Austin Reaves collected his thoughts before answering the question.
In his two seasons with the Lakers, getting slapped in the face and knocked down in the process, only to get up and keep playing, was a rite of passage for Reaves.
So, as Reaves sat in his chair in front of his locker at Crypto.com Arena Saturday night, he had to think before answering how many times he’d been punched in the face in Game 3 of the first round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Um, I think three,” Reaves said, smiling. “Maybe four.”
Reaves was asked how are you feeling now?
“Yes, I’ll be fine,” he said. “IM getting used to it.”
And the Lakers are getting used to Reaves getting up after he’s been knocked out and delivering the goods.
He played his role on Saturday, scoring 13 points in five-for-10 shooting, catching six rebounds and dishing out two assists to help the Lakers defeat the Grizzlies for a 2-1 lead in the best-of -Opening a streak of seven, which continues with Game 4 on Monday night.
Reaves had a pivotal moment in the fourth quarter as the Lakers attempted to stop the Grizzlies from closing a 29-point deficit.
He snagged an offensive rebound after a missed shot from Anthony Davis and scored on a put back. LA’s lead increased again to 15 points.
Reaves took a pass from LeBron James and drilled a three-pointer. LA’s lead increased to 18 midway through the fourth.
“Do whatever the game offers,” Reaves said of his role. “At this point it’s winning, whether it’s a good game or a bad game. It does not matter. If you go far in the playoffs, you look like a winner. It really is. Do what the game dictates and just compete against each other.”
Hachimura shows emotion
Rui Hachimura snagged the defensive rebound and sped onto the court, a one-man fast break for the Lakers.
As he approached the free-throw line, Memphis’s John Konchar jabbed Hachimura in the back, sending the Lakers stumbling forward.
As Hachimura tried to find his balance, David Roddy also poked him in the back.
This was a little too much for Hachimura, who approached Roddy and had a few words for him before the referees separated the two and order was restored.
Hachimura was assessed a technical foul and Konchar was penalized with a foul.
The Lakers have seen a more aggressive Hachimura in these playoffs, and now they saw a physical Hachimura who wouldn’t budge.
“I think I was on the first break and I got pushed from behind by the guy and after I got off balance I got pulled by the other guy too, so obviously I got angry,” he said. “They do such dirty things. You have to be careful. You need to let them know that we just can’t let them do this. So I said to him, ‘You can’t do that, you know? Of course you can be physical, but you can’t do dirty things. That’s going to cause injury and stuff.’”
Hachimura was back on point for the Lakers, giving them another offensive weapon off the bench.
He had 16 points in six-for-10 shooting and five rebounds.
Hachimura came on for James with four minutes and 16 seconds left in the first quarter to a standing ovation from the crowd.
Hachimura soon gave the crowd more reasons to cheer for him.
He drilled a three-pointer, hit a running layup, and threw a dunk.
He shot three for three from the field and scored seven points in the first quarter.
And the crowd was on their feet.
“I loved it,” Hachimura said. “Earlier today we had a shooting and we spoke about it, it was the first time since 2013 [that the Lakers had full capacity for the playoffs]. It’s crazy. I was so excited. I just didn’t know. I have heard of that.
“I knew tonight was going to be crazy. Yes, the audience was crazy tonight and our energy was good. I loved it.”