Austin Reaves ascends Sunday as the man of the night in Los Angeles.
Casting his talented wonders, the undrafted cager finished with a career-high 35 points to lead the Lakers to a much-needed 111-105 victory over the Orlando Magic, halting their painful two-game losing skid.
As Anthony Davis struggled again with his 15 points and 11 boards, Reaves came up huge when it mattered – scoring 13 markers in the final frame that includes his heroic 10-point burst for the Lakers in the final 1:33 of the regulation.
The entire Crypto.com Arena crowd was jubilating at their second-year wingman’s performance, serenading him with uplifting M-V-P chants. And in his postgame interview, he was showered by his teammates to temporarily cool off his sizzling state.
“For them to recognize what I do – obviously I’m not an MVP-caliber player, those guys are really good – but for them to do that is special,” Reaves said, via Associated Press. “It means a lot to me.”
The crafty Reaves was overwhelmed by the M-V-P chants of the Lakers fandom, given that he took 18 trips to the line – a career-best. The entire Magic squad only compiled 17 overall.
Reaves was rotating all around for L.A. on crunch time – draining clutch shots and free throws, grabbing a crucial board with less than a minute remaining.
“I thought it was (Reaves) being his normal self,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “What he’s been all year. Coming up in clutch moments for us, trying to make plays downhill, putting the defense in uncomfortable situations with his ability to attack the paint and draw fouls. He was great. He ended up with 35, and we needed all of them.”
With the win due to a marvelous performance by Reaves, the Lakers move to the ninth spot of the Western Conference with a 35-37 record.
They are set to welcome a challenging foe as the Phoenix Suns will land to face them on Wednesday.