Lakers’ sensation Alex Caruso continued his climb from cult hero to actual contributor with yet another excellent performance against the Nets. Seeing some action in the first half as opposed to second-half garbage time, Caruso provided the Lakers with a steady hand in the backcourt and did a little bit of everything. Despite an errant pass towards the end of the game that led to the game-sealing turnover, Caruso’s overall contribution to the game was incredibly positive.
Lakers’ Alex Caruso Posts Huge Stat Line in China Preseason Game vs. Nets
Finishing with 11 points, two rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and a block in only 22 minutes of play, Caruso had himself an efficient night (or morning) stuffing the stat sheet. While he struggled a bit shooting the ball, Caruso was able to have a positive impact on the game and shined as the facilitator.
Coming off a stellar end of last season that saw him average 17.2/4/8/8.4 in the month of April, Caruso seems to have picked up his strong play where he left it off. While not needed to shoulder the scoring load he did last year once the Lakers’ roster was decimated by injury, he seems much more comfortable running the offense and seems to consistently make the right play.
Caruso’s ability to play either on or off the ball at the guard spots helps give the Lakers some flexibility with regards to their lineup. Able to play him alongside almost anyone in the Lakers’ backcourt, Caruso gives the Lakers the ability to put some unique looks defensively. A larger point guard, Caruso is capable of manning point if the Lakers want size on the court or switching over to shooting guard should they opt to go with a smaller lineup and want another point guard on the floor.
Should Caruso continue his strong play through the rest of the preseason, it would be tough to envision a scenario where he isn’t playing (at the very least) a major role for the Lakers off the bench.
Lakers Fall Apart Late in Loss to Nets
While the Lakers were able to keep the game exciting for the better part of the matchup, they simply were unable to keep pace with the Nets’ offense as the game wore on. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo, and Alex Caruso all had great nights for the purple and gold, though unfortunately, the strong performances weren’t enough to overcome the three-point barrage from the Nets.
In the Lakers’ defense, they were playing mostly bench players whereas the Nets closed the game out using DeAndre Jordan, Rodons Kurucs, and a number of other key contributors to the lineup.
The Lakers got close and actually tied the game up with 28 seconds to go before stealing the inbound pass. Unfortunately, Demetrius Jackson couldn’t convert the layup at the other end and the Lakers wound up missing their chance at a game-winning shot when David Nwaba stepped in to break up a pass from Caruso.
Undoubtedly a disappointing loss after such a strong opener against the Warriors, though the Lakers have a shot at redemption as they face the Nets again on the 12th.