The Los Angeles Lakers continued their road dominance during the 2020-21 season, picking up an impressive 120-102 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.
Anthony Davis returned to the lineup and overwhelmed the Rockets as they had no answer for him. Davis scored a team-high 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting while also knocking down nine of 10 free throw attempts.
LeBron James chipped in with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in only 30 minutes of action.
Wesley Matthews was held out of the lineup due to Achilles tendon soreness, opening up more minutes for Talen Horton-Tucker. He capitalized on the opportunity, leading the bench with 17 points and coming up with four steals.
“He does it on both sides of the floor and he just listens. He’s a sponge. Whatever you say to him, he’s going to accept it and then apply it right away,” James said of Horton-Tucker.
“There’s not that many young guys that can take something on the fly and make it happen. You saw his ability to go 7-for-8 from the field, but also his rebounding, his assists and playmaking, and then having four steals to add on top of that. Big-time game for a kid who is still growing into his own. He’s beyond his years.”
Horton-Tucker flashed what he could do during the preseason and that has carried over into the regular season as he has looked much more confident whenever he steps onto the floor. The second-year guard is at his best when he has the basketball in his hands and continues to display his craftiness around the basket while also showing he can step up defensively.
Against Houston, Horton-Tucker was his usual self in attacking the basket and knocking down open 3s. But he was arguably even more impressive on defense as he came up with several difficult strips.
One play that stood out in particular was when Horton-Tucker was isolated on James Harden and picked him clean when he tried to crossover.
The depth of the Lakers roster can not be understated given all the challenges this season poses, and Horton-Tuckers continued development only bodes well for the team going forward.
Horton-Tucker becoming an integral rotation piece
Lakes head coach Frank Vogel said during the preseason that Horton-Tucker would make his job difficult and so far that is proving to be the case. The young guard is clearly too talented to be glued to the bench and has proven he can contribute when given the minutes.
Los Angeles’ guard rotation is good on paper, but Horton-Tucker sometimes looks like the best of the bunch. If he continues his strong play, it will not be long before Vogel is forced to play him more.
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