Austin Reaves, Lakers discuss his game-winning shot against Mavericks

Austin Reaves
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

In what was easily the most exciting game of the Lakers’ young season, Austin Reaves hit a game-winning 3-pointer with only 0.9 seconds left on the clock in overtime to dispel the Luka Doncic-less Mavericks in a 107-104 final.

The game included many huge, clutch shots from both sides, including but not limited to Wayne Ellington’s frantic 3-pointer to send the game to overtime or the contested pull-up 3-pointer that Russell Westbrook had in overtime to keep the Lakers in it, the team stepped up time-and-time again. Reaves’ go-ahead basket was the best shot of them all, however, as the legend of Hillbilly Kobe continues to grow.

Westbrook was the one who set Reaves up for the game-winning 3-pointer, as he pump-faked a three of his own with around four seconds left only to drive by the defender into the paint. The game was tied, so Westbrook could have tried to force a shot and try and draw contact to get to the free throw line, but he put the ball as well as a huge load of trust and confidence into the undrafted rookie’s hands. Head coach Frank Vogel went out of his way to point this out, giving credit to Westbrook while Westbrook was just happy that Reaves was able to get that type of moment.

It turns out that Westbrook has been mentally behind Austin Reaves all season, something that Hillbilly Kobe illustrated to reporters following the game.

If you are still pinching yourself to make sure you’re not in a dream, you might be right with Reaves as he knows just how special this moment is (quote from Jacob Rude of Silver Screen & Roll).

“For me to hit that shot, for my teammates to have trust in me to take that shot, it’s very, very special.”

After all, on a team filled with future hall-of-famers such as LeBron, Westbrook, Davis, and Carmelo Anthony, it is nearly inconceivable that the ball would end up in Reaves’ hands for a game-winning 3-pointer. Reaves pointed out afterward that he “grew up watching all these guys play”, continuing to point out how special this moment is for him personally. Reaves seems to not get frazzled by the fact that he’s sharing the court with so many all-time greats, however, it seems like he really admired the moment last night for the circumstances surrounding it, pointing out that the only other time he was “in awe” of his teammates was the start of the Lakers’ mini-camp in Las Vegas prior to the preseason’s start.

Westbrook wasn’t the only one happy for Reaves, as the two other towering giants of basketball history also had great things to say about Reaves. Hell, there might not be a bigger compliment from LeBron James than your own, bad nickname.

Reaves played 32 minutes last night, ending the game with 15 points (5/6 field-goal shooting), adding seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Frank Vogel will most likely have to call on him very similar minutes over the next week as the Lakers continue on this road trip with Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk, and Dwight Howard in COVID-19 health and safety protocols. However, after his legendary performance last night, Reaves may be due for playing time even when those three players return.

Future playing time aside, this was a great moment in this Lakers season that has been severely lacking in great moments. Shout out to Austin Reaves for being ready and for being our hero in only his 17th professional basketball game.

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