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Austin Reaves Celebrated After Lakers' Win vs. Blazers as LeBron James Drops 31

Adam WellsDecember 1, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 28: Austin Reaves celebrates a three point basket during the game against the Indiana Pacers on November 28, 2022 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers earned their sixth win in the past eight games with Wednesday's 128-109 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at Crypto.com Arena.

LeBron James played one of his best games of the season. The 18-time All-Star dropped 31 points on 12-of-18 shooting with eight assists and seven rebounds in 33 minutes. It was the second time in three games he has surpassed the 30-point barrier.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

πŸ‘‘. <a href="https://t.co/YBGruRPT5U">pic.twitter.com/YBGruRPT5U</a>

While James dominating is nothing new, it was a good sign for the Lakers to see Austin Reaves continue his recent streak of strong play. He scored a season-high 22 points in 35 minutes after being inserted back into the starting lineup following a three-game stretch coming off the bench.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Saucetin Reaves 🍝 <a href="https://t.co/sPEafCDXg7">pic.twitter.com/sPEafCDXg7</a>

Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA

LeBron James on Austin Reaves: "We trust him. He knows I trust him. And he goes on to play his game, and that's a beautiful thing to see, especially for a young player to see his growth from one year to the next."

Reaves' performance caught the attention of NBA Twitter as the Lakers continue to play well:

Dave McMenamin @mcten

The Lakers surged back from down 17-6 to go into the 2nd Q up 24-22. Austin Reaves (8 points) was the spark.

Paint 🎨 @NBAPaint1

Austin Reaves the last 3 weeks <a href="https://t.co/KPs0Ujhqr0">pic.twitter.com/KPs0Ujhqr0</a>

Daniel Starkand @DStarkand

Give Austin Reaves the ball and get out of the way.

πŸŽ—NBAβ€’FanπŸŽ— @Prime_LeBron23

Austin Reaves is one of the best role players in the nba and the lakers kinda lucked into him, especially after losing Caruso

Westbrick @WestbrickLakers

Austin Reaves for president

LakersSpin @LakersSpin

Austin Reaves and Lebron James tonight. <a href="https://t.co/2gKnOKIngQ">pic.twitter.com/2gKnOKIngQ</a>

Austin Reaves 🐐 @lakeshow4lyf

Austin Reaves is HIM.

DaviesSZN✨ @f40daniel

What kind of development are we seeing from Austin Reaves?? The man is incredible πŸ’―

Undrafted out of Oklahoma last year, Reaves was given a shot by the Lakers when he signed a two-way contract in August 2021. The 24-year-old received extended playing time as a rookie, in part, because of all the injuries the team dealt with.

Reaves showed promise as a role player, averaging 7.3 points on 45.9 percent shooting. The 6'5" shooting guard has hit another level this season and has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the NBA.

After going a combined 0-of-4 from three-point range in two games last week, Reaves did fall under 40 percent shooting behind the arc. But he's still on the cusp of the 50/40/90 club with a 54.0 percent field-goal percentage, 39.7 three-point percentage and 90.9 field-goal percentage.

Head coach Darvin Ham has taken notice of Reaves' play by having him start seven of the past 11 games. He's averaging 31.3 minutes per game in 14 games since Nov. 2.

Reaves and the Lakers will be put to the test in their next game when they begin a six-game Eastern Conference road trip against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.