Lakers Video: Austin Reaves Disappears In Anthony Davis’ Embrace As L.A. Celebrates Rookie’s Game-Winner
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers have a new star on the rise in Austin Reaves — a fact that was on full display on Wednesday night.

The ball left Reaves’ hands with about 2.3 seconds left in overtime in a scrappy matchup between the Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks. Tim Hardaway Jr. knocked the young guard down just behind the 3-point line after he already sent the brown, spherical object flying above the players’ heads at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

It didn’t even kiss the rim, just rattled the net as it went in. A loud roar instantly blasted from the stands, drowning out the swish that accompanies a successful bucket. Reaves made his first ever game-winning shot in the NBA, which went viral on social media — a moment no one will ever take away from the Oklahoma alum.

It also secured the Lakers’ third win in a row, taking them to 16-13 on the season.

Rajon Rondo would later share a video of wild celebrations in the locker room. It showed Reaves — the game ball in his hands, which LeBron James kept and then passed to him when he entered — soaking wet thanks to the bucket of water DeAndre Jordan poured over his head:

The celebrations actually started on the court though. When the buzzer officially confirmed L.A.’s victory, the whole team rushed to celebrate the rookie’s biggest moment of his career to date. Reaves face disappeared in Anthony Davis’ embrace with the 6-foot-10 All-Star’s arms pushing the guard’s head to his ample chest:

Reaves ended the night 5-of-6 from the 3-point land. The 23-year-old is shooting 39% from downtown this year, an impressive efficiency for a debutant who still thought he would move back-and-forth between the NBA and G League as the Lakers’ two-way player a few months ago.

And whose aim came a long way considering he made 30.5% of his 3-point attempts in his last season at Oklahoma. Even in the Summer League earlier this year, Reaves had days when the ball just wouldn’t go in.

“Like I said earlier, just the confidence that Russ instills in me is a story going back to Sacramento in Summer League where I went 1-for-8 from three,” Reaves said recently.

“He come in the locker room and was like, ‘Way to shoot it.’ I’m looking at him like what are you talking about. I shot horrible. ‘Nah, I’m just happy you’re shooting it.’ Just those little things throughout the course from everybody on the team. It can be AB, [Rajon] Rondo.

“Just things like that really instill confidence in myself.”

It is unclear whether either of them remembered that particular moment in the last seconds of the wild clash in Dallas. But fittingly, it was Westbrook who passed up on a pretty good look, drove into the paint, and then placed the ball — and the game’s fate — in Reaves’ hands.

“I didn’t have an opportunity to really do anything else,” Reaves said. “I had to shoot it.”

He did — and the rest is history.

Reaves describes moment he realized his NBA-caliber potential

None of the NBA teams used their picks to select Reaves in the 2021 NBA Draft, paving the way for the Lakers to snatch the promising guard. He recently told Lakers Nation he had his mind set on L.A., realizing he would fit well next to LeBron James and Co.

But Reaves said he was made aware of his potential to play at the NBA level early in his college career.

“It even goes back to my first year at Oklahoma,” the guard said. “My red-shirt year. I was walking out to my truck actually and Coach [Lon] Kruger was walking out as well and he came over to me and was like, ‘I believe you can play at the next level.’

“I had people tell me that, but not at the stature of what he’s done.”

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