The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the L.A. Clippers 87-81 in their first preseason game even without the help of All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
However, the victory came with what’s considered a minor injury as Alex Caruso suffered a strained hip flexor and after initially returning, did not play in the second half. Caruso finished with three points and a steal in 10 minutes, impressing with his defensive play as usual.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel reiterated the injury was not serious, although Caruso will miss the second preseason clash with the Clippers on Sunday. “He’s still sore. He just have a hip flexor strain,” Vogel said.
“He did not practice [Saturday] and will not play [Sunday]. But they don’t believe it’s going to be any further than that, so hopefully he will be back for Tuesday’s practice and play in the Phoenix games.”
Players’ health was one of the main concerns amid the league’s prompt return, only eight weeks after the end of the 2020 NBA Finals. Vogel and James previously hinted the Lakers could utilize load management throughout the regular season to minimize the risk of injuries.
Despite Caruso’s injury, Friday’s game made for a solid start of the preseason for L.A. Talen Horton-Tucker impressed after receiving high praise from Vogel earlier this week, scoring game-high 19 points and adding nine rebounds in a sloppy contest between two local rivals.
Former Clipper Montrezl Harrell notched a double-double against his old team, ending the night with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Harrell didn’t help Patrick Beverley up in Clippers win
Interestingly, Harrell refused to help his former teammate Patrick Beverley off the floor after a collision during the game. However, there was no bad blood between the two players as the Clippers guard seemed amused by the situation.
Harrell and Beverley then exchanged pleasantries on Twitter following the game. Harrell also said Beverley and Lou Williams were the only Clippers he spoke to before the matchup, citing their long history. Harrell otherwise was adamant his focus was on winning.
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