"It was just a realignment" - Darvin Ham justifies moving Austin Reaves on Lakers' 2nd unit with Manu Ginobili analogy

Austin Reaves (L) Darvin Ham (R)
Austin Reaves (L) Darvin Ham (R)

The LA Lakers snapped their three-game losing streak against the Phoenix Suns on Friday. Coach Darvin Ham made a change in his starting lineup and put Cam Reddish in it instead of Austin Reaves. The change came as a surprise for many considering Reaves' status on the roster.

Ham defended his position of bringing Reaves off the bench. He said that Reaves wasn't demoted to the bench, but rather was given a different responsibility. Comparing his move to the Spurs benching great Manu Ginobili, Ham said that Reaves came off the bench to fuel the production of the bench:

"It was just a realignment. If anybody remembers those great San Antonio teams where everyone in the world knew Manu [Ginobili] was a starter. But sometimes to balance out your lineup, you have to put a player of his magnitude in a reserve role so now when the starters go to sit down and take their break, you're not totally falling off a cliff. You have balance in the second unit."

The decision certainly paid off as the Lakers earned a 122-119 victory over the Suns. Reaves still played the third-highest minutes (35) for the Lakers. He scored 15 points in the win, shooting 6 of 11 from the field, while registering seven assists.

During the offseason, there were talks that Reaves might be able to garner a contract worth $100 million. However, he signed a four-year, $53.8 million deal with the Lakers. He also attracted star status during the FIBA World Cup, where he was arguably the second-best player on Team USA.

Lakers defeat the Phoenix Suns in a fourth-quarter thriller

The LA Lakers and the Phoenix Suns locked horns on the second day of the NBA In-Season Tournament. In a match highlighted by LeBron James and Kevin Durant going against each other, the Lakers roster came big when it was required.

The Lakers were trailing by seven points, 96-89, entering the fourth quarter. However, they outscored the Suns 33-23 in the fourth. Reaves played a pivotal role in the fourth quarter and initiated the Lakers' 14-0 run with 9:25 minutes remaining.

LeBron again came big when the Lakers needed high production from him. He scored 31 points, shooting 11 of 17 from the field, which included 3-of-4 3-pointers. James also registered 11 rebounds and six assists in the game.

Anthony Davis had a rough night and made only 5 of his 14 field goals. He had 11 rebounds and four assists.

Reddish was terrific against the Suns, scoring a season-high 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. He was plus-seven in 28 minutes, the best among all Lakers starters.

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Edited by Rajdeep Barman