The stars always get the most attention, but a team’s role players can be the difference in a good team becoming a great team. On Wednesday for the Los Angeles Lakers, it was Wayne Ellington and Austin Reaves who proved to be the ultimate difference in a win and a loss.
Ellington knocked down a corner three with two seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime and Reaves won the game with his career-high fifth 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds left in the extra period as the Lakers escaped Dallas with a 107-104 overtime victory over the Mavericks. The win was the Lakers’ third straight and they now sit at 16-13 on the season.
The game was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Lakers start strong with a 10-point lead after one. The Mavericks would storm back in the second quarter, however, including a 15-0 run to take a three-point halftime lead. The second half was tight all the way through with both teams hitting a number of big shots and also missing some open looks as well.
LeBron James led the Lakers with 24 points and five assists while Russell Westbrook nearly notched a triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Anthony Davis, meanwhile, shook off a rough first half to finish with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
But the star on this night was Reaves, who hit 5-of-6 from 3-point range to finish with a career-high 15 points and seven rebounds. The undrafted rookie earned his way into the Lakers’ closing lineup not only with his shooting but some great defensive play as well, as the Lakers often struggled to contain the Dallas guards even without Luka Doncic.
It looked as if the Lakers would drop another game to an undermanned team after LeBron missed a deep three with under 10 seconds remaining in regulation. It looked like Dallas secured the rebound, but Davis ripped it away and Ellington ran to the loose ball, pump-faked a defender out of the way, and calmly knocked down a corner three to tie things up.
The final minute of overtime saw an array of amazing threes from both sides as Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a 30-foot three to tie the game, but Westbrook responded with a corner three to put the Lakers back ahead. Maxi Kleber would then bank in a three of his own with just 15 seconds left to set the stage for Reaves’ heroics.
Ellington would finish with nine points, three assists and three steals on the night while Carmelo Anthony also added nine points off the bench to help the Lakers kick off their three-game road trip with a win.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers continue their three-game road trip when they head to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves Friday night before heading to Chicago to take on the Bulls on Sunday.
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