For the entirety of a four-game road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers were without one of the most important pieces of their rotation in guard Alex Caruso. His absence began prior to that stretch, as Caruso missed a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
The Lakers did not provide any further details, and many initially assumed Caruso had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). However, the league announced shortly after that no player had tested positive over a range of dates that applied to Caruso’s situation.
Following his return to the court, Caruso finally cleared the air on exactly what happened, explaining he had come in contact with someone who tested positive. Caruso explained a person he has a long relationship with and trusts briefly visited his home, and contact tracing required the five-game absence.
Caruso was sorely missed by the Lakers as he is a major energy boost off the bench and arguably the team’s best perimeter defender. That was further heightened when the team lost Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a sprained ankle, making the backcourt rotation even more thin.
For his part, Caruso immediately made an impact upon his return, knocking down a pair of 3s to help the Lakers get back in their game against the San Antonio Spurs. Caruso finished with eight points and three rebounds, but unfortunately was unable to push the Lakers into the win column.
Anthony Davis says the Lakers must be better defensively to defend championship
The main area where Caruso will help the Lakers is on the defensive end, but that didn’t bear out in his return game against the Spurs. The team’s defense was not up to par and gave up a season-high in points, causing Anthony Davis to be hypercritical of their effort.
“We messed up our coverages,” Davis said following the loss. “We didn’t do what we were supposed to do, so we couldn’t even tell if our defensive scheme worked for a stretch 5. … We’ve got to be better with our defensive schemes coming out of the gate.
“We’ve just got to be better in our coverages.”
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