Lakers News: Austin Reaves Shares Challenges Of Defending Warriors Compared To Grizzlies
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The decision to insert guard Austin Reaves in the starting lineup on March 22 led to an 8-2 regular season finish for the Los Angeles Lakers. The change was calculated with Rob Pelinka mentioning that trade deadline moves were made to give Reaves more touches and minutes.

So far, it’s paid off. Reaves has continued to be a strong piece of the Lakers’ rotation in the playoffs, averaging nearly 37 minutes per game. He was the primary defender on Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane in the first round of the Playoffs, while still being a facilitator on offense. Reaves managed to still average 16.5 points per game.

But, as the rounds move on, the tougher the games become and the more the Lakers will lean on Reaves’ defense. He was slotted on Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson in Game 1 on Tuesday. Reaves defended Thompson for 7 minutes of game time, the most of any player. Thompson had just seven points on 3-for-7 shooting when Reaves was his primary defender.

Defending a player like Thompson who is constantly moving poses challenges for Reaves, which he acknowledged after the game.

“Like you said, Steph and Klay, even [Jordan Poole], they never stop moving. They’re always going, going, going. So, it’s just getting rest, as much treatment, feeling as good as you can because I mean someone’s got to run out there and chase them around and try to make it difficult for them.”

The main difference between facing the Grizzlies and Warriors lies in the physicality. Memphis plays a more physical style of basketball compared to the Warriors’ free-flowing offense, which puts pressure on the legs of a defender.

Reaves made it clear he can handle that type of challenge on defense but said there is a lot of pressure on the legs no matter if the Warriors play physically or not.

“Yeah, I think you so. I mean even [Desmond] Bane last series, he comes off a lot of down screens, double screens, ball screens. So it’s kind of similar in that sense, but yeah I mean, we are athletes and we train to go through this.”

The Lakers will need anything they can get from Reaves on the defensive end this series. He’s also important on the offensive end, therefore, running around defending the Warriors’ shooters can limit his role on that side of the ball.

Anthony Davis leads L.A. to Game 1 road victory

The impressive performance of Anthony Davis in Game 1 led the Los Angeles Lakers to a huge victory, stealing home court advantage. Davis finished with 30 points and 23 rebounds, becoming the first player to have 30 and 20 in a playoff game since Shaquille O’Neal in 2004.

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

The Tale of Three Cities: LeBron James’ Career in Cleveland, Miami, and Los Angeles

LeBron James’ illustrious NBA journey through Cleveland, Miami, and Los Angeles has…

Lakers News: Frank Vogel Reflects On LeBron James’ 18-Year NBA Anniversary

It is hard to believe, but Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James remains among the NBA’s elite despite being in Year 19…

Lakers News: Austin Reaves Appreciates Time Playing With LeBron James & Hopes It Continues

Throughout his career, there have always been certain types of players who just fit perfectly alongside Los Angeles Lakers star…

Kobe Bryant Gets His Game on with NBA 2K13

The NBA has the luxury of having one of the best video…