Anthony Davis Sends Strong Message About Lakers’ ‘Confidence’ in Austin Reaves

Austin Reaves, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Austin Reaves #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers found themselves in a critical situation, protecting a three-point lead in their In-Season Tournament quarterfinal matchup against the Phoenix Suns.

It was then that a Lakers team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leaned on Austin Reaves.

“It’s Austin,” Anthony Davis said via “We trust the ball in his hands. … We just have a lot of confidence in him, and what he’s able to bring to our team, and his ability to score at will or to draw fouls. And whether it’s late game or mid-game, early game, we feel like we can go to him at any time and he’ll make the right play.”

Reaves finished the game with 20 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Most telling of the Lakers’ trust in him, though, Reaves – who was 7-for-16 from the floor and 3-for-8 from there for the game – was 1-for-6 overall (1-for-4 3P) in the fourth quarter.

By comparison, James was 5-for-6 from the floor in the fourth quarter. But it was James who inbounded the ball.

James would have to bail Reaves out with the controversial timeout near the end of the game.

“I was able to hit AR. And I felt [Devin Booker] kind of pushed up on a little bit, kind of made AR stumble,” the 21st-year veteran superstar said after the game. “As soon as I seen AR start to stumble a little bit, I started to make the notion and the voice to the referee that was closest to me for a timeout.”

“There was no call, and LeBron made a high-IQ play he’s made a million times,” Reaves said.

Before that play, though, Reaves had splashed a big three-pointer, his lone make of the period, much to the elation of James.

LeBron James: Austin Reaves Clutch 3-Pointer was ‘Big Time’

James finished with 31 points, adding 11 assists (to just two turnovers), eight rebounds, and five steals. But he has always been known to make the right play and deflected credit to Reaves for making the key shot.

“I’ve been there a lot in my career, and I understand the assignment,” James said of his domination fourth quarter during his walkoff interview with TNT NBA reporter Allie LaForce. “So I was happy I was able to make a couple of plays. But big shot came from AR. Up one [point], take us up four. That was big time.”

Of the three Lakers players to appear in double-digit clutch games this season – games defined by the NBA as within five points in the final five minutes – Reaves ranks third in field goal percentage behind James and Davis.

He is tied with Cam Reddish in three-point efficiency on the team, shooting 25% on those looks in the clutch.

Reaves also boasts the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the entire league.

Lakers, Pelicans Set to Square Off in IST Semifinal

Los Angeles will take on the New Orlean Pelicans for the In-Season Tournament semifinal matchup in Las Vegas. The other matchup is between the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks, and the championship will take place on December 9.

The Lakers enter the matchup having won three of their last four games and four of their last six, and sitting fifth in the Western Conference.