LeBron James points to 3 young teammates that have earned his trust to close out games for Lakers

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James revealed that Malik Monk, Austin Reaves and Talen Horton-Tucker have all earned his trust down the stretch in close games.

James explained that those players are on the floor late in games because the team expects them to make plays, and they showed that in the Lakers’ win over the Washington Wizards.

“Well, I mean, we’re on the floor for a reason in the fourth,” James said. “And I expect those guys to make plays. Because they’re on the floor. And I know what they’re capable of. I know what Malik is capable of, obviously I’ve been in the foxhole with THT, and Austin has proven himself. So it was great to see those guys make plays down the stretch, especially when the Wizards started doubling my pick and rolls or my ISOs and those guys continued to make plays. It was great to see that.”

The Lakers are having to turn to different players on offense this season with Anthony Davis injured and Russell Westbrook struggling, and it appears these three players have clearly shown the most to James this season.

Los Angeles hasn’t been able to go on a winning streak to climb out of the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference, but it will need Reaves, Monk and Horton-Tucker to be firing on all cylinders if the team wants to make a playoff run.

All three players will get the benefit of playing off of James, who is having yet another impressive season in the 2020-21 campaign.

The four-time champion is averaging 29.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from beyond the arc this season.

With James drawing so much attention, it will be up to the Lakers’ role players to make key plays late in games for the team to come away with wins down the stretch of the season. Los Angeles would need to win two games in the play-in tournament to make the playoffs if it remains in the No. 9 spot.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.