It might not be pretty, but the Los Angeles Lakers are finding a way to win.
Trailing by ten points to the New York Knicks with 7:39 to play in regulation, the Lakers rallied to force an overtime period, setting the scene for Talen Horton-Tucker to be the hero.
Down 99-98, Horton-Tucker dribbled around an Anthony Davis screen on the left wing, before pulling up and drilling the go-ahead bomb with 21.1 seconds remaining. The Knicks would have an opportunity to win or tie the game, but a messy final possession ended in an R.J. Barrett three that ultimately missed, giving the Lakers the win.
"He's got big guts, I can say that. He showed that with that shot," Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters.
TALEN. HORTON. TUCKER.- NBA (@NBA) May 12, 2021
The @Lakers guard buries the game-winning triple in OT! #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/n4DJ1ncLm9
It was the second straight win for the Lakers, who move to within 1.0 game of the Dallas Mavericks in the six seed.
"We know the position we're in and we're playing desperate," Davis said postgame.
Still without LeBron James, Davis is carrying a major load, playing 43 minutes against the Knicks, tallying 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal. It wasn't the most efficient night for the superstar big man, with an 8-for-23 shooting mark indicative of the team's scoring struggles.
The 28-year-old didn't get through the night unscathed, admitting groin tightness hampered him as the night went on. Davis was heavily limping for stretches in overtime, but said he wanted to play on given the seeding implications the team faces.
"Not sure about tomorrow. Gonna get treatment and see how it feels," Davis said of the Lakers meeting with the Houston Rockets tomorrow.
The grind it out win should not have come as a surprise, with the matchup pitting two of the best defensive teams in the league against each other.
|ORTG (League Rank)||DRTG (League Rank)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||109.4 (24th)||106.6 (1st)|
|New York Knicks||110.2 (23rd)||107.4 (4th)|
JULIUS RANDLE IS A PRIMETIME PLAYER pic.twitter.com/BXrWydXmW1- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) May 12, 2021
The game was a missed opportunity for New York, who now slip into a three-way tie with the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat with a 38-31 record.
All-Star Julius Randle had an opportunity to end the game in regulation, with a floater in the lane hitting back iron, leaving the game all square.
"I had a chance to finish the job and I didn't finish the job," Randle said. "I'm looking at myself. Put it on me."
The difference between fourth and sixth seed would be massive for the Knicks, with home court in the first round the reward for the No. 4 seed, while the No. 6 seed would leave them on the road in Game 1 against either the Milwaukee Bucks or Brooklyn Nets.
New York finish the regular season with three games at Madison Square Garden against the San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics.
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