The Los Angeles Lakers were able to go into the All-Star break on a positive note after coming back to defeat the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
The Lakers could have easily folded after losing Anthony Davis for the rest of the game due to an ankle sprain, but the team as a whole stepped up in the second half to pull off the victory. Without Davis, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook carried the burden on the offensive end while the role players did their part on both ends to complete the comeback.
While James and Westbrook took over the fourth quarter scoring for Los Angeles, it was Austin Reaves who hit the biggest shot of the night. In the final minute, Reaves found himself open behind the arc and managed to drain the shot and give the Lakers a cushion to close things out.
Reaves was proud of the moment but was happy that his Lakers teammates trusted him with such an important shot.
“It means a lot. I’m a rookie, undrafted, and for those guys to have the faith in me to step up and make big shots it’s special,” Reaves said. “It really just pushes me to believe in myself a lot more. Those guys are some of the greatest players to ever play. For them to have the trust in me, like I said, it’s special. It can’t go unnoticed.”
Reaves, who has made a number of big shots for the Lakers this season, elaborated on what gives him the confidence to take them.
“I got a couple good looks earlier in the game from three that just didn’t go. But I mean, you got to always shoot open shots. Teammates, coaches keep preaching to me ‘shoot it if you’re open.’ Doesn’t matter if I miss four or five in a row, just shoot the next one with confidence so when it comes to me- that’s what went through my mind.”
As the 2021-22 season has gone on, Reaves has looked more and more comfortable on the floor and is finally starting to turn a corner as far as his aggression when scoring the basketball. The rookie built off his impressive performance against the Golden State Warriors with another clutch showing against the Jazz and at this point looks like a fixture in the team’s closing lineups.
The win was much-needed considering the slump the Lakers have been in recent weeks, though they do get the All-Star break to rest and recharge before the final stretch of the season commences. Reaves should have a bigger role following the layoff and it will be fun to see him continue his steady climb.
Reaves enjoyed James’ performance
While Reaves hit the big shot, it was James who put on a show in the fourth quarter and the rookie enjoyed it.
“It’s awesome,” Reaves said. “Definitely great to have him on our team, but it’s Bron. He’s always capable of doing that every game, especially when he gets into that mode. Shooting the ball that well. There’s nothing that you can really do to stop him.
“Like I said, it’s good to have him on our team and it’s fun to be a part of because you are really just witnessing greatness.”
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