While the Los Angeles Lakers are limping to the finish line of the regular season, their South Bay Lakers affiliate is roaring through the G League playoffs. Because of a rash of injuries, the parent team has been forced to tap into South Bay’s depth.
As such, the likes of Thomas Bryant, Alex Caruso, Gary Payton II and Travis Wear have each spent a portion of the season balancing time with the Lakers and South Bay. That’s picked up within the past week, and Thursday will see more of the same.
After spending Wednesday with the Lakers, Caruso and Wear will return to the G League for a matchup with the Austin Toros in the Western Conference Finals. “They’ve got a game to win. We’re sending all of ’em,” Walton said.
“We’re going to play the guys that we need to play, they’ll get on a plane and then Coby Karl will play the guys he needs.”
Wear was with South Bay on Tuesday, while Caruso played for the Lakers against the Utah Jazz. They both were with the team Wednesday, though only Caruso appeared against the San Antonio Spurs. And though he started, Caruso logged just 19 minutes.
“We’ll bring them back Friday and make them play again, unless the NBA calls and says there’s a rule against four games in four days,” Walton quipped.
Caruso previously was destined for a heavy workload that would’ve amounted to playing three games in three days. But an injury to Lonzo Ball influenced the Lakers to retain their two-way player over the weekend and give him a day off between games.