• The Lakers soundly defeated the Knicks 127-107 on Sunday to win for the sixth time in eight games — the last two without their starting backcourt duo of Lonzo Ball and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

    This was one of the best performances that coach Luke Walton has had as he pushed all the right buttons all game long. His first move was reinserting Brook Lopez into the starting lineup, aligning the Lakers better against the Knicks’ size and matching up Julius Randle with Kristaps Porzingis. The move paid off double-dividends as Lopez came out aggressive, scoring 11 points in the first quarter alone while adding three rebounds. The Randle matchup was even more crucial as he attacked Porzingis, starting the game off with back-to-back dunks and drawing an immediate foul on Porzingis, eventually relegating him to the bench with foul trouble. Porzingis only played 10 minutes in the entire first half, largely due to Randle’s aggression and the matchup created by coach Walton.

    Another key move by coach Walton was at the 9:58 mark of the third quarter when he substituted the four remaining Laker starters (Tyler Ennis had already been subbed for the more effective Alex Caruso) for the Lakers’ extraordinarily effective bench brigade of Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Kuzma, Larry Nance Jr. and Corey Brewer. Although it took the bench a few moments to quell the hot shooting of the Knicks, the Lakers were able to seize control of the game with a 15-3 run to end the third.

    The Lakers dominated the fourth quarter to the tune of 30-18. They were able to slow down the 3-point onslaught of the Knicks, holding them to 0-for-3 in the final frame and 9-of-20 (45.0 percent) overall shooting. Los Angeles, on the other hand, shot 13-of-20 from the floor (65.0 percent).

    Los Angeles was led by Clarkson, who had his second wonderful performance in a row tallying 29 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, three steals and a plus-23 rating while shooting 12-of-19 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line.

    He was joined by fellow bench mate Nance Jr. who accrued 13 points, five rebounds, one assists, one steal, two blocks and a game-high plus-27 rating. One of his many highlights was catching an alley-oop pass from Caruso and reverse-dunking it one-handed.

    Caruso also provided a spark for the Lakers off the bench with nine points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and a plus-24 rating. He outplayed starting point guard Ennis 31 minutes vs. 11 minutes — it was well deserved.

    The Lakers’ game MVP was Randle who accumulated 27 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, one steal and a plus-18 rating while shooting 11-of-17 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Asides from his prolific production, Randle attacked Porzingis relentlessly from the onset, getting the Unicorn in foul trouble, frustrating him and limiting his production.

    Porzingis finished with 17 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and a minus-13 rating while shooting 7-of-13 from the field, 2-of-2 from 3-point range and 1-of-3 from the line. He was joined by Tim Hardaway Jr. and Michael Beasley who each added 17 points of their own.

    Key Stats and Observations

    • Both teams shot extremely well in this contest with the Lakers holding a slight edge as they converted 51-of-91 shots for 56.0 percent vs. 44-of-81 for the Knicks, good for 54.3 percent. New York was particularly efficient from 3-point range making 12-of-25 (48.0 percent) while the Lakers made 10-of-26 (38.5 percent).
    • The Lakers were able to dominate this game with regards to the free throw line making 15-of-21 (71.4 percent) compared to only 7-of-10 (70.0 percent) for the Knicks.
    • Los Angeles had a season-low six turnovers in the game vs. 17 for New York. The Lakers were able to turn those miscues into 23 points vs. only nine points off turnovers for New York. The disparity in turnovers also fueled the Lakers 22-to-7 edge in fast break points.
    • The Lakers, the league leaders in points in the paint, had a 60-to-42 advantage in that category.
    • The bench was a crucial element in the win on Sunday as the Lakers’ bench outscored the Knicks bench 76-to-39.

    Up Next

    The Lakers (17-29) host their hated rival the Boston Celtics (34-13) on Tuesday night.

    Boston currently sits at first place in the Eastern Conference but is coming off a 103-95 loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

    Kyrie Irving, acquired in an offseason deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, has been a huge catalyst for the Celtics this year and is coming off a stellar game with 40 points, seven rebounds, five assists, one block and a plus-6 rating while shooting 14-of-23 from the field, 5-of-7 from 3-point range and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. For the season he is averaging 24.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

    Fans are unlikely to get a chance to watch No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball help host No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum due to Ball’s sprained knee. Tatum has been spectacular in his rookie season averaging 13.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.9 blocks while shooting 49.2 percent from the field, 45.1 percent from 3-point range and 81.7 percent from the free throw line.

Fantasy News

  • Jimmy Butler
    SG, Miami Heat

    Jimmy Butler averaged 20.2 points, 0.5 3s, 6.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.5 blocks on .454 shooting in 54 games for 24/13 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.

    Butler had some owners scared as he missed the beginning of the season due to the birth of his child, but it wouldn't mean much in the long run. He's a proven early-round asset and the 13th value was around where we had him. The 3-pointers went away, but he made up for it in defense and efficiency.

  • Bam Adebayo
    C, Miami Heat

    Bam Adebayo averaged 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks on .567 shooting in 65 games for 31/40 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.

    Adebayo blossomed into the All-Star we pegged him as here at Hoop Ball.. The double-double machine was efficient from all areas of the floor and ran point for the Heat the majority of the time, especially on his own defensive rebounds as shown by his 5.1 dimes per-game. Adebayo's only 22 years old and posted top-40 value during his first year as a starter. The ceiling is the heavens.

  • Derrick Jones Jr.
    SF, Miami Heat

    Derrick Jones averaged 8.9 points, 0.7 3s, 4.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks on .514 shooting in 51 games for 155/114 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.

    Jones' amazing leaping ability was what made him a household name as he was always astounding in the dunk contests, but he was able to translate the athleticism into some juicy fantasy value this year. He wasn't able to consistently provide value, which is something many Heat forwards struggle to do, but the defensive numbers gave him some nice upside as a flier/waiver wire pick.

  • Kendrick Nunn
    PG, Miami Heat

    Kendrick Nunn averaged 29.8 minutes, 15.6 points, 2.1 3s, 2.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.2 blocks on .448 shooting in 62 games for 127/132 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.

    Nunn came out of no where this year and took over the reins as the Heat's primary scorer when Jimmy Butler missed the first few games due to the birth of his child. There wasn't any draft hype around Nunn in 2018 due to him pleading guilty to a charge of misdemeanor battery while in college, but the Heat signed him a year later to give him a shot. It would pay off on the basketball court as he was able to make a name for himself. Everything broke right for Nunn this season for him to crack top-130 value so it's hard to love the idea of him repeating his 2019-2020 breakout season.

  • Kelly Olynyk
    C, Miami Heat

    Kelly Olynyk averaged 7.7 points, 1.4 3s, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.3 blocks on .476 shooting for 192/188 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.

    Olynyk was stuck in another up-and-down season with the carousel of forwards the Heat were playing. There was fatigue at the beginning of the year due to playing in the FIBA World Cup and he was slow to recover from the tiredness and some injuries. He also had to compete with even more bodies this season and the emergence of Bam Adebayo meant even less minutes for Olynyk. His stat set and skills are there, but the opportunity wasn't,

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Miami Heat

    Andre Iguodala averaged 4.4 points, 0.6 3s, 3.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.1 blocks on .490 shooting in 14 games for 237/257 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.

    Iguodala's holdout on the Grizzlies caused some controversy, but it worked out for him in the end as Pat Riley saved his season by trading for him and getting him on a contending team. His fantasy value was fringe on the Warriors so it was unlikely he would hold any on the Heat, but his real life impact was the big headline on the day he was traded. Expect to see Iggy play some real playoff minutes guarding the opposing team's best scorers as he can still defend with the best of them.

  • Solomon Hill
    SF, Miami Heat

    Solomon Hill averaged 5.4 points, 1.1 3s, 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.2 blocks on .403 shooting for 289/284 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.

    Hill only played in six out of the 11 games for the Heat since being traded in a package with Jae Crowder and was an afterthought in the rotation. The Heat traded for Crowder and Hill was thrown in so it makes sense to see his playing time dip.

  • Kz Okpala
    F, Miami Heat

    Kz Okpala averaged 1.4 points, 1.0 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.2 blocks on .600 shooting in five games for 438/428 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.

    Okpala spent most of his season in the G-league to develop his skills as the second round pick only played in five games this year.

  • Gabe Vincent
    PG, Miami Heat

    Gabe Vincent averaged 2.0 points, 0.7 3s, 0.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 0.2 steals on .211 shooting in six games for 484/474 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.

    Vincent was signed for his sharpshooting skills and although the averages don't show it, he has the ability to hit the deep ball which is why he remains on the Heat roster. He won't get any real minutes unless those ahead of him in the rotation sit or get hurt.

  • Udonis Haslem
    PF, Miami Heat

    Udonis Haslem averaged 1.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in three games of action for 490/484 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.

    The most useful information from this blurb will be the fact that Haslem actually got off the bench for three games this season. Other than that, he was a veteran signing to help mentor the Heat and we wouldn't be surprised if he sticks around the organization even after he retires as a player.

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