LOS ANGELES — Forty-five seconds into the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon, Nuggets wing Davon Reed stepped confidently into his 3-point stroke and drained his shot from near the top of the arc.
As the quarter rolled on, the Nuggets and Lakers trading baskets, Reed was on the floor, guarding and switching on everyone from Carmelo Anthony to Russell Westbrook to Anthony Davis.
With three games left in the regular season, the Nuggets’ rangy wing is still on a two-way contract and, as such, is ineligible to play in the postseason. To be eligible, Reed would need to be converted to a standard contract. As of now, all 15 roster spots are filled, meaning unless something changes, Reed, a player whom Nuggets coach Michael Malone has come to trust, won’t be available.
In Sunday afternoon’s win over the Lakers, Reed finished with 10 points, two assists and two steals in 21 minutes. His versatile, switch-capable defense helped limited the Lakers to 24 points in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Malone brought him up unprompted.
“I thought Davon Reed had a helluva game, kind of an unsung hero type-of-a-game,” he said.
Teammate Nikola Jokic was impressed with his work as well.
“Staying ready,” Jokic said of Reed’s impact. “His defense was really, really, like I remember his defense.”
When asked in an interview by The Post about Reed’s eligibility for the postseason, Malone expanded on his affinity for him.
“Every time Davon Reed has gotten a chance to play this year, he’s found a way to help this team,” Malone said. “I mean look at his line tonight — here’s a guy that’s a two-way player, 23 minutes, 10 points, couple of assists, rebounds, steals and he had an impact on the game. He’s in the game in the fourth quarter in a must-win game.
“I think that, in and of itself, speaks to my level of confidence with him. … That’s something that Tim (Connelly) and I can talk about as we move forward.”
Sunday marked the second consecutive game that Bryn Forbes hadn’t played due to Malone’s decision. If the playoffs started today, it’s unclear whether he’d be in the playoff rotation or not. The last time guard Facu Campazzo played meaningful minutes was on March 9 at Sacramento. Since then, he hasn’t gotten off the bench on seven different occasions.
Malone acknowledged that decisions need to be made with the season almost over.
“It’s upon us, but all I can say on that is, I respect Davon Reed, big fan of his from Summer League, and I know he’s an NBA player that can help this team win.”