Talen Horton-Tucker lit up the Clippers in the Lakers’ second straight preseason win over their crosstown rivals, and LeBron James loved it.
The Lakers have retooled magnificently this past offseason, adding strength to an already championship-winning roster. All of their additions are arguably upgrades over who they previously had there. The likes of Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell are all better than the players they replaced.
The Lakers would be prohibitive favorites in most people’s books right now. Their displays in the first 2 games of preseason do nothing to change that impression.
Their bench strength came to the fore in this game, particularly in the form of Talen Horton-Tucker. The youngster, in only his second season in the league, will be looking to earn himself more minutes next season.
LeBron James and his reaction to Talen Horton-Tucker making a 3-pointer
The Lakers gave extended runs to their guys at the end of the bench. Talen Horton-Tucker took full advantage of the 42 minutes he got on court as the primary scorer. He lit up the Clippers to devastating effect.
Horton-Tucker finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, stamping his authority on the game. The Lakers had a 10-point lead in the first quarter, and they never relinquished it after that.
After Talen Horton-Tucker drained another 3 to give him 31 points and counting, LeBron James got up from the bench and yelled “Stop it! Stop it!” in disbelief and then took off his mask and spiked it on his seat to punctuate his pleasure with the 2nd year player.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 14, 2020
— The Jump on ESPN (@NBATheJump) December 14, 2020
James’s reaction is indicative of the amount of faith and love he has for the youngster. Such compliments from a GOAT candidate are life-changing for many players.
The Lakers would be hoping that Horton-Tucker continues in the same vein through the course of the upcoming season. A problem of plenty is never too bad a problem to have. The Lakers might just have that given how many players can stake their claim for playing time.