You can’ win them all, as the saying goes. After beating the Golden State Warriors in their three previous matchups, the Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Warriors 124-103 in their preseason finale at the Chase Center in San Francisco.
However their biggest loss wasn’t reflected in the final score.
In the first quarter of Friday’s game, Alex Caruso suffered an injury that he tried to shake off but ultimately couldn’t play through.
Alex Caruso has a bone contusion, pelvis; X-rays were negative. He will not return tonight, and will undergo additional testing when the team returns to L.A.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 19, 2019
X-ray negative means no fractures. Team will likely use additional testing for check for bone bruise (aka microtrabecular fracture) https://t.co/tcXc3qaEYh— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) October 19, 2019
“He’s a little stiff right now,” head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Spectrum Sportsnet after the game. “We’ll just evaluate him when we get back to L.A. and see where he’s at.”
With the Lakers’ stars and veteran supporting cast already resting for the evening, Caruso’s injury only made things more tough on Vogel.
Despite not being able to come away with the win, a few players made the most of their minutes, like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored a preseason-high 25 points on 53.3% percent shooting from the field, including 50% shooting from 3-point territory. Prior to Friday night’s game, Caldwell-Pope was struggling from the field.
Zach Norvell Jr. also showed off his offensive upside again, scoring 29 points. If Caruso isn’t ready to for the Lakers’ regular season opener on Tuesday, Norvell could stay with the senior team.
Starting Tuesday, every game the Lakers play will be part of their quest to end their seven-year playoff drought, which is tied for the third-longest active postseason drought in the NBA.
As Lakers fans learned last year, there is no such thing as a guaranteed playoff spot — not even when you have LeBron James on your team. It’s especially not a sure thing in the Western Conference, where the projected “playoff bubble” teams include the San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks.
That being said, it’s hard not to get excited about a team featuring James and Davis, arguably two of the top-10 players in the NBA and easily two of the top-three players at their respective positions. There will be bumps and bruises along the way — both literally and figuratively speaking — but as long as the injuries don’t get out of hand, the Lakers will be in a good position to punch their ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2013.
It’s been a long time coming, but it promises to be worth the wait. Now, the shot clock is running.