The Los Angeles Lakers are just two games away from winning their first championship in ten years. They have been on a historically dominant run all postseason, having lost just three of their 17 games thus far. That’s mainly been a symptom of their two superstars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, carrying the load but they have been consistently receiving major contributions from their role players as well.
One of those significant other pieces has been Alex Caruso. The Lakers’ backup guard has been a huge piece especially defensively with his effort and hustle and has been a big part of the Lakers’ defense against Heat weapons Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson in the Finals. In game two on Friday, Caruso recorded yet another steal, raising his total to 20 for the 2020 NBA Playoffs. In fact, Caruso became the eighth player these playoffs to rack up 20 steals and the only one to do so off the bench.
Another fun stat per Lakers PR:
"Alex Caruso has tallied 20 steals in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, becoming the eighth player to tally at least 20 steals this postseason and the only player to do so off the bench."
— Finals Faigen (@hmfaigen) October 3, 2020
Caruso’s defensive ability has been a major asset for the Lakers all year long and it’s been showing out in a big way all postseason. The Lakers’ defense has been 7.6 points per 100 possessions better when Caruso has been on the floor as opposed to on the bench. On top of the solid guarding, Caruso has routinely made big plays in passing lanes, creating turnovers and fastbreak opportunities that the Lakers have feasted on all playoffs long.
Caruso turned into a bit of a meme all year long because of his appearance and Lakers’ fans affinity for their homegrown talent. But he’s been anything but that for the Lakers during this incomprehensible run. Few players on this roster have made as much of a mark on the team as he has.