Lakers’ Talen Horton-Tucker plays big off bench in win over Wizards
The pass from Malik Monk reached Talen Horton-Tucker near the three-point line, the Lakers guard catching the ball as he eyed former Lakers teammate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Horton-Tucker took one dribble, did a 360-degree spin around Caldwell-Pope, leaving him at the free-throw line.
Horton-Tucker then encountered another former Lakers teammate, Kyle Kuzma, trying to prevent him from scoring. Yet with one big leap, Horton-Tucker jumped over Kuzma and threw down a one-handed dunk in the fourth quarter.
Horton-Tucker paused for a second to pose, relishing the moment with the crowd at Crypto.com Arena that was now in a frenzy.
It was one of the many Horton-Tucker highlights during the Lakers’ 122-109 win over the Wizards.
“That’s just how I play,” Horton-Tucker said. “Me being young, I know I still got a lot to learn. But I feel like I can do some things. Just whenever I get the opportunity to do that it’s always great. And it’s Kuz and KCP. They got me a lot when I was a rookie. It felt good to get them in the game.”
Horton-Tucker followed up that dunk with another one that put the Lakers ahead by 10 points again.
For the second time in three games, LeBron James put up 50 points or more and the Lakers needed them all in a 122-109 win over the Washington Wizards.
Horton-Tucker also dunked over Washington’s 7-3 center Kristaps Porzingis in the first half, sparking another outburst from the crowd.
But it was the play around Caldwell-Pope and the dunk over Kuzma that was the most exciting of the night.
“That play was awesome. That play brought the house down,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “But I thought the whole game that Talen was really impressive. I think guys want to play through injury all the time, and sometimes it’s smarter to just let the situation, the ankle, heal up a couple extra days, like he did when he didn’t play in Houston.
“I thought he benefited tonight from being healthier and playing with a great deal of confidence attacking the basket, making plays, defending. One of his best games for us this year, but that play was really awesome.”
Horton-Tucker was listed as questionable for the Wizards game because of a sprained left ankle.
Yet he played 30 minutes off the bench and had a big role for the Lakers against the Wizards.
He had 15 points on seven-for-16 shooting, five rebounds and three assists.
“My ankle, I had a Grade 2 sprain. I’m still dealing with it. It’s still painful,” he said. “I’m just trying to play through it. It’s the end of the season so we got to get some wins. So, anyway I can help I feel like I need to be out there. So, I’m trying to play through it. It still hurts, but I’m just trying to push.”
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