• The Lakers (15-29) are 0-8 this season without Lonzo Ball on their roster — they will be without him again on Friday against the Indiana Pacers (24-21). They are more than just losing without him, they are losing big, as the Lakers have an overall minus-18 point differential without Ball. Unfortunately for the Lakers, the situation is much more dire than that as they will also be without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles) and Brandon Ingram (ankle) as well.

    Los Angeles is coming off a 114-90 defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder, a game in which they were outworked on the glass to the tune of 54-30 while surrendering 21 offensive rebounds. Regardless of who is able to take the floor against the Pacers, the Lakers need to bring a workmanlike mentality from the onset, playing strong defense and competing on the glass.

    The Lakers are expecting to have leading scorer Kyle Kuzma for this contest and they will have to rely on him heavily. For the season he is averaging 16.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2.0 3-pointers a game while shooting 45.8 percent from the field. He was injured in the Lakers last contest, suffering a sprained where the pinkie and the palm of the hand meet. The injury is to his non-shooting hand so the Lakers hope that it will have a negligible effect on his overall play.

    Another key player for the Lakers will be Julius Randle, whom they will need for his scoring, rebounding, play-making and toughness. For the season, Randle is averaging 13.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 steals and 0.7 blocks while shooting 54.7 percent from the floor.

    The Pacers are led by Victor Oladipo who is having a breakout year after being traded from Oklahoma City in the Paul George deal. He is accruing 24.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.9 blocks and 2.6 3-pointers a game while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 79.0 percent from the line.

    The Lakers signed Nigel Hayes to a two-way contract this week to try and bolster their ranks. Hayes, a 6’8” forward who weighs in at 258 pounds, has the ability to guard both forward positions while also providing Los Angeles with some much needed outside shooting. In the G-League he averaged 14.9 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 44.0 percent from 3-point range.

    Key Stats

    • The Pacers are one of the best shooting teams in the league as they make 48.1 percent of their field goals (3rd) and 38.4 percent of their 3-point attempts (2nd). The Lakers are not in the same echelon, converting 45.3 percent (17th) of their field goal attempts and 33.0 percent of their 3-point shots (30th).
    • Los Angeles commits a lot more fouls per game at 22.2 (5th most) vs. only 18.7 fouls per game (24th most) for Indiana.
    • The Lakers must get back to controlling the boards after the debacle in their last game. For the season, the Lakers average 46.3 rebounds per game (3rd) compared to 42.0 rebounds per game (20th) for the Pacers.
    • Los Angeles will have to be extremely careful with the basketball if they hope to win as they have little margin for error. Indiana only turns the ball over 13.5 times per game (4th) vs. 16.7 miscues per game (29th) for Los Angeles.
    • These teams are not close as far as net rating is concerned with the Pacers earning a 1.8 rating (8th) vs. the Lakers who are 26th in the league at -4.0.
    • If the Lakers are to win it will likely be on the merit of their defense as they are tied for the lead league in defensive rating during their 15 victories with a defensive rating of 96.6 in those contests.

    Projected Starting Rosters

    Lakers

    Tyler Ennis (PG)

    Josh Hart (SG)

    Corey Brewer (SF)

    Kyle Kuzma (PF)

    Julius Randle (C)

    Pacers

    Darren Collison (PG)

    Victor Oladipo (SG)

    Bojan Bogdanovic (SF)

    Thaddeous Young (PF)

    Domantas Sabonis (C)

    Injury Report

    Lakers

    Lono Ball (sprained knee) – OUT

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles) – OUT

    Brandon Ingram (ankle) – OUT

    Julius Randle (fractured right ring finger) – EXPECTED TO PLAY

    Kyle Kuzma (sprained fifth metacarpal-phalangeal joint) – EXPECTED TO PLAY

    Pacers

    Myles Turner (sprained right elbow) – OUT

    Broadcast Information

    Time: 7:30 PM PST, 10:30 PM EST

    Television: SPECSN/SPECD, FOX SPORTS INDIANA

    Radio: 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES, 1070 THE FAN/107.5 FM

Fantasy News

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Marc Stein is reporting that the NBPA has agreed to continue negotiations with the league for a 22-team restart to the season.

    Stein also noted that not everything is settled at this point, and more items need to be agreed upon before the NBPA is ready to sign and proceed forward with the resumption of games. It sounds like we're still on a path to an agreement, but the NBPA still has a few points to clarify before it is all said and done. Stay tuned.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Shams Charania is reporting that the NBPA informed players that they will be tested on a nightly basis for COVID-19 and a positive test will result in quarantine for a minimum of seven days.

    The resumption of play will also include 2-3 preseason games and a bubble of 1600 total people. Players will not have tracking devices on them but they are expected to stay in the bubble for the entire period. Everything is gradually coming together and the schedule for the return to play is becoming more and more clear for all parties.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Nikola Jokic
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to head coach Mike Malone, Nikola Jokic has been staying in great shape during the lockout.

    Jokic has never been known for staying in shape, especially during the offseason, and it will be a legitimate surprise if he returns lighter than he was at the stoppage in play. He started the year on the slower side and was clearly looking behind out of the gate, but he was back to his usual first-round value by the time games came to a stop. He should be ready for action when the lockout comes to an end. His teammate Jamal Murray is claiming that Jokic now has a "little four pack".

    Source: The Athletic

  • Dejounte Murray
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    The Spurs were dealing with injuries to LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, Jakob Poeltl and Lonnie Walker IV before the season was halted, but all four are expected to be "good to go" when the NBA resumes action.

    Poeltl (MCL sprain) was dealing with the most significant injury of the bunch, and if he's ready then everyone else will be as well. Aldridge was day-to-day with a shoulder strain, while Murray and his strained calf were the biggest headache for fantasy GMs before the season stopped. Initially given no timetable for return, he's ready to go and will split the PG work with Derrick White as the Spurs try to extend their playoff streak.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Darius Bazley
    PF, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Darius Bazley has recovered from a right knee bone bruise that he suffered in February.

    We're going to say that he's healthy after he was spotted playing pickup games this past week. Bazley was set to be re-evaluated 4-6 weeks after sustaining the injury and is good to go. He's not a lock to receive minutes in the postseason but more depth options never hurt anybody.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Andre Roberson
    SG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Andre Roberson (left knee) may be able to play in the NBA's eight-game regular season, per The Athletic's Erik Horne.

    Roberson has been out since January of 2018 thanks to a ruptured patellar tendon and some subsequent setbacks, but he said back in April that he's past the rehab stage of his recovery. It would be tough to envision the Thunder granting Roberson a big role considering the severity of his injury and the length of his layoff, but there's a chance that the defensive stopper can make some impact for the team down the stretch. Either way, it will be great to see him back on the floor again.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Jonathan Isaac
    PF, Orlando Magic

    Jonathan Isaac (left knee) has been running on a low-impact treadmill for about two weeks now.

    Isaac went down at the beginning of January with what was thought to be a season-ending injury, involving a posterior lateral corner injury and a medial bone contusion — i.e., a severe sprain and a bone bruise. At that point he was set to be re-evaluated in 8-10 weeks, and while we're well past those timelines, Isaac does appear to be moving along in his recovery. It remains to be seen if he'll be available for Orlando's postseason chase or if the Magic would even bother risking his bright future at this point.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Evan Fournier
    SF, Orlando Magic

    Evan Fournier (right UCL sprain) is fully recovered.

    Fournier was supposed to be looking at an "extended absence" when he first went down in March, slamming the brakes on what was a top-70 season. The fact that he's healthy again will be a huge lift to the Magic, who currently occupy the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. They only need to hold off the Wizards to earn a playoff berth but also have an outside chance at jumping over the Nets to take the seventh spot.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    Kevin Durant (Achilles) will not return to the court this season, per Anthony Puccio.

    There were whispers that KD might be able to get back on the floor given the extra few months of the season, and especially after he's started to appear in workout videos, but it has been repeatedly speculated that Durant would not return during the 2019-20 season under any circumstance. There's no sense in having Durant shake off the rust in an intense setting, even if he may be capable of contributing right now. Brooklyn's eyes are rightfully on next season as far as serious contention goes.

    Source: Anthony Puccio on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The Board of Governors has approved the NBA's 22-team format to restart the 2019-20 season.

    The vote was 29-1. It was widely expected that the format would get the go-ahead, even though more than one team didn't fully support the proposed plan, and the NBA has at least settled on what the season will look like once it's able to resume. They have also set the draft lottery for August 25 and the draft for October 15. The biggest hurdles remain anything that has to do with COVID-19, and to this point the league has yet to say anything about those challenges, but there is plenty of forward momentum these days.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter