LeBron James’ presence eased Alex Caruso’s ‘anxiety’ inside the bubble
On the latest episode of New Orleans Pelicans guard J.J. Redick’s podcast called “The Old Man and The Three,” Los Angeles Lakers guard and fan-favorite Alex Caruso talked about how LeBron James helped him get over his anxiety in the bubble when it came to how the team was playing on the court.
The Lakers, after locking up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, took their foot off the gas pedal in the remaining seeding games before the playoffs started. Then, Los Angeles lost Game 1 of their first-round matchup to the Portland Trail Blazers, so Caruso was wondering when the club was going to flip the switch and start playing up to their potential.
“After we won the first game against the Clippers in the bubble, I think the human nature of, ‘Alright, we locked up the No. 1 seed, we’re going to rest some guys, we’re going to make sure we’re all healthy going in.’ But for me, I’m a play every game, play every minute the same way kind of guy. For me, on the inside, I was having some anxiety,” Lakers guard Alex Caruso said, via Lakers Nation.
The Lakers rattled off four wins in a row to defeat the Blazers in the first round, but then the Purple and Gold reverted back to their poor habits in the Western Conference Semifinals by losing Game 1 to the Houston Rockets.
Once again, Caruso was wondering if the team was really going to accomplish its goal of winning the title. Fortunately for Caruso, he knew he ultimately couldn’t count out LeBron James.
“Then I was like, ‘I’m not going to bet against the No. 23 on my team to be ready to go.’ There was a little bit — on my part, at least — a little hesitation like, ‘Are we going to be ready to play?’
The Lakers took out the Rockets in five games, defeated the Denver Nuggets in the conference finals in five games, and then wrapped up their magical season by winning the championship over the Miami Heat in six games, with James winning his fourth title and fourth Finals MVP award.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Lakers got the job done, thanks in large part to the efforts of James and Anthony Davis.