The Los Angeles Lakers, as long as LeBron James is healthy enough to play, have a fighting chance against the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA playoffs. James has played at such a high level for so long at the grandest stage of them all that it’s not the wisest idea to doubt his ability to rise to the occasion. However, in Game 2 of the 2023 Western Conference Finals, James looked like a mere mortal.
James, beyond embarrassingly missing a wide open dunk in transition because the ball slipped out of hands due to fanciness, also missed a few layups. The King, who is one of the best slashers the league has ever seen, also settled for a lot of jumpshots, much to the chagrin of some Lakers fans. And now, the Lakers have let a very winnable game slip away from their grasp as they head back to Los Angeles down 2-0.
Nevertheless, Austin Reaves, one of LeBron James’ teammates who never shies away from the moment, dropped the ultimate vote of confidence towards the Lakers star, even though he’s showing signs of age.
“Let him shoot all he wants. It’s LeBron James… we want him taking what he feels comfortable with. He’s a winning player,” Reaves said following the game, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
Make no mistake about it, LeBron James still had a solid game, dropping 22 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in a losing effort. But James’ excellence over the years has created such a high standard for him on a nightly basis, and with the game on the line, James was unable to deliver.
Even then, it’s a testament to Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura’s ability to step up that the Lakers still had a chance to even up the series despite James’ less-than-stellar outing. Reaves, in particular, was solid, tallying 22 points on 8-16 shooting. If only Anthony Davis shot better from the field.
Nevertheless, with the series heading back to Crypto.com Arena for Games 3 and 4, the series is just beginning for the Lakers. Perhaps behind a raucous crowd, James would manage to turn back the clock so they could return to Denver with the series knotted up at two games apiece.
The post Austin Reaves drops LeBron James vote of confidence after rocky Game 2 vs. Nuggets appeared first on ClutchPoints.