One of the unsung heroes for the Los Angeles Lakers all season has been Alex Caruso, who was just playing in the G League one year ago. Caruso has become a fan-favorite in L.A. due to how hard he plays, his defensive instincts and ability to fit perfectly alongside LeBron James.
The 26-year-old isn’t known for his scoring ability but still finds a way to positively impact games on a nightly basis and is a big reason why the Lakers have a 1-0 lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.
With the Lakers inching closer to their ultimate goal, Caruso has further locked in. “For me it’s about being focused. I’ve tried to really simplify that process for me, being in the bubble, there’s as little distractions as possible,” he said.
“I’ve been off social media since the playoffs started. I haven’t been on Twitter or Instagram or anything like that, which has been nice for me to block stuff out and focus on the basketball aspect.
“Then looking and diving into the basketball aspect, series-by-series, just finding different ways that I know I can be effective, watching past games against opponents, just knowing their tendencies. And then just the defense and the effort thing is something I’m always going to have. You can see that in the regular season when I might be more excited on a stop or defensive play than somebody on the rest of the team in game 45 or 50 in the season.
“Now that it’s heightened and literally everybody is playing every possession like that, it’s a lot of fun for me just on that side of the ball. Like I said, offensively, just taking advantage of the defense’s mistakes. LeBron and A.D. get so much attention and everybody game plans for them, and they are supposed to.
“First Team All-NBA, best-players-in-the-world kind of thing. So for me, it’s about trying to find my way to take advantage of how the defense is playing them. That happened a couple times last night with people showing on ball screens with LeBron where I either hit him on a pocket pass or I drove the lane because there was a crease open. It’s about being opportunistic whenever the plays present themselves and I’ve just got to be ready to take advantage.”
It is clear that this Lakers team is as focused as ever as they look to earn the organization’s 17th championship. That is a credit to the players, as well as the coaching staff, for not letting them lose track of the task at hand.
James remaining on social media to talk with family
Caruso getting off social media is taking a page out of James’ book as the star is famous for doing that on a yearly basis whenever the postseason starts.
He is changing things up this year, however, as James needs to be on his phone to remain in contact with his family members that aren’t in Orlando.
“I have to continue to check in on my family every single day. Checking in with my mom, making sure everything is still going well,” James explained. “So I can’t afford to do that and just lose direct contact with everybody, but I’ll be as locked in as I can be under the circumstances.
“I won’t cheat my teammates, I won’t cheat our fans and I won’t cheat myself. I’ll be ready to go.”
Even though James isn’t going “Zero Dark Thirty-23” this year, it is clear that he is as motivated as ever to bring the trophy back to L.A.
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