• The Lakers (19-30) head to Orlando on Wednesday to take on the (14-35) Magic.

    Orlando has several key injuries including leading scorers Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon, as well as No. 6 overall pick Jonathan Isaac. Although they were short-handed, they were able to hang tough with the Houston Rockets, losing a competitive game 114-107. In the process, they allowed James Harden to become the first player in NBA history to score 60 points while accruing a triple-double. Not only did Orlando play last night, they played on the road in Houston, while Los Angeles rested for two days — the Lakers will hope to take advantage of their additional energy reserves.

    Orlando is 1-9 without Gordon in the lineup — should he sit, it would provide the Lakers a significant advantage. If he does suit up, fans would be treated to a possible slam dunk competition preview as Laker reserve Larry Nance Jr. is rumored to be in contention to compete against Gordon in the illustrious event.

    UPDATE: Gordon has been ruled out for tonight’s game.

    The two teams are on different trajectories at the moment as the Lakers are in midst of their best stretch of the season while Orlando has lost 31 of 37.

    Los Angeles will be looking to return to recent form after a crushing 123-111 loss in Toronto to the Raptors on Sunday. The Lakers had won eight of the previous 10 games before getting outclassed by a solid Eastern Conference opponent. During their solid 10-game stretch, the Lakers had played sound defense, holding their opponents to 102 points per game. They will need to refocus their energy on the defensive end if they are to return to their winning ways.

    The Lakers’ best player of late has been Julius Randle, who is averaging 16.8 points and 8.8 rebounds over his last eight games and is coming off a 17-point, 10-rebound performance Sunday. Los Angeles is 8-8 with him in the starting lineup.

    Los Angeles will be without starting point guard Lonzo Ball, who is still nursing a sprained MCL ligament in his knee. Although he is traveling with the team and working out, he has not been able to return to full practice yet, and therefore his return is not imminent.

    Key Stats

    • The Lakers hold a huge rebounding edge over the Magic for the season, corralling 46.3 rebounds per game (3rd) vs. 41.9 rebounds per game (21st) for Orlando.
    • Both teams excel in defensive rating in games that they win, with the Lakers ranking slightly higher at 97.7 points per 100 possessions (5th) and the Magic at 98.3 points per 100 possessions (6th). Overall for the season, the Lakers have a defensive rating of 105.0 (12th) compared to 109.0 (27th) for Orlando. The drastic disparity in rating between wins and total games for Orlando clearly highlights how crucial defensive performance will be in this game.
    • Los Angeles leads the league at points in the paint with 53.1 points per game vs. 46.8 points per game (8th) for the Magic.
    • Neither team is effective at shooting from 3-point range, with the Lakers converting 32.7 percent (30th) and Orlando making 35.1 percent (26th) of their attempts, further emphasizing the need for each team to rely on their strength, scoring in the paint.

    Projected Starting Rosters

    Lakers

    Tyler Ennis (PG)

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)

    Brandon Ingram (SF)

    Julius Randle (PF)

    Brook Lopez (C)

    Magic

    Elfrid Payton (PG)

    Evan Fournier (SG)

    Jonathon Simmons (SF)

    Marreese Speights (PF)

    Bismack Biyombo (C)

    Injury Report

    Lakers

    Lonzo Ball (sprained knee/MCL) – OUT

    Magic

    Nikola Vucevic (hand) – OUT

    Aaron Gordon (hip-pointer) – OUT

    Jonathan Isaac (ankle) – OUT

    Terrence Ross (knee) – OUT

    Broadcast Information

    Time: 4:00 PM PST, 7:00 PM EST

    Television: FOX SPORTS FLORIDA, SPECSN/SPECD

    Radio: ESPN 580, SALSA 98.1 FM (ESP), 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES

Fantasy News

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, the NBA is close to signing off on a secondary bubble location in Chicago for the eight teams left out of the league resumption with a target date of September.

    They went on to say that this bubble would allow those eight teams who were not invited to Orlando to have an opportunity to have mini-training camps as well as games. It has been reported throughout the last few months that the teams that were not invited should have an opportunity to prepare for next season. Many of the teams who were not included would benefit greatly from additional practice time and game reps as most of these teams have young players who need to continue to develop their skills. There will still be a lot of logistics that need to be ironed out so this a situation to monitor as we learn more.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Marvin Bagley III
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    Marvin Bagley confirmed that he is "ready to go" for the NBA restart in Orlando after rehabbing from a left foot sprain.

    It was previously reported in early July that the Kings' training staff believed that Bagley would be available for game action soon and this report confirms that Bagley will in fact be available for the league resumption. Bagley has yet to live up to the hype of the second overall pick in 2018 as he has only been able to play in 75 out of a possible 146 games (51.3 percent). It is unclear what role Bagley will have in Orlando but it appears that his injury woes are behind him and we will learn more about his ability during the league resumption. Bagley's return would likely cut into the playing time of Nemanja Bjelica, Harry Giles, Jabari Parker and Harrison Barnes.

    Source: Sean Cunningham on Twitter

  • Jusuf Nurkic
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    In a conference call with Portland media, Terry Stotts revealed that Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins are likely to return to their starting jobs and won't be under minutes restrictions when the NBA resumes.

    It should be a huge defensive lift for a Blazers squad that gave up points like crazy, though this will throw a wrench into plans for DFS players. Stotts mentioned that he's considered starting Nurkic next to current starter Hassan Whiteside, though that fit would likely only be tenable in certain matchups. This, plus news of Trevor Ariza's absence during the restart, also has big effects on the wing rotation, where it sounds like Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr. are competing to start with Nassir Little and Mario Hezonja also in the mix off the bench. This is a big blow to Hassan Whiteside's fantasy appeal — a top-15 player in 31.3 mpg this year– as his minutes should sink into the mid twenties. Anyone participating in a short league that covers the restart may want to view Whiteside as more of a middle-round, blocks specialist type, though this all obviously hinges on how Nurkic and Collins look when games begin.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Devin Booker
    SG, Phoenix Suns

    Monty Williams said that he wants to play Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio less than their typical minute allotment when the NBA resumes in Orlando.

    The Suns have extremely slim playoff hopes and Williams doesn't want to risk one of the team's starting guards sustaining an injury in what amounts to a meaningless game. Expect similar moves from plenty of teams who realistically have no shot at the playoffs, even if they don't declare as much publicly. Anyone playing fantasy games for the eight-game restart should familiarize themselves with the depth charts on such teams and maybe downgrade some of the bigger names in case their minutes are limited.

    Source: Valley Tales

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Out of 344 players tested between June 24-29, nine have tested positive for COVID-19.

    That brings the NBA up to 25 positive cases among players since June 23 testing began, a positive rate of 7.1%. 10 out of 884 staff members have also tested positive. How the NBA handles any potential spread of the virus inside the Orlando bubble will make or break their entire plan.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Jontay Porter
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said that rookie Jontay Porter may be available for games in the Orlando bubble.

    Porter missed the entire 2018-19 college season after suffering a knee injury and hasn't suited up as a pro, so if he accompanies the Grizzlies to Orlando it'll be more for the experience than actual playing time. His college numbers were intriguing but Porter is only of consequence in deep dynasty formats for now.

    Source: Daily Memphian

  • Grayson Allen
    SG, Memphis Grizzlies

    Grayson Allen (left hip) may be able to play when the NBA season resumes in Orlando.

    Allen has been sidelined with left hip soreness since leaving a game in late January, and his ailment would've ended his season had things finished as scheduled. While he hasn't received the all-clear yet, the Grizzlies will evaluate him after he gets through some practices in the Orlando bubble. He's unlikely to play much even if he can, as the Grizzlies currently boast a fully healthy roster.

    Source: Daily Memphian

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that Dwight Howard remains in his Atlanta-area home and the Lakers hope he will eventually join them in Orlando.

    The Lakers do not plan to replace Howard on the roster. They are being patient with Howard, but if he decides to not play in Orlando the Lakers will likely look to sign another center.

    Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter

  • Luc Mbah a Moute
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Shams Charania reported that the Houston Rockets plan to sign Luc Mbah a Moute for the Orlando restart.

    Thabo Sefolosha announced on Wednesday that he will not participate in the Orlando restart, leaving the Rockets with a need for an additional three-and-D wing. Mbah a Moute played 61 games for the Rockets in 2017-18 and averaged 25.6 minutes per game, so he is familiar with their system. Mbah a Moute will be a low-usage player that the Rockets can plug in at the end of their rotation and will provide them more depth, which could be imperative for teams given the COVID-19 concerns surrounding this Orlando restart.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Dwight Powell
    PF, Dallas Mavericks

    Dwight Powell has advanced in his rehab from a torn Achilles as he has been able to do some light shooting, agility work, and has been able to do some jogging on the treadmill.

    Powell suffered a torn Achilles in January and has no chance of participating in Orlando's restart. However, it is always good news to hear a player reach a milestone in terms of their rehab. Powell may not play an NBA game until the 2021-22 season as he continues to recover from one of the toughest injuries in basketball. This is a situation that will continue to evolve over the next year or so.

    Source: Callie Caplan on Twitter