Montrezl Harrell gave fans a glimpse of what’s to come in his unofficial Los Angeles Lakers debut, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds in an 87-81 victory over the L.A. Clippers in their preseason opener at Staples Center.
Harrell showed off his nonstop energy and activity as four of his rebounds came on the offensive glass. He also got the start as the Lakers chose to rest a number of expected rotation players, most notably LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Marc Gasol, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris also sat out, which gave an opportunity for some of the younger players to play big minutes. The man who took most advantage was second-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has praised how he’s looked in training camp so far, and Horton-Tucker responded with a team-high 19 points to go along with nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Kyle Kuzma also had a huge night with 18 points and five assists.
The two young players took things over in the fourth quarter as they scored 19 of the Lakers’ 28 points in the final period.
Dennis Schroder and Wesley Matthews also made their debuts and showed flashes of what they can bring. Schroder had a couple of explosive moments, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds, while Matthews showcased his toughness and scored eight points.
As is to be expected with a preseason opener, the game was sloppy and not well executed as both teams looked to adjust to new teammates and get their chemistry in order. Both teams shot an identical 35.7% from the field and while the Lakers committed 17 turnovers, they were able to force 25 from the Clippers.
The Lakers weren’t able to leave the game completely unscathed however, as Alex Caruso did not see the floor in the second half after injuring his hip flexor in the second quarter. The injury is believed to be minor and shouldn’t affect him in any major way moving forward.
What’s next for Lakers
The Lakers again take on the Clippers in their second preseason game, Sunday at 5 p.m. PT. There is no word on whether LeBron James, Anthony Davis, or the other other Lakers who sat out the opener will be available for the second contest.
The game will be broadcast on Spectrum SportsNet as well as ESPN.
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