Los Angeles Lakers: 3 keys that will win or lose the game vs. Clippers

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers /

1. Alex Caruso’s impact on the perimeter defense

Now, this is not going to boil down completely to Alex Caruso but he is going to be an important defensive player on the perimeter, especially against the Los Angeles Clippers, who have two elite wings as their biggest threats.

The Lakers’ defense has not looked the same without Avery Bradley in the three scrimmages. The team has been inefficient in pick and rolls and the perimeter defense has been lacking. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope does not look great and Danny Green has looked rather low-effort, although that will be better once the games matter.

Caruso is the one defensive player that can bridge that gap that is left without Bradley. While he is not lethal in scoring the basketball, he has quietly been one of the most efficient defensive players in the league this season.

Green is going to guard one of the two wings and Caruso is going to likely going to spend a fair amount of his time on the court guarding the other. This allows LeBron James to slide into his role as a help defender while maintaining Anthony Davis’ presence around the basket.

Barring a much better showing from someone such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Lakers are going to need Caruso’s defense to win.