• 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

  • Paul Millsap
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Paul Millsap had a throwback game on Thursday, scoring 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting with nine rebounds, two assists and two triples.

    Millsap continues to turn back the clock with his performances and he did so in only 27 minutes tonight. This is all with Jerami Grant (12 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two triples) also providing value. Mason Plumlee (10 points, seven rebounds and two assists) was actually vital in tonight's double-digit deficit comeback. The main guy to own right now is Millsap, but beware of his mileage.

  • Taurean Prince
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    Tauren Prince had an inefficient night shooting the ball on Thursday, going 5-for-15 from the floor on his way to 12 points with eight rebounds, two assists and two triples.

    Prince should be able to churn out some standard-league value while Caris LeVert (thumb) is sidelined for the next few weeks. He won't be as good as he was on the Hawks. but the points, triples and steals are still there and he's a top-90 player so far this year.

  • Joe Harris
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    Joe Harris scored nine points on 4-of-11 shooting with three rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer on Thursday.

    Harris was held to only nine points tonight and only attempted three shots from deep. He should be much better on the next one and while he won't light up the scoreboard, the triples should come at a higher rate.

  • Nikola Jokic
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets to their 101-93 win over the Nets on Thursday with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with 10 rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers.

    Jokic's line is still under what he usually delivers and again, we're preaching patience here. He always takes a bit of time to warm up and there's no doubt in our minds that he'll be due for a top-15 finish.

  • Will Barton
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Will Barton played a game-high 38 minutes on Thursday, scoring 17 points on 8-of-17 shooting with six rebounds and four assists.

    Barton had another solid night scoring the ball and the Nuggets offense should have enough usage for him to provide some decent value. The Nuggets are actually sputtering on offense, ranked 22th in ORTG on the year and they'll need Barton to continue to be himself on offense.

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Malik Beasley sat out Thursday's game vs. the Nets with an illness.

    Beasley sitting gave more time for Monte Morris (19 minutes, 10 points, three rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a triple) and it's a known fact that Morris is standard-league value when he gets enough time. It's just a short-term injury though, so Beasley should be re-inserted again soon.

  • Jamal Murray
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    Jamal Murray had an awful game on Thursday, scoring four points on 1-of-11 shooting to go with five rebounds, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer.

    Murray was getting all of the attention and collapsed on every time he drove in the paint. He's prone to some shooting slumps like this, but as we've seen before, he busts out of them in a huge way.

  • Gary Harris
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Gary Harris filled up the stat sheet on Thursday, scoring ten points on 4-of-7 shooting with seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, a block and two triples.

    Harris's line was exactly what owners should be seeking. He got it done across the board and hit his triples. The top-40 days are long gone, but Harris is more than serviceable for standard leagues as the main man in Denver at shooting guard.

  • Kyrie Irving
    PG, Brooklyn Nets

    Kyrie Irving scored 17 points on 8-of-20 shooting to go with six rebounds, nine assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in Thursday's 93-101 loss to the Nuggets.

    Irving couldn't get his shot to fall in the second half, but he still delivered on the dimes tonight. He's still one of the top players in the league and if a slow stretch can pry open even the smallest buy-low window, you have to pounce on it. The only warning sign is his health as he played through a shoulder injury today.

  • Jarrett Allen
    C, Brooklyn Nets

    Jarret Allen scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and a block on Thursday.

    Allen had a monster game, contesting almost every shot in the paint, but the Nets just couldn't keep things going in the second half. He's clearly the better player between he and DeAndre Jordan (17 minutes, zero points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a block) and it's good to see the minutes reflect that.