• The Lakers (17-29) renew their rivalry with the Boston Celtics (34-13) in a nationally televised game on Tuesday.

    At the moment, these are two teams on the opposite end of the spectrum as the Celtics are in first place in the Eastern Conference and have a fully stocked cupboard as far as future assets are concerned. The Lakers have a losing record, very few assets, and are hoping this summer lends their franchise direction. Boston is in a bit of a recent skid, losing three in a row and threatening to lose four in a row for the first time in two years.

    This offseason, the Celtics cashed in some of their assets to trade for Kyrie Irving as well as used their hard-earned cap space to sign Gordon Hayward. Before the Celtics were able to reap any benefits from their moves, they watched in horror as Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury on opening night, ending his season before he played a single complete game for the storied franchise.

    However, coach Brad Stevens has instilled sound defensive principles in Boston, helping to lead them to the third best record in the NBA.

    The offense runs through Irving who is averaging 24.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.7 3-pointers while shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and 88.4 percent from the line. He is a true MVP candidate in his first season in Boston.

    One of the silver linings to the Hayward injury has been the additional playing time afforded No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum. He is tallying 13.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.9 blocks while shooting 49.3 percent from the field, 81.7 percent from the free throw line and 45.1 percent from 3-point range. It’s hard to imagine that the Celtics were able to accrue Tatum, a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year, and a future first round pick from the 76ers for the rights to Markelle Fultz, who has not been able to spend any time on the court for Philadelphia.

    The Lakers have won two games in a row, which is more impressive considering they have been missing their starting backcourt of Lonzo Ball and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for both of those contests. What is even more exciting for Laker fans is that the team has won six of their last eight, while playing much better defense and showing significant progress.

    Jordan Clarkson has been stellar for Los Angeles during this two-game streak, averaging 31.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting a blistering 68.4 percent from the field.

    Julius Randle is also coming off a huge game in which he outplayed Kristaps Porzingis, accumulating 27 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and one block.

    One pleasant surprise for the Lakers was reserve point guard Alex Caruso who played a career-high 31 minutes while accruing nine points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. He severely outplayed Tyler Ennis and may have earned a larger role going forward.

    Key Stats

    • The Celtics are an elite defensive team ranking first in both defensive rating (99.7) and defensive efficiency (.989) while the Lakers are 10th in rating (104.7) and eleventh in defensive efficiency (1.040). Los Angeles is fourth in defensive rating over the last eight contests (99.0), during which they have won six games.
    • The Lakers turn the ball over 16.4 times per game (29th) vs. the Celtics who only turn the ball over 14.2 times per game (12th).
    • Los Angeles is shooting a league worst 68.8 percent from the free throw line while Boston shoots 76.4 percent (15th).
    • The Lakers convert 33.1 percent from 3-point range (15th) compared to the Celtics who make 36.5 percent of their shots from 3-point range.
    • Los Angeles leads the league in pace at 103.24 possessions per 48 minutes vs. Boston who averages 97.95 possessions per 48 minutes (21st).

    Projected Starting Rosters

    Lakers

    Tyler Ennis (PG)

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)

    Brandon Ingram (SF)

    Julius Randle (PF)

    Brook Lopez (C)

    Celtics

    Kyrie Irving (PG)

    Jaylen Brown (SG)

    Jayson Tatum (SF)

    Aron Baynes (PF)

    Al Horford (C)

    Injury Report

    Lakers 

    Lonzo Ball (knee) – OUT

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles) – ACTIVE

    Brandon Ingram (ankle) – ACTIVE

    Celtics

    Gordon Hayward (ankle) – OUT

    Broadcast Information

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

    Television: TNT, NBC SPORTS BOSTON, TNT-SAP,

    Radio: 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES, 98.5 THE SPORTS HUB

     

     

Fantasy News

  • 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

  • Jaren Jackson Jr.
    PF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Head coach Taylor Jenkins told the media that they are "looking good, feeling good" in regards to the health of Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee), Brandon Clarke (right quad) and Justise Winslow (back soreness).

    Jackson and Clarke missed nine and eight games respectively prior to the shutdown while Winslow has yet to play a game for the Grizzlies due to an ongoing back injury. This appears to be great news for the young team as they will be at full strength when the league does resume. Clarke and Jackson definitely have fantasy appeal as they both finished inside the top-80 on the season. Winslow has potential but he is the riskiest of the three based on a brand new situation and the back injury that has caused him to miss 53 games so far this season. It is probably best to avoid Winslow for the league resumption and re-evaluate his fantasy value prior to the 2020-21 campaign.

    Source: Michael Wallace on Twitter

  • Thomas Bryant
    C, Washington Wizards

    Wizards center Thomas Bryant told the media that he is "100 percent healed" from a stress fracture in his foot and is doing everything on the basketball court ahead of the NBA resumption in Orlando.

    Bryant struggled to stay healthy prior to the league suspension as he played in 38 out of 64 games while the team also had him on a strict minutes limit for several of the contests that he was able to play. He is an intriguing fantasy option for the NBA restart but his recent injury history should be considered at draft time.

    Source: Fred Katz on Twitter

  • Caleb Swanigan
    PF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Blazers forward, Caleb Swanigan, has opted out of the resumption of the NBA season in Orlando.

    Swanigan averaged 13.3 mpg for the Blazers across 20 contests and is off the radar from a fantasy perspective. He will join Trevor Ariza who will also be sitting out the NBA restart. There was very little likelihood that Swanigan would have been part of the rotation in Orlando with Jusuf Nurkić and Zach Collins returning from injury.

    Source: NBC Sports Northwest

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Thabo Sefolosha will not participate in Orlando when the league resumes.

    Sefolosha was a deep rotation piece for the Rockets as he only eclipsed the 20 minute mark once this season. There isn't much of a fantasy impact here as Sefolosha played in just two of the team's final nine games.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter