Despite a dominant Anthony Davis performance down the stretch, the Los Angeles Lakers fell, 106-101, to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night in what was a crucial game for the standings.
Even though they were on the road for the second game of a back-to-back, the Lakers looked like they might have been able to steal a win. The game ultimately came down to several plays in the fourth quarter where the ball bounced in favor of the Trail Blazers.
Alex Caruso, who had one of his best games of the season, noted that the game felt like the postseason.
“It felt playoff intensity out there,” Caruso said. “Coming down the stretch in the fourth quarter. Dame hitting big shots, us making big plays. AD looked like himself making defensive plays we’re used to seeing him make. All and all, a great basketball game for the third-party viewer, but obviously for us, I wish we could’ve made one or two more plays.”
Los Angeles played about as well as one could help given the circumstances, but Caruso admitted that the loss stung. “There’s no moral victory here,” Caruso said.
“We’re trying to get better as a team. That’s something that Frank [Vogel] has talked about, something we’ve talked about as a team, but we play the game to win. We don’t show up in the game and it’s like, ‘Alright, let’s play hard tonight,’ and if we lose, ‘Ah, it’s okay.’
“Our team was a little gutted after this because we felt like I said, we played hard enough, played well enough for most of the night to compete and win on the road against a playoff team. We take everything into the big picture and obviously, we’re down a couple guys, but I think we have enough to win games like I said after last game. For us, it’s just about continuing to build. We got to compete and keep trying to win games.”
The Lakers played well enough to win this game, but a few questionable calls and a couple of mental lapses in the closing minutes would prove to be the difference. It was encouraging from a fan’s perspective to see the Lakers put together a defensive effort as they did against the Blazers, and that should be something they can hang their hat on.
Caruso played through foot injury
Caruso got the start against Portland but was not guaranteed to finish the game due to a foot contusion. The guard explained the injury and how he felt after playing the Blazers. “I think it was mostly just bruising in my right foot,” Caruso explained. “It was pretty painful after the [Los Angeles] Clippers game and then traveling last night.
“It got a little better overnight with some rest and treatment. Then today it was still pretty sore, but I was kind of hoping adrenaline to carry me through a little bit through the game, which I think it did. There were times where it popped up and was a little more sore than others, but I made it through.”
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