Lakers Notes: Reaves, Russell, LeBron, Davis, M. Leonard

After scoring a career-high 35 points Sunday night, Austin Reaves was rewarded with a spot in the Lakers‘ starting lineup, writes Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. With two days off between games, coach Darvin Ham and his staff had time to prepare Reaves for starting duties as he took the place of Malik Beasley. Woike notes that it’s Ham’s first change to the starting unit since the trade deadline that wasn’t forced by injuries.

Reaves delivered 25 points and a career-best 11 assists in his first start since January 4 as the Lakers topped the Suns to move into a tie for ninth in the Western Conference playoff race.

“It’s going to be hectic,” Reaves said of the competition for postseason spots. “But this is why you play the game. You want high-pressure moments and you really want to play under the lights.”

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • D’Angelo Russell says he’s “at peace” after returning to the Lakers in a trade last month, but he’ll also be able to adjust if his long-term future isn’t in L.A., according to Helene Elliott of The Los Angeles Times. Russell, who has provided a scoring spark, topped 25 points Wednesday for the fourth time in his 11 games with the team. He’s enjoying the chance to display how much he has grown as a player and a person since L.A. drafted him in 2015, but he also knows more change could be coming in a few months. “I’m a free agent this summer. I’ve been traded midseason, so to get comfortable somewhere it’s not easy for me,” he said. “So, until I am, I won’t be comfortable. I won’t feel like it’s home.”
  • LeBron James will have his right foot tendon injury reevaluated this week, but there’s still no set timetable for him to return, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Ham believes the team is benefiting by responding to challenges with James sidelined. “Bron, with him being out, it’s revealed that we have a lot of different weapons that are very capable players on both sides of the ball that can help us achieve the goal we’re trying to achieve,” he said. “And when he comes back, he’s just going to add to it.”
  • Buha notes that the medical staff still considers the right foot stress condition that caused Anthony Davis to miss 20 games earlier this season to be an “active injury,” and it hasn’t been decided whether he’ll play in both games of the team’s lone remaining back-to-back on April 4 and 5.
  • Sources tell Buha that the Lakers were interested in signing Meyers Leonard, who worked out with them in January, before he joined the Bucks. L.A. is opting to keep its open roster spot for now after workouts with Tristan Thompson and Tony Bradley earlier this week.
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