They probably didn’t draw it up that way, but Laker rookie Austin Reaves sank a last-second 3-pointer in front of the Dallas bench for a 107-104 overtime win against the Mavericks Wednesday night.
“I didn’t really have anything else to do but shoot it,” said Reaves, who appeared to be fouled on the play.
The undrafted rookie, scored all of his points, 15, from behind the arc and grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out two assists.
“It’s basically been the story of my life. I’ve always been underrated. Didn’t go to a big high school, so didn’t get recruited much, but at the end of the day, you got to produce on the basketball court and for me to hit that shot, for my teammates to have the trust in me to take that shot very, very special,” said Reaves after the game.
“It was a big-time shot,” said Anthony Davis. “He’s [Reaves] not afraid of the moment.”
The Lakers were short three players, Dwight Howard, Malik Monk, and Talen Horton-Tucker, to COVID health and safety protocols.
“We’ve got a lot of trust in whoever’s on the floor, including the rook,” said LeBron James. “Big-time shot by AR 15,” said James, branding Reaves with a new nickname.
James led the Lakers with 24 points, with Russell Westbrook adding 23 points and Anthony Davis 20 points for LA’s big three.
“Tonight, we showed what we’re capable of doing,” said James.
Jalen Brunson led the Mavericks with 25 points, who played without star Luka Doncic.
It was the Lakers’ third win in a row as they start what should be one of their most challenging weeks so far this season.
The team heads to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves and then to Chicago to play the decimated Bulls, who have lost ten players recently to NBA health and safety protocols.
Then, the Lakers host the Phoenix Suns at home and the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day, which should give the team a more accurate indication of where they stand amongst championship contenders.
Still, for one night, the Lakers celebrated like champs.
When the undrafted rookie hits the game-winner. pic.twitter.com/v6SkCFc350
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 16, 2021