The Los Angeles Lakers are in a tough spot. They are in the middle of a Western Conference playoff race where only so many teams can make the playoffs. They can’t afford to make many mistakes, especially considering how much they’ve struggled at the beginning of the year.
On Wednesday night, they took down the Phoenix Suns – a conference rival and potential postseason competitor. After the game, Austin Reaves spoke about what it’s been like to have LeBron James out of the lineup and how he’s been able to step up.
“I mean, since Bron’s been out, you had to have multiple guys fill what he does because he does everything on the court,” Reaves said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “And so I’ve tried to be more aggressive offensively both ways. Getting teammates involved and then also scoring and getting to the line. So, it’s really just been going back and playing basketball the way that I love, the way that I’ve always played, and having fun with it.”
Over his recent stretch of games, Reaves has been absolutely dominating on the court. The Lakers guard is stepping up in a big way, filling in all the gaps they need filled and helping them make a serious push for the playoffs.
Against the Suns, he got the start, and he was amazing. The Lakers guard finished the night with 25 points, four rebounds, and 11 assists on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 1-of-1 shooting from behind the three-point line. The Lakers guard also shot 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.
Austin Reaves Sends Message on Darvin Ham
In addition, Reaves spoke about head coach Darvin Ham’s decision to start him against the Suns. He said that Ham told him at practice, but his approach didn’t change, as he always tries to play the same no matter his role.
“He pulled me aside yesterday after practice and told me that I would be starting,” Reaves said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “But for me, it’s truly the same mindset going into every game, and it’s win. At all costs, win. And that’s all that really matters. So, there’s not much different starting [or] not starting. For me, it’s really just go out and play basketball the way that I always have and the way that I love.”
D’Angelo Russell Makes Kobe Bryant Comparison
Meanwhile, D’Angelo Russell made a wild comparison after the Lakers’ win over the Suns. He compared Reaves to Kobe Bryant in the sense that they both get huge reactions from the LA crowd when they’re on fire.
“It’s huge,” Russell said of the Lakers crowd’s impact via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Like I said, I’ve been here in the past [and] I remember that. Kobe and guys like that controlling that environment from just dominating the game. And the fans can’t wait to cheer for it. So, even if it’s Austin Reaves, I guess they love Austin. So, whenever we can get him going, it helps our team. So, I know it. I think a lot of guys know it. Whenever we can return a favor like that, I think it’s good for both sides.”