With the Los Angeles Lakers lacking depth as the close of the regular season nears, the likes of Alex Caruso, Johnathan Williams and Moritz Wagner have received more playing time of late. To their credit, the trio has rewarded head coach Luke Walton for his faith.
They helped lead an inspired comeback effort in an eventual loss to the Denver Nuggets, and contributed three days later against the Boston Celtics, though again in a losing effort. On Thursday, Caruso was one of the few Lakers who played well.
Caruso scored a team-high 14 points on 5-for-5 shooting in the first half en route to finishing with a career-high 16 points in the Lakers’ 111-98 loss to the Raptors.
Caruso attributed the performance to the Raptors focusing their defensive attention elsewhere, which allowed him to get into a rhythm, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I mean, first half they just weren’t guarding me, you know. Like, I was just taking layups, cutting off LeBron. They gave him a lot of attention, so I was just playing off of that. And then the three is just an open shot in transition; shoot those every day. I found a rhythm by making layups and just staying aggressive.”
Caruso only had two shot attempts in the second half, which was a byproduct of the Raptors beginning to key in on him but also Walton going to other players as the Lakers attempted to earn a comeback win.
With Walton looking for various combinations to provide energy and consistent effort, Caruso has logged at least 27 minutes in three of the past four games.