HONOLULU — Talen Horton-Tucker hit his first three shots — a 14-foot jumper followed by two 3-pointers — in the first couple minutes of the Utah Jazz’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

After that third shot, a Clippers fan decked out in team-themed gear, shouted out from behind the Clippers basket.

“You can’t stay hot all night, Talen,” the fan yelled.

But, seated nearby were some of the Jazz’s family members.

“Yes he can, and I know because I’m his mama!” Shirley Horton yelled back. 

That’s an interaction that is not at all surprising to Horton-Tucker who said his mom is his biggest fan, and she’s the first one to trash talk to have his back, whether that’s at a professional basketball game or around a card table while playing Spades.

“I expect nothing less than her to be cheering really loud or saying something, talking trash,” Horton-Tucker said, a grin across his face.

Related
Kris Dunn’s second-half heroics stand out in Jazz’s first preseason game

The problem was that even though the Jazz players, coaches and staff all had significant others or family members with them on the trip, they were still outnumbered in a sold-out SimpliFi Arena at the University of Hawaii.

Although the preseason NBA game was at a neutral site, Sunday’s game very much felt like a Clippers home game. The Los Angeles-based team was hosting the game as the home team, something they’ve done multiple times in Hawaii, and they brought along their in-arena hosts, mascot and were pumping up the crowd with plenty of Clippers content on the video board above center court.

That being said, the Jazz weren’t without their fans. In addition to the team having multiple family members in the crowd, there were quite a few Jazz jerseys sprinkled throughout the arena and those Jazz fans were loud and proud when their team started to pull ahead.

View Comments

“I was actually shocked,” Kris Dunn said. “We started layup lines and I looked and it was like, wow, there’s a lot of people. Usually you don’t get that in a preseason game. Credit to the fans, they made the atmosphere fun like it was almost a real game. So, definitely got to credit the fans because they’re responsible for making us feel at home.”

After it was all said and done and the Jazz were able to come away with a 101-96 win, most of the Jazz players were happy to spend some extra time taking pictures and signing autographs for the fans that stuck around, even though they spent a good amount of time doing the same before the game started.

Now, it’s off to the next “neutral site.”

The Jazz headed straight to the airport from the arena on Sunday and are en route to Seattle, where the Clippers will once again play host.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.