Austin Reaves of the Los Angeles Lakers got into a scuffle with Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green during the Lakers’ 111-108 victory on February 26.
The two exchanged NSFW pleasantries after coming chest to chest on a fourth-quarter play in which Reaves lost control of the ball out of bounds while Green guarded him. After the game, Reaves discussed his mindset on the confrontation.
“I feel like I always play with high intensity, try to play every game like it’s my last,” Reaves told reporters. “Something was said, and I didn’t really like it. It was a good basketball game.”
After the official whistled the turnover, Green appeared to say something to Reaves as he walked toward the Mavericks’ side of the court. At that point, Reaves responded to Green and then they got in each other’s face as the officials and teammates tried to separate the players. What exactly was said will remain between Reaves and Green, but according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, Reaves yelled, “You ain’t s***. I’ll f*** you up.”
The usually mild-mannered Reaves appeared fully locked in a lively contest which the Lakers erased a 27-point deficit. He was already a fan favorite in Los Angeles, and his showing passion on the court will only grow his legend among Laker fans.
Reaves finished with 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 27 minutes off the bench.
Reaves Has Respect of Lakers Stars
Reaves, 24, was unheralded coming out of the University of Oklahoma but quickly made a name for himself with the Lakers as an undrafted free agent. In the Lakers’ February 23 win against the Warriors, Reaves had 17 points on 6-for-6 shooting in 19 minutes.
“At this point, he does it all,” Lakers star Anthony Davis said of Reaves. “He shoots, he puts it on the floor, he playmakes, he’s tough physically. Nothing surprises me with Austin. He continues to get better and better each and every day.
“He comes in and puts his work in and he’s just out there having fun,” Davis said. “I know the time that he missed, he was pretty upset because he wants to be on the floor. And now he’s back on the floor and helping us win games so we’re definitely happy to have him back but the things he can do on the floor, he’s very talented. And he’s only gonna keep getting better so nothing surprises me.”
Reaves Feeling Energy Shift as Lakers Eye Playoff Spot
The Lakers reshaped their roster around the trade deadline, landing D’Angelo Russell, Jared Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Rui Hachimura, Davon Reed and Mo Bamba. Reaves has seen a lot during his two years with the Lakers but feels good with the new group.
“It’s a new energy with the new guys. Every one of them has brought something different to the team and like I said, the energy around the group is at an all-time high right now,” Reaves said. “I think the play style that we got from the trades fits what we needed.”
The Lakers have now won three in a row and are back in the mix for a playoff spot. LA is the No. 11 seed in the Western Conference but are just 1.5 games out of the sixth seed, which would help them avoid the play-in tournament. Every game matters now for the Lakers, who might have to battle through some injury adversity with LeBron James and Russell.