With LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the bench, getting some much-needed rest, the Los Angeles Lakers needed someone on their bench to step up and lead the team on both ends of the floor on Sunday, and once again, Talen Horton-Tucker rose to the challenge.
After setting a new career-high for points in the Lakers’ preseason opener against the Clippers on Friday, Horton-Tucker did it again on Sunday, scoring a team-high 33 points on 11-17 shooting from the field and 4-5 shooting from behind the 3-point line. He’s led the Lakers in scoring in both of their preseason games.
Horton-Tucker also notched a double-double, using his long arms and big hands to grab 10 rebounds, which was tied for the team-high with Montrezl Harrell. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think he was a crucial part of the Lakers’ championship run last season.
The Lakers comfortably beat the Clippers 128-106 despite the fact that the Clippers had most of their players available again. This probably isn’t indicative of where both teams will be once the regular season begins, but it’s always fun beating the Clippers.
Six different Lakers finished the game in double figures, including Kyle Kuzma, whose efficient performance got lost in the midst of Horton-Tucker’s big night. Kuzma scored 22 points on 7-13 shooting from the field and 3-6 shooting from behind the arc. He also added 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Kuzma and Horton-Tucker’s ability to move off of the ball proved to be valuable next to a pass-first center in Marc Gasol, who made his Lakers debut on Sunday night. That just makes Lakers fans wonder what it’s going to be like when it’s LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the receiving-end of those high-post passes — they might go 72-0.
The Lakers will have the next days off before resuming their preseason with a game against the Phoenix Suns.