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Lakers inexplicably benched Austin Reaves as seasonal woes continue

The Lakers’ woes continue.

In the midst of a disastrous season in Los Angeles that was riddled with star player injuries, head coach Frank Vogel found a new way to piss off fans.

In the team’s final two games, a 129-118 loss to the Nuggets and a 114-111 loss to the Pelicans, Vogel inexplicably benched Austin Reaves, a fan favorite who started multiple games throughout the season Has. The undrafted rookie has endeared himself to the Lakers fan base for his energy and defense throughout a tough season, averaging 22.5 minutes per game for the year.

When asked about the bench press, Vogel said it was because of “a little bit of everything.”

“Austin has played really well for us this year,” Vogel said, as the team is currently on a six-game losing streak. “When you’re losing as much as we are, you have to look at different things. He’s been struggling to hit the ball lately and he’s shown a bit of rookie fatigue, if you want to call it that, on some nights.

“I don’t have a lack of confidence in him but we looked at Avery (Bradley) as a change. He played really well the other night and now he’s getting those minutes.”

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel
Getty Images
Lakers fan favorite Austin Reaves
Lakers fan favorite Austin Reaves
Getty Images

It’s true that Reaves has been struggling to shoot the ball lately – in the four games prior to his bench press he was 3 for 15 from the field and 0 for 7 from three. But he’s only averaging about five shots a game, and there’s not much on the bench behind him. Bradley shot 8 of 10 in the two games but was down 12 in that span. Carmelo Anthony got more minutes on Sunday, shooting 1 of 7 of three.

Fans were upset by Vogel’s decision to leave Reaves entirely, a case that wasn’t the first time the coach had frustrated Lakers loyalists.

The Lakers currently sit 11th in the Western Conference at 31-47 – two games from the play-in tournament. With just four games left in the regular season, Los Angeles will likely miss the playoffs for the second time since LeBron James joined the team four years ago.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/04/lakers-inexplicably-bench-austin-reaves-as-season-woes-continue/ Lakers inexplicably benched Austin Reaves as seasonal woes continue

JOE HERNANDEZ

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