On Thursday night, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered an embarrassing loss at the hands of the L.A. Clippers. Despite some good moments in the first half, the Lakers were left in the dust by a 23-0 third-quarter run. Notably absent from the game was Talen Horton-Tucker.
Prior to the game, the expectation was that Horton-Tucker would play as he was listed as active despite tweaking his ankle in. the game prior. His original game designation was probable.
However, midway through the second quarter when he had not played yet, it was announced that he was a late scratch due to the ankle injury.
Frank Vogel discussed what happened there and why they decided to hold Horton-Tucker out.
“With Talen, Talen was hopeful to play,” Vogel said. “When he warmed up at Crypto before the game, he had enough pain to give him pause that maybe he shouldn’t be out there and if he was gonna be limited, he’s probably not gonna help us so he was a late scratch.”
Of course, Horton-Tucker likely does not impact the final result of a 132-111 loss. However, it was clear they were missing a second-unit ball-handler and some defensive energy. Horton-Tucker provides both in limited doses for the Lakers.
Now, Horton-Tucker is listed as questionable for the Lakers’ Saturday night prime-time matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Both teams are absolutely reeling with injuries and bad losses, so having as many available players as possible will help.
If Horton-Tucker is unable to go, his minutes will likely get distributed among Russell Westbrook, Malik Monk, and Austin Reaves. Reaves had one of his best games of the season against the Clippers, showing all types of skill sets in the first half.
The Lakers are in desperate need of a win. Not only for some confidence and momentum moving forward but also to stay afloat in the Western Conference Play-In Tournament. They are currently only 0.5 games up on the No. 10 seeded New Orleans Pelicans, and 2.0 up on the 11th-seeded Portland Trail Blazers.
Lakers not bringing Westbrook off bench yet
Recently, there have been discussions about taking Westbrook out of the starting lineup. However, Vogel quieted those rumors by stating they have no plans to make that move yet. “Honestly, I’m not really gonna get into that,” Vogel said. “We’ve had discussions, just like the front office has thousands of trade discussions every trade deadline, most of them don’t come to fruition and that’s where we’re at with Russ.
“Having said if that’s the path that’s a better option, we have talked about that, we’ve talked about everything we can do with our team, OK. We’re not there, so I have nothing to add to that.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!