Alex Caruso attempts a layup against the Miami Heat at the California Classic on July 3, 2018.
(Rohan Ali/

Lakers Stumped by Heat at California Classic

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

SACRAMENTO — Moe Wagner isn’t used to losing. In fact, last year his Michigan squad fell just eight times during its run to the NCAA championship game.

So getting “punched in the mouth” in an 89-74 loss to the Miami Heat at the California Classic wasn’t a ton of fun.

“It sucks,” Wagner said. “Yesterday, yeah we played a good game and competed but we lost. Today, same thing. I hate that stuff.”

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After dropping 23 points the night before, Wagner struggled alongside the majority of his teammates. He scored just eight points, shooting 3-of-9 from the field with six fouls and five turnovers.

Even sophomore stud Josh Hart had a game to forget, scoring a single point, missing all four shots from the field and committing four fouls.

Hart — who sat the entire second half — wasn’t originally supposed to play more than one game at the California Classic. But summer league coach Miles Simon liked how he lobbied the front office and coaches for permission to play.

“Josh kinda fought for himself to be able to play, which is great,” Simon said. “We love that about him. That’s why he was a national champion and one of the best college players in the last 10 years or so, and why he’s gonna continue to be an effective player for the Lakers as we go down the line.”

Wagner, Hart and the guys have seemingly been on the court nonstop, as they practiced four times in three days before playing games on back-to-back nights.

But even that pales to Alex Caruso’s last couple days.

The two-way-contract point guard was in Cuba for a game with USA Basketball on Sunday; flew from Miami to Los Angeles on Monday; and finally landed in Sacramento at 8:30 this morning.

Caruso had eight points, four assists and three steals, but also committed six turnovers and four fouls. After a season of shuttling back and forth between the NBA and G League, he wasn’t about to blame his struggles on travel.

“Nothing new,” Caruso said. “It’s pretty much protocol for my schedule.”

Svi Mykhailiuk was the Lakers’ lone bright spot, scoring 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting. … The Heat led by 29 points at the end of the third quarter. … Miami was led by Derrick Jones Jr.’s 21 points, four blocks and three steals.

Scoopty-whoop, whoop-diddy-scoop #LakersSummer

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