The Los Angeles Lakers finally got in the win column on Sunday night, hanging on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 121-118, in what was a fun, back-and-forth game.
The Lakers received strong play from their three stars, but beyond that, they also got key contributions from their role players to help secure the victory.
Carmelo Anthony was the main contributor, leading the team with 28 points on an efficient 10-of-15 shooting (6-of-8 from three) in what was a historic night for the 19-year veteran. Outside of him though, Malik Monk and Austin Reaves both were a big part of the win for the Lakers.
Monk had his best all-around game since coming to L.A., scoring 12 points to go along with two rebounds and four assists. Reaves saw his first non-garbage-time minutes of the season and although he only had four points and three assists, he was a plus-18 in 18 minutes thanks in large part to his defensive toughness.
After the game, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel made sure to highlight the play of both Monk and Reaves in the victory.
“They were terrific,” Vogel said. “I didn’t think I’d be putting Austin on Ja Morant but it ended up that way and he’s just playing well on both sides of the ball. He did a good job of competing. Every time when his number is called, he gets in there and plays well.
“And I love Monk’s instincts for the game, I really do. It’s just one of those things, like just using his athleticism defensively, getting up to speed with how we want to execute our defensive schemes, he’s really come along with that and both of those guys were a huge part of the win.”
Going into this season, many questioned the Lakers’ supporting cast around LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. Those questions continued when L.A. started off 0-2 and weren’t getting much production from their bench.
The emergence of Monk and Reaves should be huge for this team moving forward though as they continue to play without a number of key role players such as Trevor Ariza, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and Wayne Ellington.
While it will take time for all of the Lakers’ pieces to fit together, it’s becoming clear that depth could be a strength for this team and Vogel could have a number of options to go to on a nightly basis when things aren’t working.
Reaves compares game to Joe Ingles
It’s only been a couple of games, but so far it’s looking like the Lakers have found another steal in Reaves, who they signed as an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma.
The Lakers have outscored their opponents by 35 points in the 30 minutes Reaves has played this season thanks in large part to his all-around play. Reaves’ ability to impact the game without scoring is similar to Utah Jazz wing Joe Ingles, who the rookie recently compared his game to.
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