All season long it has been said that the Los Angeles Lakers will need to work through Talen Horton-Tucker’s struggles to reap the benefits of his game. Against the New York Knicks, that season-long belief played out in a single game.
Left as the team’s lone remaining playmaking guard, Horton-Tucker fought through some late turnover issues, knocking down the game-winning 3-pointer to give the Lakers a 101-99 win over the Knicks in overtime.
The win gave the Lakers consecutive victories for the first time since March 28 and kept them within a game of the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers for the fifth and sixth seeds with just three contests remaining.
Already down LeBron James and Dennis Schroder coming into the contest, the Lakers lost Alex Caruso to right soreness after his first stint in the game. This left Horton-Tucker as the team’s lone ‘point guard’ and he showed flashes of both his positives and negatives throughout the contest.
The second-year guard had a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists but also committed seven turnovers with some of those coming late in the fourth quarter and overtime. But with the game on the line and an open look, Horton-Tucker didn’t hesitate to put up the 3-pointer with just 21 seconds remaining to give the Lakers the victory.
Anthony Davis struggled on this night as the stout Knicks defense focused heavily on containing him while pressuring the Lakers remaining ballhandlers. Davis scored just 20 points on 8-of-23 from the field while adding six rebounds and four assists. Thankfully his teammates stepped up to pick up the slack.
The Lakers leading scorer on the night was Kyle Kuzma, who scored 23 points while knocking down 4-of-8 from deep as he remained in a reserve role in his return after missing Sunday’s contest. Andre Drummond also had an outstanding showing with 16 points and 18 rebounds.
Wesley Matthews, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ben McLemore all hit a pair of 3-pointers as well, but it was Matthews’ work inside that forced overtime as he fought for an offensive rebound and putback with 3.1 seconds left in regulation.
The game overall was a defensive battle with two of the best in the NBA on that side of the ball. Even when adding the extra period, neither team reached the 50 point mark in the second half and the two squads combined to shoot just 40.6% for the game.
Next up for the Lakers
Los Angeles is on a back-to-back and will host the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night in their final home game of the season. They will be raising their 2020 championship banner before the game.
Afterward, they will finish the season with road contests against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday and the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.
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