So far, the Los Angeles Lakers season has been full of inconsistency and disappointment. After all, everybody expected a lot more from this star-studded roster, but the reality is that the Purple & Gold are not playing like a championship team right now. Last night's game in Dallas ended up being an overtime drama, with the most unlikely hero emerging and bringing the victory for LA.
Battle for standings in the West
Last night's showdown between the Lakers and Mavericks in Dallas was a true showdown of two teams that have been somewhat underwhelming this season, despite coming into the year with high ambitions. The Lakers finally managed to scrap the core of their team together, while Dallas got severely handicapped with the absence of Luka Dončić, who is still dealing with ankle soreness.
On paper, the Lakers came into the game as favorites, but the Mavs made sure to put up a valiant fight. In an exciting and tight game that went down to the wire, the Lakers barely forced overtime after a clutch three by Wayne Ellington. If Kleber and Porzinigs hadn't fought for the rebound and fumbled the ball, the game would have been over before that shot.
In the overtime period, things got even crazier. After Westbrook and Kleber exchanged clutch threes, the game was decided by who other than Austin Reaves. The undrafted rookie spotted up, got the pass from Westbrook, and knocked it down with style.
The Mavs didn't have time to get a shot up, and the celebrations ensued, with the whole Lakers roster looking like they just won the championship, acting happier than ever this season. Sure they were proud of their rookie, but this win meant a lot for the standings. The Lakers went to 16-13, separating from the Mavs, who are now 14-14 on the year.
In addition to hitting the game-winner, Reaves scored 15 points (5-6 3P). LeBron led the way (24p,3r,5a) alongside Westbrook (23p,10r,9a) and AD(20p,12r). On the losing side, Jalen Brunson(25p,9a) and Kristaps Porzingis(23p,12r) stepped up, but it wasn't enough to make up for Luka's absence.
Of course, the NBA world erupted as we are talking about the Lakers. Reaves has been a fan favorite for a while now, being one of the rare bright spots in the Lakers season. Reaves is proving to be a valuable piece already for this team, and plays like this will only get his minutes up. Like always, there were critics who saw flaws in this game for the Lakers. One of the most notable Skip Bayless.
We all know Skip is going to hate no matter what, but it is concerning that the Lakers have to rely on guys like Ellington and Reaves to finish games while having LeBron, AD, and Russ on the court. Especially against a mediocre team without its best player. I'm thrilled for the rookie Reaves, but the Lakers need to get wins in these types of games much easier. After all, championship expectations are put on them.