Austin Reaves on Lakers-Nuggets Playoff Rematch: ‘We’re Gonna Win’

Lakers' Austin Reaves

Getty Austin Reaves #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers knocks the ball away from Michael Porter Jr. #1 of the Denver Nuggets.

Austin Reaves made a bold prediction to set the tone for the much-anticipated playoff rematch between the Los Angeles Lakers and the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the opening round that tips off on Saturday, April 20.

“We’re gonna win,” Reaves told Heavy Sports in a one-on-one interview to promote his “Perfect 10” episode with “If you don’t go in with that mentality, then what’s the point of going in?”

The Lakers enter the opening-round series as the heavy underdogs after the Nuggets swept them in last year’s Western Conference Finals and their succeeding four meetings this season.

But Reaves is throwing that 0-8 record against the Nuggets out of the window.

“I just want to win bad,” Reaves said. “They had our number.”

For Reaves, it’s a whole new different ballgame where the thin line between winning and losing will all boil down to execution, which the Nuggets have mastered since last season’s playoffs.

“You got to be really good the fourth quarter team because they execute so well in the fourth quarter,” Reaves said of the Nuggets. “They don’t make mistakes and anytime you make a mistake in the fourth quarter, they capitalize on that.”

Five of their last eight meetings went down the wire. In those clutch times, the Nuggets never got rattled while the Lakers folded.

Lakers Overcame Injury-Plagued Season to Advance

What makes Reaves more confident this time is the way they overcame challenges this season.

“Dealing with the injury stuff a lot throughout the year and just overcoming that gives us a sense of being able to win in many different ways instead of just being one-dimensional,” Reaves told Heavy Sports.

The Lakers are still without their most versatile defender Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) and backup big man Christian Wood (knee) and their stars Anthony Davis (back) and LeBron James (ankle) have been dealing with knicks and knacks entering the playoffs.

“Getting through all those things that really suck but I think at the end of the day, it makes you a better team,” Reaves said, “because you’re more capable of winning in different types of way, winning grimy games. It doesn’t always have to be beautiful. You can grind out those wins.”

Austin Reaves Stars in’s ‘Perfect 10’

Reaves shared a behind-the-curtain peek into his life from a country boy to a rising basketball star in the new season of “Perfect 10” from, the official travel partner of the NBA.

The episode featuring the Lakers’ rising star debuted on April 15, and revealed Reaves’ favorite hotels, dream hotel vacation, hotel tips and hacks, crazy hotel stories and so much more.

Reaves joined his first-round playoff opponent, Nikola Jokic, Miami Heat‘s Jimmy Butler and Emmy-nominated ESPN host Malika Andrews in the star-studded fourth season of the digital series which challenges personalities from sports, TV, film, music, food and fashion to answer 10 rapid-fire questions that reveal personal stories in three-minute episodes.

To shop the personal recommendations from Reaves and the other “Perfect 10” experts, download the app. The series has already amassed over 88 million views to date, with a fifth season in production.