Austin Reaves has opened up on his career night that led the Lakers to a 111-105 win over Orlando on Sunday.
Reaves scored a career-high 35 points to go along with six rebounds and six assists to get LA over the line despite Anthony Davis shooting 6-15 and LeBron James still out with an injury.
“It’s special,” Reaves said after the game. “I grew up a Lakers fan, so to do it for this organisation is surreal. Sometimes I gotta stop and really think about what I am doing.
“I think all the odds were stacked against me, from where I’m from. You know, I played baseball a lot, didn’t really play basketball, only played one year of AAU. But to be at this level and this organisation, and ultimately score the last 10 points is special. All I’m really happy about is the win.”
Reaves’ scoring was propelled by his 18 free throw attempts, 16 of which he made, and he said postgame that he’d studied James Harden and Trae Young to become better at drawing fouls.
Meanwhile, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was full of praise for his young guard.
“Watching him in open gym and pickup gamers and what not, he didn’t mind taking chances in terms of scoring at all three levels, guarding different people, some smaller than him, some same size, some bigger than him,” Ham said.
“He wasn’t afraid. He’s just a flat out hooper. He just loves to hoop. and you can tell that by the way he works on his game, which has allowed him to be what’s becoming to be, and that’s a consistent high-level NBA basketball player that’s multi-facet. Just right away you can see his confidence, that’s the first thing about him that jumped out at me.”
Reaves is averaging 19.1 points per game over his last eight games as the 10th-seeded Lakers fight for a play-in spot.