Vogel, Horton-Tucker on Alex Caruso after loss to Bulls

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Monday night was not pretty. The Los Angeles Lakers were outclassed by the Chicago Bulls 121-103 at the Staples Center. Once Anthony Davis was ejected, all hope was lost. It also did not help that the Bulls shot 55% from the field. DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Lonzo Ball combined for 91 points. The two Bruins and Trojan returned to Los Angeles and put on a show. However, the worst part of the night was seeing Alex Caruso in the red and white colors.

The wound is still fresh. The departure of Caruso this off-season hasn’t been an easy pill to swallow. With reports that the Lakers were thinking of the luxury tax implications when offering Caruso a contract makes it even worse. LeBron James’ title window with the Lakers is coming to a close and one of the most valuable franchises in sports could not afford the bill? Pathetic.

Head coach Frank Vogel had nothing but great things to say about his former player before the game. He was not shy in saying Caruso is one of his favorite players he has coached.

Caruso was an instrumental part of Vogel’s championship run in 2020. He did enough in Vogel’s first two years to leave a lasting impression. If it was difficult for the fan base to see, I can’t imagine how Vogel was feeling watching Caruso help the Bulls beat the Lakers. While Caruso didn’t score any points, he did finish with five rebounds and six assists. He just does all the intangibles so well, the Lakers could surely use a player like that on their roster.

During the game, the Lakers did give Caruso a hero’s welcome. A beautiful tribute video was played for Caruso during a timeout and it did not disappoint.

It’s hard not to get emotional when watching that video. Caruso has earned the respect of his peers and fans because he had to take the long route to the NBA. The undrafted guard out of Texas A&M had to prove himself in the Summer League and with the South Bay Lakers before he even got a chance to contribute to a championship.

One of the Lakers’ bright spots against the Bulls was Talen Horton-Tucker, who started in his second game back from injury. He finished with 28 points, but the reunion with Caruso was bitter-sweet.

While his performance came in a loss, Horton-Tucker admitted it was fun to play against his former teammate. He also mentioned he was happy for Caruso financially, who signed his first significant contract of his career with the Bulls. THT also was a recipient of a new contract this off-season, so they will have to figure out who will pick up the check when they go out to dinner.

All in all, the reunion with Caruso was great for both parties. However, it was even sweeter for Caruso who walked away with the win.

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