LeBron James, Austin Reaves energy Lakers over Trail Blazers

Generally it’s a fast look again over his shoulder earlier than spinning the opposite approach. Different instances it’s a pretend with the ball or possibly together with his head.

No matter it’s, the outcome, more and more, has been the identical — Austin Reaves determining a option to create sufficient area to make a play.

Borrowing from the playbooks of NBA greats like Hakeem Olajuwon on one possession and Steve Smith on the following (he even channeled a two-handed Charles Barkley dunk), Reaves’ offensive acumen has established himas a constant risk for the Lakers’ offense.

“Austin is just … he just loves to hoop,” coach Darvin Ham mentioned. “Just a real versatile offensive player — he can do a ton of things on that end.”

In a recreation the staff wanted to win earlier than it heads out on a troublesome six-game journey, Reaves scored a season-high 22 factors within the Lakers’ 128-109 win in opposition to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night time at Crypto.com Enviornment.

LeBron James scored 31 factors, Anthony Davis had 27, Thomas Bryant had 14 and Russell Westbrook ended the second and third quarters with buzzer-beating three-pointers as a part of his 10 factors.

For Reaves, it’s the eighth time within the final 9 video games he has scored at the very least 10 factors.

“We trust him,” James mentioned.

It was the Lakers’ sixth win of their final eight video games, giving them some momentum as they go away for his or her longest journey of the season with stops in Milwaukee, Washington, Cleveland, Toronto, Philadelphia and Detroit.

For the second straight recreation, the Lakers constructed a giant second-half lead and, oddly sufficient, for the second straight recreation, the staff celebrated with a fan who gained a half-court shot contest earlier than the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Lakers guard Austin Reaves throws down a dunk in opposition to the Portland Trail Blazers within the first quarter at Crypto.com Enviornment on Wednesday.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Instances)

However not like the sport with the Indiana Pacers wherein the Lakers coughed up a 17-point lead, they held off Portland because of their stars.

In opposition to the Trail Blazers, who had been taking part in with out Damian Lillard and ex-Laker Josh Hart, James was in excellent rhythm offensively. He made his first seven pictures, powerfully slamming dwelling the final in that stretch. He ended with six threes, seven rebounds and eight assists — a bounce again after a troublesome fourth quarter within the Lakers’ loss Tuesday when he shot two for eight.

He scored 9 factors within the fourth quarter, nevertheless it was Davis — who took solely two pictures in opposition to the Pacers within the remaining 12 minutes — discovering one other gear late. He made 5 of seven from the sector and went to the free-throw line 4 instances on his option to 14 factors within the fourth quarter.

“It’s just a matter of knowing this guy is the focal point and is going to make everyone else’s life easier,” Ham mentioned.

“… He’s sort of like our epicenter.”

For Davis it was his eighth straight recreation with at the very least 20 factors and 10 rebounds.

And although 5 Trail Blazers scored in double figures, led by Jerami Grant’s 27, just one different Portland participant made a number of discipline objectives.

The Lakers had been down two starters with guards Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr. each scratched earlier than the sport due to left foot soreness. Afterward, Ham mentioned each could be reevaluated Thursday.

The staff additionally will waive wing Matt Ryan, who made the staff because the fifteenth participant out of coaching camp.

The Lakers, who obtained Patrick Beverley again from a three-game suspension, had to make use of their twelfth completely different beginning lineup this season.

“It’s indicative of circumstances, for the most part,” Ham mentioned earlier than the sport. “I mean, we’ve had guys come up with injuries. We’ve had guys come up with illnesses. I mean, it’s been a variety of reasons and so in the process of trying to find a consistent rotation, you’re going to go through that. Especially, it’s not just me, us, having these different lineups and everyone is healthy. You’re forced to do different things at different times.”

One fill-in to Wednesday’s beginning lineup, Reaves once more confirmed his worth to the Lakers, a gentle hand with the flexibility to shake unfastened when the staff wants a bucket.