Austin Reaves Buzzer-Beater Gives LeBron James, Lakers OT Win vs. Mavericks

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 16, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) dunks over Dallas Mavericks' Dorian Finney-Smith (10) and Kristaps Porzingis, right, as LeBron James (6) looks on in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Austin Reaves hit a game-winning three-pointer with nine-tenths of a second left as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the host Dallas Mavericks 107-104 in overtime on Wednesday in American Airlines Center.


"Austin Reaves 3-pointer... BANG!"<br><br>Reaves wins it for the <a href="https://twitter.com/Lakers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lakers</a> from deep!! <a href="https://t.co/Pxvw3FJcio">pic.twitter.com/Pxvw3FJcio</a>

Lakers guard Wayne Ellington hit a corner three-pointer with two seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 93 and send it to OT.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Wayne Ellington sends us to overtime πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ <a href="https://t.co/7G0nbOikZQ">pic.twitter.com/7G0nbOikZQ</a>

LeBron James led the Lakers with 24 points, Anthony Davis added a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double and Russell Westbrook posted a near triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Reaves had 15 points and seven boards off the bench.

Mavs guard Jalen Brunson led all scorers with 25 points. Kristaps Porzingis added 23 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas.

The short-handed Lakers were without Dwight Howard, Talen Horton-Tucker and Malik Monk because of the league's health-and-safety protocols. Mavs guard Luka Doncic sat his fourth straight game with left ankle soreness.

The 16-13 Lakers have won three straight. The 14-14 Mavs' two-game win streak broke in defeat.

Notable Performances

Mavericks F/C Kristaps Porzingis: 23 points, 12 rebounds

Mavericks G Jalen Brunson: 25 points, 9 assists

Mavericks G/F Tim Hardaway Jr.: 20 points, 9 rebounds

Lakers PG Russell Westbrook: 23 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists

Lakers PF/C Anthony Davis: 20 points, 12 rebounds

Lakers F LeBron James: 24 points, 5 assists

Reaves, Ellington Save Day for Lakers

The Big Three trio of Westbrook, James and Davis did its job Wednesday, combining for 67 points, 25 rebounds and 16 assists.

However, the Mavericks played a great game even without Doncic, and the duo of Brunson and Porzingis proved hard to stop in a defensive slugfest.

The Lakers needed some heroics outside the Big Three to pull off this road win, and that happened with Ellington and Reaves getting the job done late.

Ellington scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter, knocking down a trio of three-pointers in a low-scoring frame that saw each team score just 20 points.

The final three-pointer was obviously the biggest, as it sent the Lakers into OT.

The first one stopped some early fourth-quarter bleeding in the form of an 8-0 Mavs run to begin the final 12 minutes. The second one was in response to a Trey Burke layup and cut the Mavs' lead to 87-85.

The Lakers aren't winning without any of Ellington's threes, as his hot outside shooting down the stretch gave L.A. a chance.

Ellington's co-hero was Reaves, who also hit a big fourth-quarter three when he grabbed an Ellington pass and nailed an outside jumper to slash the Mavs' edge to 89-88.

However, Reaves' body of work throughout this game proved to be crucial. The Lakers didn't get much offensive production outside the Big Three, but Reaves was there to deliver with his 15 points on his 5-of-6 three-point shooting.

The Lakers finished plus-10 with Reaves on the floor, and it's easy to see him continue establishing himself as a crucial member of this rotation as L.A. digs out of its early season hole.

He clearly has a big fan in Davis:

Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA

AD on Austin Reaves: "Big-time shot. ... He's sponge. He soaks up all the information we give. ... He's hard worker, plays hard. Do the right things."

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha

AD on Austin Reaves’ game-winning shot: β€œBig-time shot. … He’s not afraid of the moment and it shows right there.”

Ultimately, the Lakers are going to need more contributions outside Davis, Westbrook and James to have any chance of a deep playoff run. Games like Wednesday, when Reaves and Ellington came through in the clutch, are a very welcome sight as L.A. looks to accomplish its championship goal.


Brunson Does All He Can in Defeat

The Mavs faced a tall order Wednesday against a hot Lakers team featuring all three of their stars as Doncic sat because of his ankle injury.

However, Brunson was clearly up to the task as he scored his 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting and dished nine assists as he tried to lead Dallas to victory.

Brunson certainly played well enough for the Mavs to win. The problem was Dallas struggled from the three-point line, hitting just 12 of 44 shots from deep.

That teamwide slump didn't impact Brunson, who made two of four from downtown. But he did most of his work from inside the arc, and the Lakers had no answers.

Defense turned into offense as Brunson got the ball following a KP block and went right at James to the rim for two in the second quarter:

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

FEARLESS πŸ‘€ <a href="https://t.co/JBKoMqYjzM">pic.twitter.com/JBKoMqYjzM</a>

The Brunson-Porzingis connection was on point as the floor general found him for an alley-oop:

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

No friends in the industry 😈<a href="https://twitter.com/AcmeBrick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AcmeBrick</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MFFL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MFFL</a> <a href="https://t.co/dDwFm8IpAU">pic.twitter.com/dDwFm8IpAU</a>

Brunson ended up with 15 points at the half and 23 before the third quarter ended. His efforts put the Mavs in position to win, but some excellent three-point shooting down the stretch ultimately changed this game's storyline.

Still, Brunson continues to impress for the Mavs, averaging 14.8 points on 49.7 percent shooting after Wednesday. Dallas will need him to continue that production as it looks for a return trip to the playoffs, but Brunson looks ready for the task.


What's Next?

Both teams now head north to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.

Los Angeles will visit the T-Wolves on Friday at 10 p.m. ET. Dallas will face Minneapolis on Sunday at 8 p.m.