The Los Angeles Lakers continued their strong start post-All-Star break, racking up their third consecutive win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
Despite another slow start in the first half, the Lakers eventually picked things up and blew the game open in the fourth quarter. LeBron James recorded his fifth triple-double (25 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists) of the 2020-21 season, while Montrezl Harrell had a strong 25-point performance off the bench.
Los Angeles has been able to win despite being short-handed as they are without three of their rotation players. Anthony Davis was recently re-evaluated and is set to miss at least two more weeks as he rehabs a calf strain, while there is no clear timetable for Marc Gasol as he goes through the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
The Lakers have also missed Alex Caruso the past couple games after he was diagnosed with a mild concussion.
Prior to their game against the Timberwolves, Caruso was seen running sprints on the court and head coach Frank Vogel provided an update on his playing status for Thursday against the Charlotte Hornets. “Still on track,” Vogel said.
“I’m not sure of the exact details, but each day you have to increase your activity level and then monitor symptoms, is sort of how the return-to-play protocols works with concussions. So his on-the-court work, which is part of that return-to-play protocol still has him on track. He still has to pass certain tests to be cleared.”
This is good news as Caruso has been an integral rotation player for Vogel because of his defense and knack for making winning plays. The guard provides all the intangibles a coach could ask for, and his high energy and effort often times jumpstarts the Lakers when they need a jolt.
With Caruso out of the lineup, Talen Horton-Tucker has stepped up and flashed once again why he is an intriguing piece for the Lakers going forward. After recording an 18-point, 10-assist double-double against the Golden State Warriors, Horton-Tucker scored 16 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists in the win against the Timberwolves.
Vogel on Horton-Tucker’s importance to Lakers
Horton-Tucker has been up and down during the 2020-21 season, but his recent stretch has been encouraging. Vogel noted how the 20-year-old has made an impact on the team. “He’s vital,” Vogel said. “His growth, you’ve seen it starting last year, but even from the beginning of this year up until this point.
“Last night, in particular, having 10 assists with the decisions he was making once he gets to the paint, it’s very important to have another dynamic basket-attacker and ball-handler to go along with Caruso and Dennis Schroder out there to support LeBron. He’s a very important player for us.”
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