It feels like the Los Angeles Lakers are finally starting to figure some things out after they picked up their third consecutive victory, the most recent win a thrilling overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
Both squads came in shorthanded as the Mavericks were without Luka Doncic, while the Lakers lost key role players in Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk and Dwight Howard due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Despite this, it was a close contest throughout the night with neither team able to create much separation. While Los Angeles’ Big 3 had another great outing together, it was the role players that stepped up and secured the victory for the Lakers.
Austin Reaves has been playing well since returning from his hamstring injury, but he broke out against the Mavericks as he scored 15 points all on 3-pointers. However, Reaves had his best moment as a pro to date as he drained the game-winning three in overtime.
After the game, the rookie talked about his journey as an undrafted rookie and what it meant for his teammates to trust him with such an important shot.
“It’s been the story of my life. Always being underrated. I didn’t go to a big high school, so I didn’t get recruited much, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to produce on the basketball court and for me to hit that shot and my teammates having the trust in me to take that shot is very, very special.”
On a team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, it would make sense that one of the stars would take the final shot in a clutch moment so Reaves sounded honored he could come up huge and celebrate with all of them.
“Just the genuine nature of the guys. You don’t see that much, especially with the type of guys that we have on the team. Six Hall of Famers and other guys that have been in the league for 10-12 years. So really just the genuineness of it. It’s just special. I’m lost for words.
“I’ve grown up watching all these guys play, so for me to even just be teammates with them is special.”
Reaves has been nothing short of a revelation for the Lakers as he has shown that he is much better than your average undrafted rookie. Against Dallas, Reaves played excellently on both ends of the floor, but his outside shooting is what can really help him make an impact on this specific L.A. unit.
At this point, head coach Frank Vogel has no choice but to give the rookie more minutes and it will be exciting to watch Reaves continue to grow as a player.
Reaves thought he got fouled on final play
When talking about the final play, Reaves thought he got fouled although that obviously didn’t end up mattering and he was just happy to come through for his team to get a big win.
“I thought he fouled me, but that’s beside the point. But it’s basketball. I didn’t care if I scored or if Russ scored or Bron scored. I just wanted to win the game. That’s really all that matters is that if we win or not. But it happened that the ball came to me with a couple seconds. I didn’t have an opportunity to really do anything else. I had to shoot it.
“Like I said earlier, just the confidence that Russ instills in me is a story going back to Sacramento in Summer League where I went 1-for-8 from three. He come in the locker room and was like, ‘Way to shoot it.’ I’m looking at him like what are you talking about. I shot horrible. ‘Nah, I’m just happy you’re shooting it.’
“Just those little things throughout the course from everybody on the team. It can be AB, [Rajon] Rondo. Just things like that really instill confidence in myself.”
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