Austin Reaves, the Lakers’ second-year guard from tiny Newark, Ark., screamed, “I’m him,” at the Lakers bench in the fourth quarter, his play 100 miles from his hometown pushing the Lakers to a 128-112 victory in Game 1 in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Reaves scored 14 in the fourth quarter, finding Rui Hachimura with a pinpoint behind-the-back pass for a three.
The two combined to score 52 points, with Hachimura scoring 29 off the bench in the win.
Anthony Davis scored 22 points to go with 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots. He also had three steals.
LeBron James had 21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists while D’Angelo Russell scored 19 and has a game-high seven assists.
The win comes with injuries, both potential and actual, looming large for the road ahead.
Late in the first half, Davis fell to the court and immediately grabbed at his right shoulder, his arm dangling as he looked to the bench.
While trainers worked on him during a timeout, Davis struggled to move his arm and needed to go to the Lakers locker room.
Davis, though, was able to return after halftime.
Grizzlies All-Star guard Ja Morant wasn’t as fortunate.
Driving to the basket in the fourth quarter, Morant tried to leap over Davis, who took a charge, with Morant falling and landing on his already injured right hand.
Morant ran directly to the Memphis locker room and didn’t return.
Jaren Jackson Jr. led Memphis with 31 points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal. Morant finished with 18 points, but six turnovers. Desmond Bane had 22 points and a team-high six assists.
Game 2 is Wednesday before the series returns to Los Angeles.