Before All-Star forward Anthony Davis joined the Lakers during a trade last summer, he “didn’t know much about” Alex Caruso.
The more the two play together, Davis said the 6-5 wing player is “surprising me every day with his ability.”
“He always seems to make the right play, and he always tends to be in the right position at the right time all the time,” Davis said of the crowd favorite. “He’s tough, big guard, finishes well and shoots well. He reads the defense well. He can defend anybody one through three. He’s gonna lock ’em up.”
Caruso’s defense in the fourth quarter of a 118-109 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night proved pivotal for the Lakers. He blocked a shot by Lonzo Ball that went off the Pelicans’ guard’s back and out of bounds.
The crowd and Caruso’s teammates went wild as Ball was sent sprawling to the court.
Thirty-six seconds later, Caruso stole the ball from Ball and scored while being fouled by JJ Redick.
Caruso made the free throw for a three-point play that gave the Lakers a five-point lead and the momentum they needed to hold off the Pelicans.
“Yeah, it got us going,” Davis said about Caruso’s blocked shot on Ball. “I think we scored on that play. Then he came down and gets a steal and score on that play, he got an and-1. It’s things like that about AC that goes unnoticed We want to make sure that we give him all the credit. He’s a guy that came in from day one, know his role.
“Some games if [Rajon] Rondo has it going, he [Caruso] don’t see the floor as much but he always remains a professional and comes in the following game or if he gets thrown to the fire and comes in and does what he’s supposed to do.”
Caruso scored all eight of his points in that fourth quarter.
He had two rebounds and two assists as well as the block and steal in the final quarter.
“Yeah, I’m a big energy guy, as anybody who has seen us play can attest to,” Caruso said after Tuesday night’s game. “And obviously every time we’re in Staples, they love me. I love playing here. So it’s really easy, just a good give and take. They give great energy. I give great energy. We just kind of bounce off each other.”