As he ascended to cult hero status within the Lakers fanbase, Austin Reaves has shown a personality of a competitor, but not one that has things bubble over. To borrow a quote from Byron Scott, you’d want him in your foxhole, but he’s not the emotional type that earns technical fouls.
In fact, coming into Sunday, Reaves had not been called for a technical in his career. That alone made the altercation between him and Josh Green in the second half noteworthy. A double technical is an anticlimactic way to get it, but the moment itself was worthy of a first technical.
February 26, 2023
Josh Green wants all Austin Reaves #Mavs pic.twitter.com/QZ0dVBusBJ— Dorothy J. Gentry (@DorothyJGentry) February 26, 2023
Unless you’re a great lip reader, you probably can’t tell what the two are saying. You could assume it’s something like “Do you want to get dinner after the game?” or “How’s the family?” but Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who was sitting courtside, provided the actual words exchanged.
Austin Reaves to Josh Green: "You ain't s---. I'll f--- you up."— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) February 26, 2023
After the game, Reaves was asked in the locker room about the altercation. While he wouldn’t confirm exactly what he said, he had a fun exchange with reporters in which he claimed he couldn’t remember what he said with a big smirk.
"I try to play every game like it's my last, something was said and I didn't really like it... it was a good basketball game." Austin Reaves clarifies what the exchange between him and Green was about. pic.twitter.com/4gZRxOpz5H— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) February 27, 2023
It’s safe to say Reaves got the last laugh over Green for a number of reasons. Obviously, the Lakers won the game as the ultimate laugh, but it was Reaves making big plays down the stretch.
Reaves played the near entirety of the fourth quarter and made a big shot in the closing minutes. Green, meanwhile, was subbed out shortly after the altercation and did not play again.
In all, it was a typical day for Reaves, who’s made a habit of having big moments in Dallas. He showed up for work, fended off a bully, and walked away the victory. There’s little else he could have asked for!
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.