Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso made a key play on the defense in the final possession of the game and the Purple and Gold beat the Boston Celtics 96-95. After Celtics guard Kemba Walker blocked Anthony Davis with 10 seconds left to go in the game, he had a great chance to go down the court and make a layup but Caruso made an intelligent play and prevented him.
"One of the best defensive plays of the year," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said after Caruso saved L.A. down the stretch by breaking up a golden opportunity for the Celtics. "Once the ball popped up in the air, regardless if we were going to get it back or not, I was kind of making my way back on defense just because that's kind of what we teach ourselves to do," Caruso said afterward.
Caruso praised by LeBron James and Anthony Davis
Lakers superstars James and Davis gave credit to Caruso for stepping up in the clutch moments to help the Lakers beat the Celtics. "Any time you have a turnover, you just want to have a quick twitch to try and get back and recover the play.
That's exactly what we did," James said. "It started with AC getting back, and all of us just sort of formed a wall." Coach Vogel dropped more praise on Caruso's name. "That's part of what the 'Play Harder Than Your Opponent' identity is," Vogel said.
"Whose team defends harder. Whose team is running the floor offensively. Who's sprinting back harder defensively. The sprint versus jog mindset." Meanwhile, Davis said of Caruso: "He's a smart player. He's not the highest paid or [doesn't] have all the accolades or credentials.
A lot of people don't notice him. But he plays the right way. He locks up defensively, makes tough shots, scrappy." Caruso said he is just a competitive guy that gives his all every game. "I'm a really, really competitive guy, and the end of the game is when it matters most," Caruso said.
"So I don't really care too much about starting, points, stats. I care a lot about winning. The fourth quarter, end of the game, is winning time. "A lot of times, coming out of timeouts, I'll just say that: 'It's winning time.'
I'll go to one player, say it out loud. Kind of let everybody lock in and let everybody know what's going on. For me, that's my favorite part of the game."