LeBron James Reveals When Austin Reaves Gained His Trust

LeBron James says Austin Reaves gained a lot of trust in the playoff series against the Grizzlies.

Austin Reaves has now been a teammate of LeBron James for just under three seasons and in that time, he has managed to gain his full trust on the court. James has shown a willingness to let Reaves take over in the big moments and on the Mind the Game podcast, he revealed when the guard gained a lot of his trust.

“Obviously last year in the Memphis series, AR gained a lot of trust from me,” James said. “But also I trusted him to make the plays… It was either Game 1 or Game 2, where in the fourth quarter where I, you know, just was like AR let’s — Go win it for us and I want to see.”

James stated that he plays chess on the court, and the 39-year-old felt that giving Reaves that responsibility would help both of them in the future.

“And I feel like if I could get AR and instill AR in that confidence in that fourth quarter to make plays and win that game it was just going to pay dividends for the rest of my time with him and the rest of his time when I’m not with him,” James added.

Well, it sure has been paying dividends for LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers. The contest the 20-time All-Star was referring to there, was Game 1 of their 2023 first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies. James told Reaves to run the show late in the game and boy, did he deliver.

In the first playoff game of his career, Reaves had 14 points in the fourth quarter alone. He was quite literally perfect in that period, shooting 5-5 from the field, 2-2 from beyond the arc, and 2-2 from the line.

Reaves would finish the night with 23 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block, as the Lakers won 128-112. He showed in that game that he wasn’t just some flash in the pan and had what it took to deliver in the big moments.

The Lakers stole home-court advantage in that series with the win and eventually eliminated the Grizzlies in six games. Reaves would continue to feature prominently as they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals and he firmly established himself as a key piece during that run.

Austin Reaves Also Felt That Was The Moment That He Fully Gained LeBron James’ Trust

As for Reaves, he had felt like LeBron had some trust in him, but it was during Game 1 against the Grizzlies that he realized just to what extent. Earlier this season, Reaves broke down the moment when he fully gained James’ trust.

“Fully was Game 1 of the Memphis series last year,” said Reaves. “There was trust there. But I remember in the fourth quarter when I had it going, there was a shot and D’Lo outletted it to Bron… I get to half-court and I hear him yelling my name. He was like, ‘Come, get the ball.’ I was like ‘Oh sh*t I have to make something good happen.’ Everything went in slow motion at that time…. but it ended up working, thank God, and after the game, I was trying to fathom what actually just happened.”

It would have been an incredible feeling for someone who had joined the Lakers as an undrafted free agent in 2021 to realize that one of the greatest players ever trusted him to that extent. Reaves certainly did not rest on his laurels after that and has come up big time and time again for James and the Lakers.

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