Los Angeles Lakers starting guard Austin Reaves had a game in his first professional playoff game. Reaves led No. 7 Los Angeles to a 128-112 victory against No. 2 Memphis in Game 1 of the Western Conference series, scoring 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including 3-for-5 on 3-pointers.
Why is Austin Reaves Making Headlines?
Austin Reaves scored nine straight Lakers points in a two-minute span in the fourth quarter, extending the Lakers’ advantage to 120-109. Reaves scored 16 points in the second half to help the Lakers score 69 points in the final two quarters. “You dream about being on a stage like this with the best players in the world,” said Reaves. “I got hot late and had a lot of fun.” The second-year guard started 22 of 64 regular-season games but started the final ten games, sharing the starting lineup with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell, and Javonte Adebayo.
More About the Young Basketball Player
Austin Reaves was born in Newark, Arkansas (population 1,200) and attended Cedar Ridge High School there. In his senior season, he averaged 32 points, 8.8 rebounds, and five assists, helping Cedar Ridge win the Class 3A state championship. In 2016, he averaged 43.3 points per game in the final four games of the state tournament. Nicole and Brian, his parents, both played collegiate basketball at Arkansas State, while his brother, Spencer, played small-college basketball. He started his freshman and sophomore seasons at Wichita State; however, he only averaged 6.1 points across two seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18. Besides that, he transferred to Oklahoma, redshirted a season, and finished his career with the Sooners. He scored a career-high 41 points against TCU in his junior season and averaged 18.3 points in his senior season, emerging into a pro possibility.
How Did Austin Reaves End Up With the Lakers?
Austin Reaves was not taken in the 2021 NBA draught; but he did sign a two-way deal with the Lakers in August of that year, before training camp for the 2021-22 season. During his first season; he established himself as an NBA player and, more importantly, acquired the trust of Lakers star LeBron James. Reaves averaged 13 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists this season while shooting 52.9% from the field and 39.8% from 3-point range.
He improved during the season, and in the 23 games following the All-Star break; until the regular season finished, he averaged 17.6 points on 57.8% field shooting and 44.3% on 3-pointers. The Lakers needed numerous contributors to win on Sunday, and Reaves’ contribution was as significant as any of his teammates.