Lakers’ LeBron James On Alex Caruso: ‘He Just Make Plays’
(Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers — especially LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder — had one of their worst halves of the season in the opening 24 minutes of the Play-In Tournament game against the Golden State Warriors. Even Frank Vogel struggled with his rotations, failing to play guys who made instant impacts in the second half.

Perhaps the only Laker who played well in both halves was Alex Caruso. As is always the case with Caruso, his immense impact did not manifest in the box score. He finished with 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals — hardly a bad performance — but the way he played throughout the game essentially saved the Lakers from a loss.

Vogel was incredibly happy with Caruso’s output on offense and defense, praising him for winning plays. “He was awesome all night long,” Vogel emphasized. “When we were struggling offensively, he was five-for-five in the first half. Making plays, making shots. Defending his tail off and obviously made huge plays down the stretch on both sides of the ball in the second half as well. He’s a champion. He’s one of those guys that just moves the needle correctly and immediately and he had a great performance tonight.”

James, who struggled offensively in the first half, also loved what he saw out of Caruso. “His attention to detail. Very smart. Know what he want to do. Always in the right place in the right time. He just makes plays. Some of them show up in the box score, some of them didn’t, but tonight they definitely showed up in the box score. He pretty much carried us in the first half offensively and we just had to match him in the second half.”

The Play-In Tournament game was a perfect encapsulation of who Caruso is at his best. He can adapt to whatever the team needs him to be, making winning plays left and right. It was arguably his best performance of the season and it could not have come at a better time.

In the postseason, the Lakers are going to need Caruso to be at this level, especially against teams with All-Star caliber point guards like the Phoenix Suns. After the must-win game on Wednesday, it appears he’s ready for the task.

Caruso says Play-In Tournament was a blessing in disguise

Avoiding the Play-In Game altogether could have given the Lakers a full week off. However, Caruso explained why it may have been beneficial to play. “Honestly, having a Play-In Game might be a blessing in disguise for us just because it’s an opportunity for us. I’m tentative to say this, but it wasn’t a win-or-go-home game. We treated it like that, but at the end of the day, if we lost, we would’ve had another game to play in.

“Just being able to go through this experience where it’s basically a do-or-die game and having the new guys feel that mentality. Playing every possession like it’s your last. Being locked in of the ups and downs of the game. Answering back to other team’s runs. Stuff that takes championship DNA and championship mindsets to win. It’s good for them to get their toes wet in that and kind of experience that with us as a team. I think it’s going to be good for us going forward.”

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

2021 NBA Draft: Kai Jones Interviewed With Rob Pelinka & Visited Lakers Practice Facility

The Los Angeles Lakers are less than one week away from having to make a decision on their first-round pick in the upcoming…

Lakers Vs. Blazers Preview: L.A. Hopes To End Long Losing Streak To Portland

The Los Angeles Lakers have looked much better since 2017 started and have won three of their last four games…

Lakers Rumors & News Recap: Team to Bring Back Meeks and Sacre

The Los Angeles Lakers have begun to make moves with the 2013…

Magic Johnson Puts In On-Court Work With Lakers Rookie Brandon Ingram

With the NBA trade deadline now in the rearview, the Los Angeles Lakers will get back to work on the basketball court in preparation for Friday’s game on the road against Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder…