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Austin Reaves ignores hits to the face to deliver for Lakers

Austin Reaves gathered his thoughts before he answered the question.

In his two seasons with the Lakers, it has been a rite of passage for Reaves to get smacked in the face and knocked down in the process, only to get up and keep playing.

So, as Reaves sat in his chair in front of his locker on Saturday night at Crypto.com Arena, he had to mull it over before answering about the number of times he had been hit in the face during Game 3 of the first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

“Umm, I think three,” Reaves said, smiling. “Maybe four.”

Reaves was asked, how are you feeling now?

“Yeah, I’ll be all right,” he said. “I’m getting used to it.”

And the Lakers are getting used to Reaves getting up after he gets knocked down and delivering the goods.

He played his role Saturday, scoring 13 points on five-for-10 shooting, getting six rebounds and handing out two assists in helping the Lakers defeat the Grizzlies to open a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series that continues with Game 4 on Monday night.

Reaves had a key moment in the fourth quarter when the Lakers were trying to hold off the Grizzlies from erasing a 29-point deficit.

He grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed Anthony Davis shot and scored on a put-back. L.A.’s lead went back up to 15 points.

Reaves took a pass from LeBron James and drilled a three-pointer. L.A.’s lead went up to 18 midway through the fourth.

“Do whatever the game provides,” Reaves said about his role. “At this point, it’s win regardless of good game, bad game. It doesn’t matter. Go far in the playoffs, you look like a winner. That’s really it. Do what the game provides and really just compete.”

Hachimura shows emotion

Rui Hachimura grabbed the defensive rebound and raced up court, a one-man fast break for the Lakers.

As he neared the free-throw line, Memphis’ John Konchar pushed Hachimura in the back, making the Lakers forward stumble.

As Hachimura was trying to catch his balance, David Roddy also pushed him in the back.

Now, this was a bit too much for Hachimura, who went toward Roddy and had some words for him before the referees separated the two and order was restored.

Hachimura was assessed a technical foul and Konchar was called for a foul.

The Lakers have been seeing a more aggressive Hachimura in these playoffs and now they were seeing a physical Hachimura who was not going to back down.

“I think I was on the first break and I got pushed from behind from the guy and after I was off-balanced and I also got pulled from the other guy so obviously I got mad,” he said. “They do dirty stuff like that. You got to be careful. You got to let them know we just can’t let them do that. So, that’s why I told him, ‘You can’t do that, you know? Of course you can be physical, but you can’t do dirty stuff. That’s going to cause an injury and stuff.’”

Hachimura was on point again for the Lakers, giving them another offensive weapon off the bench.

He had 16 points on six-for-10 shooting and five rebounds.

Hachimura entered the game for James with four minutes and 16 seconds left in the first quarter to an ovation from the crowd.

Soon enough, Hachimura gave the crowd more reasons to cheer him.

He drilled a three-pointer, scored on a running layup and threw down a dunk.

He was three-for-three shooting from the field and scored seven points in the first quarter.

And the crowd was on its feet.

“I loved it,” Hachimura said. “Even today, we had a shootaround and we were talking about it was the first time since 2013 [that the Lakers had full capacity for the playoffs]. It’s crazy. I was so excited for it. I just didn’t know about it. I heard about it.

“I knew it was going to be crazy tonight. Yeah, the crowd was crazy tonight and our energy was good. I loved it.”



This story originally appeared on LA Times

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