Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 105-104 win over the Houston Rockets, star players Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura made an appearance in the post-game interviews and made some interesting comments. They were asked by the reporters about the mindset of Lakers’ LeBron James and the team dynamics, particularly in response to the ongoing rivalry between the superstar and Houston Rockets star Dillon Brooks.
The interview took a shift when the Lakers’ young stars were asked about the beef between James and Brooks that started during the playoffs last season. Both players admitted that there’s some animosity between James and Brooks. Rui Hachimura in the interview said that the beef between them only serves as motivation to James. He added that the rivalry gives James an edge. As for Brooks, Hachimura said that he is a tough competitor and he is trying to be a part of James’ legacy by trying to upstage the Lakers superstar.
Hachimura said during the post-game interview, “I don’t know what’s the beef between those two guys, but you know, it’s actually good for him. He needs that motivation.” Reaves added to the question asked on the beef between the two players, to which he shed light on LeBron’s positive mindset and said that he plays the same, regardless of whomever he plays against, if he has that motivation, the result is likely going to be a win for the Lakers, which only serves him well.
Reaves also paid tribute to James’ enthusiasm, saying, “I’ve never really seen him in a bad mood. He’s the oldest player in the NBA but still acts like he’s 20 every day. Anytime Bron has something that pushes him a little you know further, you see the results like you get tonight, like last year in the playoffs.” In the game against the Rockets, James dropped a season-high 37 points to go along with six rebounds, eight assists, and three steals.
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Rui Hachimura’s deal with the LA Lakers
In the NBA offseason, forward Rui Hachimura signed a three-year contract worth $51 million with the Los Angeles Lakers. After joining the Lakers in a deadline-day trade, Hachimura made an instant impact, especially in the playoffs. He averaged 12.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game and played a big role in helping the Lakers reach the Western Conference Finals despite finishing only seventh in the standing and having to take the play-in route to the playoffs.
In a media interaction, Lakers superstar LeBron James shared his thoughts on training with Rui Hachimura in the offseason and said, “We’ve worked out together pretty much all summer…I call him my Daniel-san and I’m Mr. Miyagi,” Earning James’ praise is a testament to Hachimura’s skill and work ethic.
Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves earned big contracts from the Lakers following their tremendous effort for the team during the home stretch of the regular season and the playoffs. The young duo is viewed as a big part of the franchise’s future but will have to continue performing at a high level to ensure they remain vital cogs and not trade assets.