Utah Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker dunks against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C.
Chris Carlson, Associated Press
CHARLOTTE — As Talen Horton-Tucker exited the court on Saturday night, a smattering of Utah Jazz fans crowded around the visiting team tunnel in Charlotte and chanted, “T.H.T! T.H.T!”
The Jazz guard had just scored 37 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed nine rebounds, coming just a single rebound shy of his first triple-double and the Jazz fans in attendance weren’t going to let him leave the building without showing some love.
The NBA stats crew, after a postgame review, rescinded one of Horton-Tucker’s rebounds shortly after the game concluded, so he actually ended up two rebounds short of the elusive Jazz regular-season triple-double, but that didn’t take away from what he did to help push the Jazz to a 119-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets.
Though the Jazz also had help with a huge 17-point, 16-rebound outing from rookie Walker Kessler and other contributions across the roster, the Jazz wouldn’t have been able to even sniff a win if it hadn’t been for Horton-Tucker.
“Very clearly the story of the game is Talen Horton-Tucker,” Jazz head coach Will Hardy said. “I am incredibly hard on Talen, I have been all season. He knows that is because I believe in him; in his talent and his ability. He’s still young — he just turned 22 — and he has some real physical gifts that were on display tonight.”
From his ability to drive and finish through contact and how he switches directions and spins in the lane to get into an open seam, to his ability to draw the defense into the paint and find an open man out on the perimeter or crash in and use his abnormally lengthy wingspan to grab rebounds, Horton-Tucker was doing it all on Saturday night and he was doing it effectively and efficiently when the Jazz desperately needed it.
The Jazz’s leading scorer and breakout star of the season, Lauri Markkanen, was struggling to score on baskets that are usually easy money. But against the Hornets, nothing seemed to be going in.
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Source:: Deseret News – Sports News