Lakers News: Matt Ryan Had ‘Unwavering’ Confidence Leading Up To ‘Biggest Shot Of My Life’
Matt Ryan, Lakers
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers gave Matt Ryan their final roster spot because of his 3-point shooting. and he came through in the biggest way possible on Wednesday night. With the Lakers down three points with just 1.3 seconds remaining, head coach Darvin Ham inserted Ryan back in the game and he came through with an unbelievable buzzer-beating shot to send the Lakers to overtime with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Lakers would come out victorious in the extra frame and Ryan was the recipient of a ton of praise after the game. But Ryan was not going to take all the credit for himself.

“[Ham] drew up a great play,” Ryan said after the game. “AD gave me a great back screen, Austin made the pass and I was just glad I didn’t step out of bounds or on the line. Glad it was a 3 and glad it went in. I was just glad that we had five more minutes to try and get a win.”

Everyone did their job perfectly on the play and Ryan did an excellent job of checking his feet as he caught the ball to ensure it would be a 3-pointer. That shot would be Ryan’s last second on the court as he would go back to the bench for overtime. But he understood his role, something Ham has been preaching to everyone.

“100%. Do your job,” Ryan added. “If I see my name on the board, I’m in. If my name isn’t on the board, I’m not in. If I’m in, I got to go hard. If I’m not in, I got to cheer my teammates on. I’m not in a position to demand 30 minutes a game or 15 shots a game. I’m gonna take what I get and do the best I can with it.”

Ryan’s best saved the Lakers on this night and gave them a chance to win, which they did. It wasn’t Ryan’s best night as he made just 3-of-9 attempts from deep including just 1-of-6 in the first half. But the second-year wing never has any doubts about his ability to hit shots.

“My confidence when it comes to shooting is unwavering,” Ryan said. “I wouldn’t be here if that wasn’t the case after the past year and a half, two years I’ve had. I wouldn’t be able to play at this level if I didn’t think I could. I wasn’t making a lot of shots all game, I had I think three or four in-and-outs and I’m just thankful Coach gave me another opportunity to hit a 3 at the end to send it to OT.”

That confidence is why Ham had no problem drawing up that last play for him, and things like that instill even more confidence in players. In this case, it led to what Ryan called the biggest moment of his career thus far, but hopefully not the last.

“Up to this point, absolutely. Last year in the G League I had a couple of opportunities to send games into OT or win it and I was like 0-for-3 doing those shots. I had a good shot in Summer League to win a game and then this is definitely the biggest shot of my life so far. But hopefully there’s a bunch more to come.”

Ham expresses how much trust he has in Ryan to make shots

Of course, Ryan hadn’t been in the game for some time before that final second, but there was something telling Ham to get him in the game on that last possession. And Ham admitted it was a total gut feeling that made him make the move.

“That was a total gut feeling,” Ham said of putting Ryan back in the game for that shot. “Because even as well as he shoots the ball, his percentage I think ended up 33% tonight, but I don’t know. I’d be curious to see what they thought when they saw him in the game. But I trust the kid. I trust him. I trust all my players, especially putting him in the position to make a shot

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