• The Lakers overcame terrible stretches to defeat the Bulls 108-103 Friday for their fourth consecutive win.

    Los Angeles outplayed the Bulls for the bulk of Friday’s contest, taking large leads multiple times and then allowing Chicago right back in. The first such stretch occurred in the first quarter when the Lakers opened a 32-17 run on the merit of Brook Lopez’s performance.

    Lopez was clearly motivated by the matchup with his brother Robin, coming out aggressive and active from the onset. He set a physical tone with pivotal plays including a reverse dunk and multiple defensive highlights in the first quarter alone. He finished the period with nine points, three rebounds, one assist and two blocks. The Bulls went on an 8-0 run after he exited, bringing the game to within 32-25.

    The second quarter was much of the same as the Lakers fought hard to build a 52-39 lead, only to allow the Bulls to finish the quarter with a series of runs (9-2 was the largest), narrowing the lead to 62-57 at the half. One element that allowed Chicago to stay in the game was a tremendous disparity from the 3-point line where they converted 9-of-18 compared to 4-of-13 for the Lakers.

    After allowing the Bulls to tie the game at 68, the Lakers went on an 11-0 run , eventually ending the third with a twelve-point advantage — the game was far from over.

    Los Angeles didn’t make a field goal from 10:38 remaining until the 4:36 mark of the fourth quarter, getting outscored 16-1 and allowing the Bulls to take a 92-90 run, putting the outcome of the game in peril.

    At that point, Brandon Ingram took over the game, hitting several important shots and creating opportunities for his teammates. In a game of runs, the Lakers had the last laugh, streaking from a tie game at 96 to a 107-100 advantage to hold on for the win. Los Angeles even managed to knock down 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

    Ingram finished with 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists, one steal, and a game-high plus-22 rating while making 10-of-18 from the field. He helped the Lakers execute down the stretch and win a game that they might have lost earlier in the season.

    Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson continued their strong play of late as well. Randle accumulated 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and one steal while Clarkson tallied 19 points, two rebounds and four assists.

    One of the keys to victory was the aforementioned Lopez, who clearly won the battle of the Lopez twins. He accrued 17 points, six rebounds, one assist and two blocks while making 7-of-13 from the floor. He was much more aggressive than usual, playing in the post and scoring only three of his points from behind the arc. It might behoove the Lakers to post a picture of Robin in Brook’s locker before every game as this was a dominant performance in only 20 minutes.

    Robin Lopez only contributed eight points, four rebounds, one assist and one block.

    The Bulls got spirited performances from several of their bench players to keep this game close and pick up the slack for their lackluster starters. Included in that list were Nikola Mirotic (18 points, three assists, four rebounds and two blocks), Bobby Portis, whom the Laker reserves could not match physically (16 points, nine rebounds and plus-19 rating), and Denzel Valentine (16 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and one block).

    Rookie sensation Lauri Markkanen contributed 11 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks but struggled from the field to the tune of 3-of-10 shooting.

    The Lakers won this game with maturity, hard-nosed defense, execution and made free throws; demonstrating growth that will excite their fan base and raise expectations going forward. The team is clearly bonding and is having fun as is evident with their social media comments regarding Kyle Kuzma’s jacket, forcing him to wear it during his post-game interview and Ingram referencing it in his interview as well. They are enjoying each other’s company and most importantly, they are enjoying winning.

    Key Stats and Observations

    • The Bulls had a tremendous advantage from the 3-point line converting 17-of-36 (47.2 percent) vs. 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) for the Lakers. That accounts for a 36-point advantage for Chicago that the Lakers were able to overcome.
    • Los Angeles was outrebounded in the game, particularly on the offensive glass where Chicago held a 16-10 edge, 53-48 overall.
    • The Lakers once again did a great job of not turning the ball over with only nine miscues compared to 14 for the Bulls.
    • Los Angeles was able to take advantage of the turnover disparity, and their ability to push the ball and translate it to a 33-11 advantage in fast break points.
    • The Lakers relied on one of their season-long strengths in outscoring the Bulls 52-30 in the paint.
    • For once free throw percentage was in the Lakers favor — their ability to knock down their free throws, making 21-of-28 (75.0 percent) from the line vs. 16-of-24 for the Bulls (66.7 percent) was vital in swinging the game in the Lakers’ direction.

    Up Next

    The Lakers head north of the border to take on the Raptors (32-15) on Sunday. Toronto is coming off a tough 97-93 loss to Utah on Friday night.

    The strength of the Raptors is their backcourt composed of Kyle Lowry and All-Star starter DeMar DeRozan. The latter is a Los Angeles native who is having a career-year averaging 24.7 points 4.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

    Los Angeles will be looking to win five games in a row for the first time all year, their ninth out of eleven and fourth in a row without Lonzo Ball.

Fantasy News

  • Delon Wright
    PG, Dallas Mavericks

    Delon Wright scored an efficient 15 points off the bench for Dallas on 6-of-8 shooting, adding four rebounds, one assist and three steals in Saturday's win over Toronto.

    Wright played well and was extremely efficient for the Mavs. The three steals are great and his value lies within his abilities to generate defensive statistics.

  • Jerome Robinson
    SG, Los Angeles Clippers

    A career night for Jerome Robinson who scored 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, adding five 3's, four rebounds, one assist, two steals and two blocks in Saturday's win over the Hawks.

    Robinson got an extended run in tonight's 150-101 blowout win over the Hawks. A nice game for the second-year player.

  • Terance Mann
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Getting the start, Terance Mann scored a career-high 13 points in 33 minutes of action, adding six rebounds and eight assists in Saturday's blowout win over the Hawks.

    With teammate Patrick Beverley out, Mann got the start and made the most of it earning career highs in points, rebounds, and assists. This is a great game for him, and something for him to build off of, but this type of output should not be expected again pending prolonged injuries to Beverley.

  • Paul George
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Paul George was on fire in Saturday's 150-101 blowout win against the Hawks scoring 37 points in 20 minutes, adding four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

    In only his second game back from injury, George has scored 70 points in 44 minutes of total play. Needless to say he has already found his groove. Had the game not been a blowout from the start there is no telling how many more points he would have racked up. It is also worth noting that he shot 11-of-11 from the line tonight-coupled with the 10-of-10 from last game- he has not missed a FT yet. This torrid pace is probably not sustainable but the high usage and excellent efficiency, paired with "load-management" nights for teammate Kawhi Leonard, make George a possible top-10 player this year pending any re-occurring shoulder issues.

  • Trae Young
    PG, Atlanta Hawks

    Trae Young scored 20 points (4-of-16 from the floor and 10-of-12 from the line) on Saturday with six assists and two threes in a 150-101 blowout loss vs. the Clippers.

    The Hawks were destroyed on Saturday so throw this game out the window. Young is a top-30 player so far with averages of 26.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 3.3 threes. Forget about this game and enjoy watching Trae post top-20 value this season.

  • Ivica Zubac
    C, Los Angeles Clippers

    Ivica Zubac fouled out in only 17 minutes of play after scoring seven points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocks in Saturday's win over the Hawks.

    In less than 16 minutes a game this season Zubac is providing top-100 value thanks to highly efficient FG and FT percentage, high rebounds and good blocks without hurting owners anywhere. He is an easy player to own that can be picked up and dropped on the waiver-wire without raising too many eyebrows.

  • De'Andre Hunter
    SF, Atlanta Hawks

    De'Andre Hunter struggled from the floor on Saturday, shooting 5-of-14 on his way to scoring 12 points.

    Hunter added a steal and a three but he is hurting more than he is helping by shooting .369 from the field this season. The drag on field goal percentage is too big to warrant rostering Hunter right now outside of deeper leagues.

  • Montrezl Harrell
    PF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Montrezl Harrell scored 17 points in a blowout win over the Hawks, adding four rebounds, two assists and a block in 23 minutes off the bench Saturday night.

    Harrell would have picked up a few more boards and points had the game been tighter but found his services not needed in this blowout win. He will continue to provide great energy off the bench for the Clippers and a high FG percentage, points, and rebounds for fantasy owners.

  • Lou Williams
    SG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Lou Williams scored an easy 25 points off the bench in Saturday's win over the Hawks on 5-of-13 from the field and a perfect 15-of-15 from the line, also adding six rebounds and six assists.

    In 23 minutes off the bench Williams scored 25 points, making more free throws than shots attempted. In this crazy game Williams was able to get to the line with ease and made a mockery of the Hawks' young defenders, who failed to adhere to the scouting report and fell for pump-fakes. This was an excellent game for the 14th-year guard.

  • Damian Jones
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    Damian Jones started and scored 11 points (4-of-7 from the field) on Saturday with three rebounds and four blocks in 23 minutes.

    Jones and Alex Len (five points in 18 minutes on Saturday) are currently fighting for playing time at center. Jones and Len are both low-end streaming options for big man stats, but neither player can be relied on right now.