January 21, 2018, 1:49 pm
The Lakers (16-29) host the Knicks (21-25) on Sunday for a rare Staples Center matinee.
Los Angeles will once again get a painful reminder that they skipped Kristaps Porzingis in the 2015 NBA Draft, opting instead to draft D’Angelo Russell who is no longer with the franchise. Porzingis, dubbed the Unicorn because of his unique skill-set, is a 7-foot-3 player who can handle the ball, has tremendous shooting range and is a prolific shot blocker. The last time he visited Staples Center he showed the full array of his talents, accumulating 26 points, 12 rebounds and 7 blocked shots — each one a dagger to the hearts of Laker fans.
With Carmelo Anthony shipped to Oklahoma City, Porzingis is now the focus of the Knicks’ offense and is having a breakout year, averaging 23.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.4 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers a game. The Lakers may have a difficult time matching up with him as he is far too athletic for Brook Lopez, the Lakers’ struggling center, and much too long for Julius Randle, their best big-man defender on the year and current starting center.
The starting rosters and subsequent rotations will be an interesting chess game during this matchup. In the Knicks’ most recent game, a hard-fought 117-115 win against the Utah Jazz, they started Enes Kanter at center and Porzingis at power forward, while the Lakers started Kyle Kuzma at power forward and Randle at center in their last win. The Lakers would be extremely under-sized if the two teams both maintained the same roster configuration.
Los Angeles is coming off a particularly gutsy win against the Indina Pacers in which they overcame the deficit of three starters to earn a 99-86 win. The Lakers were buttressed by a transcendent performance from reserve guard Jordan Clarkson who tallied 33 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while converting 14-of-19 shots from the field. On a night where they needed, and received production from almost everyone on their roster, Larry Nance Jr.’s effort stood out as he added 10 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks while making all five of his field goal attempts.
The Lakers will be short-handed again on Sunday as they will once again be without starting point guard Lonzo Ball. Friday’s victory was the first time the Lakers were able to win without him this season, going 0-for-8 in their previous attempts. They will need another heroic effort from their entire roster if they are to overcome Porzingis and the Knicks on Sunday.
- The Lakers allow 110.0 points per game (27th) compared to 105.3 points per game (12th) for the Knicks.
- After their last masterful defensive performance, the Lakers defensive rating improved to 104.6 (8th) vs. 105.7 (15th) for New York. One telling statistic for the Lakers is that in their 16 wins their defensive rating is 96.0, highest for any team during victories. The Knicks have a defensive rating of 101.1 (23rd) in their wins.
- Los Angeles commits 16.7 turnovers a game (29th) and is consequently tied for allowing the most points per game off their turnovers at 19.6 points per game. New York is slightly better, committing 15.4 turnovers per game (22nd) and allowing 18.0 points per game off of turnovers (25th).
- The Lakers are by far the worst free throw shooting team in the league, converting a dismal 68.8 percent of their shots from the line compared to the Knicks who shoot 79.5 percent from the free throw line (6th). In the Lakers’ last victory, they had the ignominy of shooting the worst percentage of any team since the 1963-64 season in a win, going 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) in their otherwise impressive triumph. Their free shooting is so outrageously bad that it has Lakers’ coach Luke Walton considering meditation to remedy their woes.
- Los Angeles shoots 33.0 percent from 3-point range (30th) compared to the Knicks who make 36.6 percent of their 3-point attempts (13th).
Projected Starting Rosters
Tyler Ennis (PG)
Josh Hart (SG)
Brandon Ingram (SF)
Julius Randle (PF)
Brook Lopez (C)
Jarrett Jack (PG)
Courtney Lee (SG)
Tim Hardaway Jr. (SF)
Kristaps Porzingis (PF)
Enes Kanter (C)
Lonzo Ball (knee) – OUT
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles) – GAME-TIME DECISION
Brandon Ingram (ankle) – GAME-TIME DECISION
No Injured Players
Time: 12:30 PM PST, 3:30 PM EST
Television: SPECSN/SPECD, MSG, TSN4/5
Radio: 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES
November 16, 2019, 11:20 pmMarc GasolC, Toronto Raptors
Marc Gasol was flat-footed in the contest shooting just 1-of-7 from the field and adding nine rebounds, two assists and a steal in Saturday's loss to the Mavs.
Gasol matched up against Dallas' Kristaps Porzingis in this one and was dominated in the post. Gasol just could not get his shot over the 7'3" Porzingis and did not even bother to pull him out of the paint only attempting two shots from behind the arc. He just is not the player he used to be but with the Raptors injuries piling up Gasol will continue to get plenty of minutes to string fantasy owners along.
November 16, 2019, 11:18 pmBen McLemoreSG, Houston Rockets
Ben McLemore got the start and scored 20 points, along with four rebounds, one assist, two steald and four treys on Saturday.
The Rockets were missing Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, Danuel House and Clint Capela so McLemore had a lot more opportunity. He is still only a deep-league player with Westbrook and House not expected to be out for long.
November 16, 2019, 11:18 pmBryn ForbesSG, San Antonio Spurs
Bryn Forbes scored 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting with little else in a 121-116 loss to the Blazers on Saturday.
Forbes has low upside but can be relied on for points and threes. Expect him to contribute nothing outside of those two categories though.
November 16, 2019, 11:14 pmNorman PowellSF, Toronto Raptors
Norman Powell was hot from the field tonight scoring 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting adding a career-high six 3's to go along with six rebounds, an assist and steal in Saturday's loss to the Mavericks.
After a frigid game three nights ago against the Blazers, Powell woke up and was incredibly efficient from behind the arc. The six 3's are a career high and the Raptors relied on his shot tonight. He will continue to provide value for fantasy owners while teammate Kyle Lowry remains out with injury.
November 16, 2019, 11:14 pmAustin RiversPG, Houston Rockets
Austin Rivers got the start and scored 19 points, along with three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block on Saturday.
Austin Rivers got the start with Russell Westbrook resting on the second night of a back-to-back set. With Westbrook expected to return next game, Rivers is only a deep-league player.
November 16, 2019, 11:13 pmRudy GaySF, San Antonio Spurs
Rudy Gay scored 16 points (5-of-7 from the field) on Saturday to go with four rebounds, one steal and one block in 23 minutes.
Gay won't wow people with his stats, but he is a solid late-round player with a consistent role.
November 16, 2019, 11:10 pmGoga BitadzeC, Indiana Pacers
Goga Bitadze only played 12 minutes on Saturday with the Pacers back at full strength.
Myles Turner showed no rust despite missing a couple weeks, logging 35 minutes, which basically ate up all of Bitadze's upside. You can hang on for another game if you want given his elite blocks potential, but the rookie looks destined for deep-league status until another injury strikes.
November 16, 2019, 11:09 pmChris ClemonsPG, Houston Rockets
Chris Clemons got hot from three with five triples to help him score 19 points, and added one rebound and two steals on Saturday.
Chris Clemons came off the bench to play 28 minutes and wasn't shy, attempting 11 shots. He is only a stream option at best.
November 16, 2019, 11:08 pmJustin HolidaySG, Indiana Pacers
Justin Holiday drew the start on Saturday but could only muster nine points, four rebounds, two assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in 34 minutes of action.
Holiday has been a standard-league guy in the past with minutes like this but he'll only play this much while Malcolm Brogdon and TJ McConnell are out. If Indiana is shorthanded for their next game you can consider Holiday a steals and threes streamer.
November 16, 2019, 11:07 pmBam AdebayoC, Miami Heat
Bam Adebayo double-doubled on Saturday with 18 points (8-of-11 from the floor), 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks in 34 minutes.
The breakout season continues for Bam and he is currently ranked top-30 in 9-cat after Saturday with averages of 13.9 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting .588 from the field and .622 from the line. Adebayo's free throw percentage has been a problem this season, but there is room to improve as he shot .735 from the line last season. Everything else is great for Bam and his owners should enjoy the ride.