He’s unlikely to get any votes, but Austin Reaves still appreciated the “MVP” chants from Lakers fans Sunday night, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Reaves came off the bench to deliver 35 points in a narrow win over Orlando that lifted L.A. into a tie for ninth place in the tight Western Conference playoff race.
“For them to recognize what I do — obviously not an MVP-caliber player, those guys are really good — but for them to do that for me is special, it means a lot to me,” he said.
It was a career-high scoring night for Reaves, but it wasn’t out of character. Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times points out that Reaves has become a dependable part of the offense since LeBron James was sidelined by a foot injury three weeks ago. He has failed to reach 13 points just once since James got hurt, and he has helped the Lakers post a 6-5 record without their star.
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Suns coach Monty Williams indicated that rotation changes may be coming after Sunday’s loss at Oklahoma City, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Williams was frustrated after watching a double-digit lead slip away in the fourth quarter. “This one’s on me,” he said. “I’ve got to get guys in the game that can create a rhythm, especially on defense. We’re giving up way too many 30-point quarters, consecutively. That’s on me. I have to figure out the guys who can play together defensively as opposed to the starters to increase the momentum from an offensive and defensive standpoint.”
- Associate head coach Dan Craig picked up his first win guiding the Clippers Sunday night, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Craig was filling in for head coach Tyronn Lue, who was able to coach the team on Saturday, but didn’t make the flight to Portland because of a non-COVID illness. Craig said Lue is expected “back soon.”
- The Kings didn’t have shooting guard Kevin Huerter and forward Trey Lyles in Saturday’s win over Washington, and both are listed as questionable for tonight’s contest at Utah, notes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Huerter has a strain in his right knee area, while Lyles is experiencing soreness in his right shoulder.