The Los Angeles Lakers completed the biggest comeback of any NBA team this season, fighting back from a 27-point first-half deficit to get a huge road win over the Dallas Mavericks. Anthony Davis and LeBron James led the way, but the Lakers got some huge contributions from role players as well such as Jarred Vanderbilt, Dennis Schroder and Austin Reaves.
Reaves has been one of the team’s most consistent role players all year long and what makes him so important to the Lakers is his attitude and fearlessness. That was on display in Dallas in a way that normally doesn’t happen as he and Mavericks wing Josh Green got into it in the fourth quarter with Reaves getting right into Green’s face and talking back and forth.
But when asked about the incident after the contest, Reaves wouldn’t open up much on his feelings about it, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I don’t have any thoughts,” Reaves said on the heated moment. “We were just playing basketball, competing. It’s a fun part about the game.”
The Lakers guard would at least let it be known that he didn’t care for something Green said, but wouldn’t elaborate on exactly what it was that sparked his response:
“I feel like I always play with high intensity. I try to play every game like it’s my last, something was said and I didn’t really like it… it was a good basketball game.”
Whatever was said, it definitely angered Reaves and caused him to have some serious words with Green. Jovan Buha of The Athletic was near the area where the exchange took place and was able to catch exactly what Reaves said to the young Mavericks wing:
Austin Reaves to Josh Green: "You ain't s—. I'll f— you up."
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) February 26, 2023
Reaves is a player who looks like he can be pushed around and opposing players will often try and test him. But he has shown that he will not back down from anyone and it is why he has carved himself out a significant role on this Lakers team. And there’s no doubt his exchange with Green helped energize the Lakers, eventually leading to the big win.
Jarred Vanderbilt enjoys challenge of guarding stars like Luka Doncic
Another role player who made a huge impact in the Lakers’ win over Dallas was Jarred Vanderbilt, who finished with 15 points, 17 rebounds and four steals while hounding Mavericks star Luka Doncic all night.
It is that defensive role which drives Vanderbilt and he spoke about that, noting that he enjoys the challenge of being able to guard the opposing team’s best player regardless of position and looks forward to that matchup every game.
Vanderbilt may not have had the biggest name of all the Lakers’ acquisitions, but with what he brings to the team, he could wind up being the most important addition of the season.
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