Talen Horton-Tucker was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise horrid night for the Los Angeles Lakers when they lost to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
The Trail Blazers beat L.A. 107-105 without Damian Lillard and having traded half of their roster in the days before the clash. Thanks to the win, Portland also ended its six-game losing streak.
Even though the Lakers lost, Horton-Tucker put up one of his best shooting performances of the season. The 21-year-old guard went 4-for-6 from beyond the arc — matching his season-high in triples made — to end the night with 14 points.
Horton-Tucker said he now has a better understating of his role, helping him put in productive shifts when he enters the game. The Iowa State product added one of his main goals is to provide the Lakers with a spark off the bench every game.
“I understand who I’m playing with and I understand the role I’m in almost now,” Horton-Tucker said. “Trying to … provide energy and just do a lot of different things on the court that don’t require having the ball in my hands. So whenever those shots start falling, I feel like it’s always going to be a good night for me.
“Just trying to stay consistent with that is the most important thing.”
Horton-Tucker said the Lakers don’t let the noise around the team get into their head amid the disappointing results, understanding it’s not always possible to meet people’s expectations.
The guard also said L.A.’s only focus right now is to get back to winning days.
“Losing frustrates everybody,” Horton-Tucker said. “Just trying to get out of the losing column is the most important thing for us. Trying to stay together through all the ups and downs. I feel like we just got to stay together. Kind of fight through it.”
Kendrick Nunn and Horton-Tucker weren’t enough to get Lakers to make deadline deal
The Lakers reportedly make an effort to improve their roster before Thursday’s trade deadline. However, the assets they offered — Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn — are believed to have provided insufficient value to close the deals they were discussing.
L.A. also refused to include draft picks in any trade package, ending their hopes of conducting business at the deadline.
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