Austin Reaves says he was hit in face 3 or 4 times during Game 3 of Lakers-Grizzles: ‘I’m getting used to it’

Orel Dizon
3 Min Read

Austin Reaves has been instrumental for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, helping them rally for a berth in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

Facing off against the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed, the Lakers have found plenty of use for the undrafted guard out of the University of Oklahoma. Through three playoff games against the Memphis Grizzlies, he has averaged 16.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per contest.

This being his first trip to the playoffs, Reaves is likely enjoying the experience. However, one of the memories he will likely bring out of his battles against Memphis is the beating he’s taking. In Game 3 alone, the 6-foot-5 swingman said that he was hit in the face three or four times.

Fortunately, getting smacked in the face didn’t throw Reaves out of his rhythm on Saturday. He finished the evening with 13 points and six rebounds on 5-for-10 shooting, and he helped the Lakers rout the Grizzlies in the first quarter 35-9. The 26-point advantage matched the largest first-quarter lead in playoff history.

Memphis didn’t go down without a fight, as it outscored the Lakers by 16 points for the rest of the match. It was a good thing that L.A. built a comfortable cushion early on to withstand the late-game rally from the Grizzlies.

The physicality from the Grizzlies helped keep them in the contest, although it might have gone overboard at times, especially against Reaves. But history shows that Saturday was not the first time Reaves took some shots. In fact, it’s been a theme throughout his career.

When he was still a rookie, the fan favorite was praised by then-teammate Rajon Rondo for his toughness despite being hit in the face aplenty during practice.

“He’s been hit in the face more than any rookie in the league I’m sure,” Rondo said. “We’ve got to get him a facemask and mouthpiece soon, but like I said, he’s just fearless, man.”

Moreover, earlier this season, Reaves hilariously discussed getting elbowed in the face by Jonathan Kuminga during a matchup against the Golden State Warriors.

He might have to get used to it even more, especially if the Lakers are able to upset Memphis in the first round. Things may get even more physical from here on out. But if the past weeks are any indication, Reaves appears ready to sacrifice his body and face to help the team.

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