• The Lakers (18-29) head to Chicago on Friday to take on the Bulls (18-30).

    Los Angeles is red hot having won four games in a row and seven of their last nine contests.

    What is more impressive is that the Lakers have been able to win the last three games without Lonzo Ball, their rookie point guard who is missing time with an injured knee. Ball has yet to return to practice and is therefore not expected to play in Friday’s game.

    In his stead, reserve guard Jordan Clarkson has gone ballistic, averaging 28.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting a scorching hot 61.8 percent from the field and 80.0 percent from the free throw line. He has made multiple clutch shots for the Lakers and has really done a tremendous job carrying the team during Ball’s absence.

    He is joined by Julius Randle, another Laker with an uncertain future with the franchise, who is tallying 17.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 0.8 blocks, while making 61.5 percent of his shots from field.

    Many Lakers have stepped up during their recent string of positive performances — none more impressive than Kyle Kuzma in the Lakers’ victory over the Boston on Tuesday. Kuzma scored 17 fourth quarter points on his way to a 28-point explosion. He outdueled Kyrie Irving in the final frame, an extremely impressive feat, and was largely responsible for the Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference leading Celtics.

    Now the Lakers strive to continue their winning ways on the road against rookie power forward Lauri Markkanen and the Bulls. Markkanen has had a record-setting season, becoming the fastest player to reach 100 made 3-pointers. He is more versatile than just being a prolific outside shooter as he has also shown the ability to get to the rim and finish strong as well. For the season he is averaging 15.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 3-pointers a game while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 84.8 percent from the free throw line.

    Markkanen and the Bulls will have to overcome a Lakers team that has been playing hard on the defensive side of the ball, a significant change from last year when they were ranked 30th in both defensive efficiency and rating.

    Key Stats

    • The Lakers shoot 45.6 percent from the field (14th) compared to the Bulls who shoot only 44.1 percent (29th).
    • Los Angeles is much more adept at making plays on defense, averaging 8.4 steals (6th) and 4.9 blocks (12th) vs. 7.1 steals (23rd) and 3.7 blocks (29th) for Chicago.
    • The Lakers are 12th in the league in defensive rating at 104.8 points per 100 possessions while Chicago ranks 25th, allowing 107.7 points per 100 possessions. During their solid stretch of play over the last nine games, the Lakers are fourth in the league at 100.0 points per 100 possessions.
    • Both teams like to push the ball as the Lakers lead the league in pace at 103.2 possessions per 48 minutes and Chicago is no slouch either at 100.1 possessions per 48 minutes (12th).
    • The Lakers must really do something about their free throw woes as they are worst in the league by far at 68.5 percent from the line. During their most recent win, they nearly lost the game due to 10 missed fourth quarter free throws and they recently set a league record for futility from the line in a victory, shooting 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) in a win against the Pacers. The Bulls are significantly better at converting from the line, shooting 76.7 percent (16th) on the season.

    Projected Starting Rosters

    Lakers

    Tyler Ennis (PG)

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)

    Brandon Ingram (SF)

    Julius Randle (PF)

    Brook Lopez (C)

    Bulls

    Jerian Grant (PG)

    Zach LaVine (SG)

    Justin Holiday (SF)

    Lauri Markkanen (PF)

    Robin Lopez (C)

    Injury Report

    Lakers

    Lonzo Ball (knee) – OUT

    Bulls

    Kris Dunn (Concussion) – OUT

    Broadcast Information

    Time: 5:00 PM PST, 8:00 PM EST

    Television: NBCSCH, SPECSN/SPECD

    Radio: WLS-AM 890, UNIVISION CHICAGO 1200 AM, 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES

Fantasy News

  • Gary Clark
    PF, Houston Rockets

    The Rockets have recalled Gary Clark and Isaiah Hartenstein from their G League affiliate on Wednesday.

    Houston is currently struggling with injuries as Eric Gordon is expected to have surgery and will miss the next six weeks, while Danuel House is doubtful with a back issue. Clark will certainly get some minutes and he might deserve a look in deeper leagues while Hartenstein will be providing some insurance depth.

    Source: Alykhan Bijani on Twitter

  • Rajon Rondo
    PG, Los Angeles Lakers

    Rajon Rondo, who made his season debut on Tuesday, will not play tonight against the Warriors.

    Rondo was on a 15-minute limit on Tuesday and the Lakers will rest him on the second leg of their back-to-back. He looked good against the Suns dishing out seven assists, grabbing six rebounds and scoring five points and it’s likely he makes himself relevant in standard leagues.

    Source: Mike Trudell on Twitter

  • Shabazz Napier
    PG, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Shabazz Napier is now considered questionable to face the Spurs on Wednesday due to a strained right hamstring.

    Jeff Teague also remains questionable and it’s really up in the air whether the Wolves will have any of their point guards back tonight. Jarrett Culver and Josh Okogie have been the beneficiaries so far but both should go back to the bench if Teague or Napier are able to return.

    Source: Kyle Ratke on Twitter

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Sean Deveney of Heavy.com is reporting that one team that has made an offer to the Grizzlies for Andre Iguodala is the Mavs, who are eager to make a push for the playoffs and find more help for Luka Doncic.

    The Grizzlies are still holding out hope that a trade can be worked out and have been holding firm on their asking price of a first-round pick. The Lakers are reportedly the favor to sign him, if and when he gets a buyout from Memphis, but a few teams in the Western Conference are interested as well. Iguodala is a risky stash in deeper leagues but he could be well worth the wait.

    Source: Heavy.com

  • Ian Mahinmi
    C, Washington Wizards

    Ian Mahinmi has been playing 4-on-4 basketball in recent days, as he is getting closer to a return.

    Mahimni was given a six week timeline at the beginning of October so he seems to be right on track for a return in the next week or so. The Wizards have been using Mo Wagner as the backup center and it’s unlikely that Mahinmi gets much, if any, playing time with a Wizards team that is focused on developing their youth.

    Source: Candace Parker on Twitter

  • Jaren Jackson Jr.
    PF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Jaren Jackson Jr. needed just three games to flip the script about a possible sophomore slump into a narrative about his improving all-around game

    Jackson's offensive outburst on Monday, where he scored 24 points, followed a stretch of three games where he totaled just 14 points on 5-of-20 shooting amid mounting frustration over issues with foul trouble. JJJ had a series of discussions with coach Taylor Jenkins and the latter encouraged him to stay focused on the important things, his daily work habits. The 20-year-old appears to be finding a balance between lingering on the perimeter and attacking the basket in Jenkins' up-tempo system while the buy-low window for him is probably closed.

    Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal

  • Anthony Davis
    PF-C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Brad Turner of the LA Times is reporting that all signs point to the Lakers holding out Anthony Davis for Wednesday night’s game against the Warriors.

    His X-rays on his ribs were negative, but AD has also been dealing with a shoulder issue since the beginning of the season. It makes sense for the Lakers to rest him against the lowly Warriors after a tough game against the Suns last night. The good news is that there doesn’t seem to be any long-term concern here and Davis will just be getting the night off after grinding it out and having played in every contest to this point.

    Source: Brad Turner on Twitter

  • Donovan Mitchell
    SG, Utah Jazz

    Donovan Mitchell had a game-high 30 points (13-for-26 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs) in a home win on Tuesday, adding six boards, two dimes and a steal in 38 minutes.

    Mitchell is looking great so far this season. The main improvement in his stats is in his field goal percentage. If he can keep that up, Mitchell should be able to return top-25 value.

  • Mike Conley
    PG, Utah Jazz

    Mike Conley scored 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting and added four rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes in Tuesday's win over the Nets.

    Conley's numbers are down in every category this season, which is a little scary for drafters of the 32-year-old. There's plenty of time for him to get more acquainted to his new team and continue to turn this around, but Conley doesn't appear likely to return to his Memphis numbers that often had him in the top-30.

  • Rudy Gobert
    C, Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert had another strong game in a 119-114 win over the Nets on Tuesday, putting up 18 points (8-for-10 FGs, 2-for-4 FTs), 15 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 38 minutes.

    Gobert is off to a bit of a slow start this season, mainly in the blocks category where he's dropped from 2.3 to 1.3. There's plenty of time for that to come back, but there's also a chance that the 27-year-old might not have two blocks per game left in him. If the team with Gobert in your league is worried, make an offer. It's a great time to try to buy low.