After guard Alex Caruso was sidelined with foot soreness in the first quarter, the Lakers were without a playmaker against the New York Knicks. Yet, the undermanned Lakers have a next-man-up mentality. This helped them win 101-99 over the Knicks.
Young guard Talen Horton-Tucker stepped up in overtime, scoring the game-winning three point shot after making a costly turnover, the 20th turnover for the team.
“I was more concerned about the turnover that I just had,” Horton-Tucker said about the winning play. “I was trying to make up for it. Just being in that position, I felt like why not? The opportunity presented itself.”
He made the game-winner over NBA great Derrick Rose, a fellow Chicago native that Horton-Tucker looked up to when he was growing up. Rose forced that final turnover that Horton-Tucker made.
“He had a young-player type of night with a lot of ‘good play’ ‘bad play’ situations, in particular, down the stretch,” said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. “I love that he just kept his poise, he didn’t get down on himself, he remained confident.”
Horton-Tucker finished the night with a double-double: 13 points and 10 assists. He was one of four Lakers players to score in the double digits.
Forward Wesley Matthews made the quintessential shot that put the Lakers into overtime. He cleaned up a missed three pointer by guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope; the Lakers scored 16 second chance points in the matchup.
“With the game on the line, there’s no point in me being back there behind the three-point line,” Matthews said. “I’ll mix it up with anybody.”
Center Andre Drummond also earned a double-double with 16 points and 18 rebounds. Drummond noted that he “finally felt normal” while competing.
“It’s been two months since I played and I’m on a new team trying to figure out a new role,” he said. “These games are just games I’m taking to really figure it out and find my place.”
He and guard Ben McLemore are finding their footing on the team through games; through this, they are finding ways for the team to excel. Matthews mentioned how “throwing them in the fire” has been the secret to their success.
“Honestly, it’s been on the job training for almost everybody in this organization this season,” he said. “[McLemore] is a tremendous shooter and [Drummond] is a unique talent who can do a lot of things on the defensive end and cause havoc on the offensive end.”
As injury issues have become commonplace in the Lakers lineup this season, players are competing with desperation.
“It’s good that everyone is getting confidence, guys are staying ready when their number is called,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said. “[Matthews] has been playing huge past couple games for us … big plays after big plays, we’re excited about our group.”
The Lakers play their final home game of the season on May 12 at 7:30 P.M.