In their final game of the 2021-22 season, the Los Angeles Lakers gave their fans something to cheer about as they overcame a double-digit deficit to beat the Denver Nuggets in overtime.
The Nuggets had already secured a playoff spot, so they only trotted out reserves and the end of the bench versus the Lakers, who went with a similar rotation in their victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. While the win against Oklahoma City featured a well-balanced attack, the night was dominated by Austin Reaves and Malik Monk, who led the comeback against Denver.
Reaves was the hero of the night as he came out the gates doing a little bit of everything. From rebounding to playmaking, Reaves showed off his versatile skillset before taking over in the second half. The rookie guard made play after play in the fourth quarter and even came up with a steal and layup in the final seconds to force the extra period.
In the extra period, Reaves would tack on another seven points to secure the win for Los Angeles. Reaves ended up with 31 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists, becoming just the fifth Laker rookie to record a triple-double.
Not to be outdone by his Arkansas counterpart, Monk had himself a career night as well. The shooting guard was hot from the field almost the entire game, scoring in a variety of ways that will surely raise his stock in free agency. Monk wound up scoring a career-high 41 points on an efficient 14-of-25 shooting.
Stanley Johnson played the most minutes for the Lakers (46), scoring 15 points to go along with eight rebounds and three assists. Meanwhile, Wenyen Gabriel had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, working hard in the paint to give the team extra possessions.
Wayne Ellington led the bench with 18 points, going 6-of-10 from the field including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Talen Horton-Tucker looked like he was on his way to another big scoring night, but unfortunately re-aggravated his left ankle sprain and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest.
The night was capped off in exciting fashion with G League call-up Mac McClung throwing down a highlight dunk as time expired on the overtime clock.
Next up for the Lakers
Unfortunately, the Lakers will not be in the playoffs which means they will have an extended offseason for rest and relaxation. However, the front office will be busy looking for a new head coach as well as exploring options on how to improve the roster for the 2022-23 season.
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