Alex Caruso
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

James, Caruso Guide Lakers To 6th Straight Win

by Rodrigo Azurmendi
Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES – Bonnie and Clyde. Starsky & Hutch. The King and His Freshness.

LeBron James and Alex Caruso were instrumental in keeping the winning streak alive as the Lakers held on to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night in STAPLES Center.

The duo was utterly dominant, each in their own style and role.

James scored a season-high 40 points and had everything going.

He shot 5-for-11 from long distance – including three makes in a shade under 2 minutes at the beginning of the third quarter.

He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists.

Oh, and he demolished Jrue Holiday – an excellent defender who, in this occasion, just couldn’t find a way to stop him from getting whatever he wanted.

“He was great in all areas, in terms of being aggressive and looking to score the ball,” coach Frank Vogel said.

On the other hand, Caruso ‘only’ had 8 points, but in a game of runs, the team’s best moments happened with him on the floor.

The Texas-born point guard was a plus-20 in just 17 minutes of action-packed court time.

In the game’s most crucial 5-minute period – midway through the 4th when the Lakers extended a one-point lead to nine – Caruso’s fingerprints were all over, including a momentum-shifting block, a steal that he turned into an and-1, a second layup and the assist for Danny Green’s fifth three of the night.

The rejection on Lonzo Ball was arguably the highlight of the night in the Association:

“He moves the needle”, Vogel said. “He delivers offensively. The more impressive thing to me is eight assists and one turnover, and great decisions when he gets in the paint.”

The purple and gold needed every last ounce of production from both of them – and a few others.

Anthony Davis had an off night. That is, one of those in which he maybe doesn’t shoot that well from the field (6-for-21) but still finishes with an astonishing 21 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, one steal and six blocks.

His defense, though, was on point:

And despite some truly inspired performances by Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, the Lakers improved to 38-0 when leading at the end of the third quarter and to 18-0 when James scores at least 30 this season.

The six-game winning streak – the longest active in the NBA – and the 17 consecutive victories on the road against Western Conference rivals will now be put to the test against Golden State, Memphis and New Orleans, starting Thursday night in the Bay.

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