duo of Davis and LJames played 46 and 43 minutes, respectively, as Ham road that group throughout the second half. Ham admitted that he tried to use timeouts to give the group rest, but wishes he had done better.

“Just strategically trying to wisely use our timeouts,” Ham said. “Give them breaks that way. It’s hard because you don’t want to; it’s two-fold … I mentioned it after the Detroit game, you have guys that are in a good rhythm together, so you don’t want to disrupt that, and on the flip side of that, you don’t want to put a player at risk because they’ve been sitting down over there on the bench for so long, and then you bring them out there and expect the intensity and the speed of the game is at such a level where it’s very easy to get hurt in a situation like that.

“Just trying to manage the timeouts. I could’ve done a better job in certain instances and using my timeouts quicker, but you know, that falls on me.”

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