It now seems a distant memory from the time that the experts and the analysts declared earlier in the season that the Los Angeles Lakers simply did not have what it takes to go all the way this year. Needless to say, the Lakers just proved all their doubters wrong, and for his part, Alex Caruso turns to be one that is not easy to forget.

In his post-game interview, Caruso gave his thoughts on L.A.’s many detractors early on:

“I don’t think a lot of people thought we could do it,” Caruso said, via Ryan Ward. “A lot of people picked some other teams in the West. A couple teams in the East. Said we didn’t have enough role players. Said LeBron was too old.”

We see no lies here. Even throughout the playoffs, more than a few folks still doubted the Lakers’ ability to win the title. It wasn’t until the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated that the same experts and analysts picked the Lakers as the favorites. But even then, the criticism did not end.

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Nonetheless, that’s all water under the bridge now, and for Caruso, he’s just happy to be part of history now.

When asked what he believes was one of the most important factors in L.A.’s historic title run, the 26-year-old had a straightforward answer:

“Defense wins championships,” Caruso added. “That’s not some BS. That’s a real thing.”

Caruso was huge for the Lakers on Sunday, following head coach Frank Vogel’s decision to insert him into the starting lineup. While he did not light up the box score, the energy and hustle he brought played a key role in the championship-clinching win.