Austin Reaves collected the ball on a Klay Thompson turnover and ran onto the field, his eyes looking straight ahead at the basket, moving his feet as fast as he could until the Lakers guard threw down a two-handed dunk.
It was one of Reaves’ highlights in the third quarter of the Lakers’ easy win over the Golden State Warriors at the Crypto.com Arena on Thursday night.
He missed none of his four shots in the quarter, including his lone three-pointer. He had 13 points, three assists and one steal in the third.
Before the game, Reaves was six for six shooting from the field, four for four from the free throw line, and had 17 points.
Reaves announced his presence with an all-around effort, which included playing his typically tough defense and creating crowds.
“At this point, man, he’s doing it all,” Anthony Davis said of Reaves. “He can shoot, ground, play. Defensively he is strong. Nothing surprises me with Austin. He keeps getting better every day. He comes in, puts his work in it. And he’s just having fun.’
Reaves served as backup point guard after D’Angelo Russell went down in the first half due to a sprained right ankle.
When Dennis Schroder started at point guard in the second half, Reaves came in to run the show for second unit.
Reaves finished the game with four assists.
“I like to play point,” he said. “…I like getting everyone involved, I like the feeling of the team when everyone is successful.”
At times, Reaves had to defend Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, Golden State’s sharpshooting guards.
Reaves said he “prouds” playing defense, something he was not known for when he came out of college.
“I’m proud of it just because a lot of people thought I couldn’t do it,” Reaves said. “So it’s sort of a middle finger to them and move on.”
Beasley is called for three-point reach
Earlier on Thursday, Davis got it on Malik Beasley for throwing the ball back to Davis during a play the team was playing in the pregame shoot-around.
Davis and the Lakers want Beasley to look for his shots, make his shots when open and be the outside threat as expected after he was acquired from the Utah Jazz.
Davis said they played a play for Beasley, a career 38% three-point shooter, and the guard caught the ball and passed back in instead of firing.
“I threw the ball back out of bounds, ran it again and told him, ‘You shoot the ball. Like, I get touches. You shoot. We want you to shoot,” Davis said. “And the result of that, he hit seven threes tonight. I think he is an important part of our team, able to create space.”
Beasley was indeed on fire against the Warriors, making seven of 11 shots from three-point range while leading the Lakers by 25 points.
Beasley said he tried to make the right play by throwing the ball back to Davis.
“I mean, I was just going through the script, and I just thought it was the right way to throw it at him, and he threw it back, and he was like ‘Shoot the ball!’ So we had to do it all over again,” Beasley said. “Same with coach (Darvin Ham). He told me to shoot the ball, keep shooting.
“And that feels good when you’re a shooter. It gives my confidence a boost, AD and LeBron (James) keep saying, ‘We’re going to get ours, so do what you do and keep spacing the floor and getting shots down.’”