Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal has called upon Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura to provide the support LeBron and Anthony Davis so desperately need.
“The pressure is on LeBron and A.D., but as a professional player, with guys leaving you wide open, you have to step up,” O’Neal said on The Stephen A. Smith show. “Rick Fox and Derek Fisher used to be pissed off if they missed open shots. They knew they had to knock those down. So, again, the others have to step up. Listen, you got A.D. playin’ fabulous — I’m on A.D.’s case all the time. LeBron playin’. But Reaves gotta play spectacular. D’Angelo gotta play spectacular. Rui Hachimura gotta play spectacular. And they have to take advantage of the — you playing with two of the greatest players ever. You have room to operate. So, if you got room to operate, be aggressive and operate. You can’t always wait on them, and sometimes, you gotta do it yourself, but the others have to step up. … You need others to win championships.”
The Lakers are in the midst of a four-game losing streak and Reaves has been trying his absolute best to support the team’s superstars.
Since Darvin Ham has increased his minutes, Reaves has scored 20+ points in the Lakers’ last three games.
He is also averaging career highs of 15.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game across 36 contests.
The pressure to end the purple and gold’s losing streak is mounting, though Reaves says that isn’t what he is thinking about during games.
“To be completely honest, it would be almost impossible for my mind to go there during a game,” Reaves said after LA’s 127-113 loss to Memphis. “I can’t speak for everybody else, obviously. But when you’re playing a game, think about the game. I’m not thinking about record, what you’re doing, how you’re playing. Think about winning the game. And that’s all I think about is how can I affect the game in a winning way.”
As for Hachimura, a calf injury suffered on New Years Eve has kept him out for three straight games, but he may return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Raptors as he is day-to-day.