March 2, 2024

Cam Reddish made one last important defensive stand for the Lakers late in the fourth quarter, and it was a painful one that led to him leaving the game early. Reddish also made a big-time three-pointer in the fourth quarter and it gave the Lakers a lead that allowed them to stay the course and pull out a hard-fought game over the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night at Crypto.com Arena.

It was a solid overall night for Reddish, offensively and defensively, and the Lakers needed all he could give to escape with a 132-131 win.

When the game was over, after he had taken an elbow to his face from Immanuel Quickley with three minutes and 52 seconds left, Reddish didn’t talk to the media.

But Lakers coach Darvin Ham, said Reddish “took a real horrific blow to the face” and that he was “getting looked at” after the game.

Reddish took a charge on Quickley, whose elbow struck him in the face, knocking the forward to the court for a few minutes. Reddish was helped up by Ham as the referees deemed Quickley’s actions a flagrant foul. Reddish looked wobbly, but he made one of two free throws for a 111-109 Lakers lead.

He soon left the game.

Reddish finished with 13 points and four-for-six shooting from three-point range.

“Four for six tonight for him, happy for him to see something go down,” Ham said. “And just the way he competes defensively, it’s good to see him have some balance out there, not just be dominant on one side of the ball and taking those tough matchups and keeping guys under control. But him doing that and providing us with some much needed offense.”

The three-pointer Reddish made with 4:40 to go in the fourth quarter gave the Lakers a two-point lead and kept the Raptors from taking control.

He took the pass from Austin Reaves, set his feet and shot the ball with confidence.

“He’s playing great defensively,” Anthony Davis said. “I mean, offensively, he’s making shots. We just keep going to him and telling him to keep shooting. ‘Don’t hesitate. You’re open. Let it go. If teams feel like they can leave you open, then make them pay.’ And I think he hit two of them tonight. It was actually a big shot. But Cam will be fine. We just continue to feed confidence into him and tell him to keep going.”

Lakers share the ball

Perhaps, LeBron James agreed, the 34 assists the Lakers had on 44 made field goals “can be” a recipe for success for them.

James had 12 of the assists, to go along with his 22 points and five rebounds.

“But obviously every game has its own challenges. But I would say that the year we won the championship, I led the league in assists and I’m not comparing to that team — because that’s a hell of a team that year when we won it,” said James, who led the NBA in assists at 10.3 during the 2019-2020 season. “But it’s always been good ingredients when I have those good assist games where I feel like everybody is getting involved. But when I have those high assists, most of them go to AD and that means [things are going] very well. That works well for our team. He’s big-time for us.”

It wasn’t just James, who entered the game averaging 7.4 assists per game, being a willing passer.

Davis was a force with 41 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

Reaves had seven assists and D’Angelo Russell had five.

“Thirty-four assists,” Ham said, “just means guys are willing passers and we encourage our guys to be shot-aggressive.”

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