The Los Angeles Lakers racked up another win on Thursday night, this time coming in the form of a 116-105 victory against the Charlotte Hornets.
The Lakers controlled the first half as they executed well on both ends, taking a 15-point lead into half time. Charlotte managed to tie the game up in the third quarter because of Los Angeles’ lack of focus, but the latter eventually turned things around and took control midway through the final period to secure their fourth consecutive win.
Charlotte has exciting guards in LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Devonte Graham, so it was good for the Lakers that Alex Caruso was able to return after missing the past couple of nights with a concussion.
Caruso was key in the Lakers’ victory, playing his normal brand of hard-nosed defense and giving the team a lift when they needed it. He detailed postgame how he felt immediately after banging his head against the Indian Pacers.
“I think it looked more gruesome than it actually was,” Caruso said. “I lost the ball and ran into somebody. I can’t remember who it was. I hit my head, obviously, pretty hard on the floor. I had a nice little bruise and cut on the back of my head and just basically had a pretty bad headache, migraine for the next 48 hours or so.
“I didn’t forget who I was. I didn’t feel nauseous or have sensitivity to light and stuff like that. It was just a pretty bad headache and that’s why I think I got back as quickly as I did. Once that subsided, I went through a couple steps of the protocol and got cleared.”
The point guard was bringing the ball down in transition when he momentarily lost control of the ball and fell to the floor, hitting his head against the hardwood. Upon replay it looked like he had seriously injured his head, but fortunately it was nothing more than a mild concussion.
Caruso was seen later running sprints prior to the team’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and head coach Frank Vogel noted then that he was on track to play against the Hornets. Having Caruso back in the lineup helped the Purple and Gold play their normal elite-level defense against Charlotte and they will need him again when they take on Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
Caruso critical of performance against Hornets
Missing even a couple of games can throw a player’s rhythm off, and for Caruso it was no different as he finished the night with only five points on 1-of-7 shooting. The guard admitted he could have played better.
“I was a little rusty, obviously,” Caruso said. “I missed a couple of easy shots. Layups and a couple open shots I usually make. To be honest, this is my first game in two weeks because I played seven minutes in that first game and I haven’t played since before the All-Star break and I didn’t play in the last game in Sacramento.
“This is really my first time playing in a game in a while. I was a little winded. My legs were getting a little heavy and a little winded, but I looked at my minutes, which was like 23. It’s about what I play in the regular season, game by game. First game back, I thought I did pretty well with the minutes I got.”
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