The celebration was in full force for the Los Angeles Lakers after Anthony Davis channeled the Mamba Mentality in knocking down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to earn a 105-103 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers are now up 2-0 over the Denver Nuggets and are riding high after a hard fought win.
What was lost in the shuffle of the celebration was the fate of rookie Talen Horton-Tucker. With the Lakers storming the floor following the Davis buzzer-beater, Horton-Tucker leapt into Davis looking for a chest bump in the air.
But the much bigger Davis had too much momentum and wound up clobbering the Lakers rookie with a knee and Horton-Tucker hit the floor hard. But the promising young Laker was just fine after the celebration, telling Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports that the knee actually energized him:
Los Angeles Lakers rookie Talen Horton-Tucker was taken out by a Anthony Davis running knee: “Oh, I’m good,” he told Yahoo Sports. “That knee energized me.” pic.twitter.com/JkMuD89zHV
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) September 21, 2020
Horton-Tucker has become one of the more popular Lakers players after his unexpected contribution in the team’s second-round series victory over the Houston Rockets. After appearing in just six games during the regular season, head coach Frank Vogel called on Horton-Tucker in Games 4 and 5 of the second-round series and he gave the Lakers a huge spark.
In seven minutes in Game 4, he scored five points and added two steals before following that up with nine points and three rebounds in Game 5. Though Horton-Tucker has been moved back to the inactive list so far in the Western Conference Finals, he has continually drawn a ton of praise from teammates and coaches alike.
Despite being in street clothes, he might wake up feeling like he played 35 minutes after the contact he took from Davis in celebration. That being said, the fact that it came in a victory will surely take away any sting that he may be feeling.
Talen Horton-Tucker embracing ‘the moment’
To say Horton-Tucker getting playoff minutes for the Lakers was a shock would be the understatement of the season. No one could have expected him to make any kind of impact after rarely seeing the floor this season, but when the time came he was ready.
“I feel like I would’ve been ready to come in and just do whatever they ask me to do,” Horton-Tucker said.
“That’s what my main goal was coming into this whole bubble experience. Just come in and do whatever they ask me to do. I feel like I would’ve been ready a few months ago and feel like I’m ready now.”
Horton-Tucker proved his readiness without a doubt in his playoff appearances, and even though he may not appear again during these playoffs, he is more than happy with his role on the team.
“Just trying to embrace the moment I’m in and do the best with that,” he said.
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