January 27, 2018, 1:03 am
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.
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.
July 6, 2020, 7:19 pmJeff TeaguePG, Atlanta Hawks
Jeff Teague's production fell off in a big way following a January trade from the Wolves to the Hawks, causing him to end with top-160 value in 8-category leagues.
The Wolves began starting Jarrett Culver over Teague, eventually leading to the swap with the Hawks. Teague possessed just top-180 value in 9-category and his production suffered even on a per-minute basis with the Hawks. During 34 games with the Wolves, he averaged 13.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 6.1 assists. Over 25 contests with the Hawks, he managed only 7.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per contest. While Teague was stuck behind Trae Young and can sign elsewhere in free agency, it's fair to ask whether his best fantasy days are behind him.
July 6, 2020, 6:14 pmDamian JonesC, Atlanta Hawks
Damian Jones was largely a blocks specialist in 2019-20, holding top-230 value in 9-category leagues while ranking only among the top 260 in 8-category.
Jones actually posted similar numbers to his final season of 2018-19 with the Warriors, albeit in a larger sample size of 55 contests. He averaged 5.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.7 blocks, and 0.5 steals in 16.1 minutes per game. Jones saw an uptick in free-throw percentage during 2019-20, which rose to 73.8 percent from 64.9 percent the season prior. However, his assists average dropped from 1.2 while his blocks average fell from a 2018-19 average of 1.0. The Hawks deployed too many big men for reserves like Jones to be particularly valuable, and the acquisition of Clint Capela could further complicate the situation going forward.
July 6, 2020, 5:18 pmGerald GreenSG, Denver Nuggets
Gerald Green (broken left foot) has been medically cleared to play but will not participate in games when the NBA restarts.
Green missed all of 2019-20 but was traded to the Nuggets in February before being waived. Some teams were interested in signing Green in June, but he declined for family reasons. Green will be able to sign as a free agent in October but is unlikely to hold much fantasy appeal.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
July 6, 2020, 5:01 pmVince CarterSG, Atlanta Hawks
Vince Carter ranked within the top 350 in 9-category leagues during his final NBA season of 2019-20, averaging 5.0 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.4 steals, and 0.4 blocks.
Carter shot 35.2 percent from the floor, the second worst mark in his career, while he garnered a career-low 14.6 minutes per game. None of that should hurt his legacy as an eight-time All-Star and fan favorite. When Carter made his final career basket on March 12, his smile seemed to foreshadow an eventual retirement which came in late June. Carter averaged 16.7 points over his career but twice ended a season with an average of 27 points or greater.
July 6, 2020, 4:25 pmBruno FernandoPF, Atlanta Hawks
Bruno Fernando finished the 2019-20 season as a top-370/380 player (8/9 cat.) while averaging 4.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.3 blocks, and 0.3 steals on 51.8 percent shooting from the field.
The rookie out of Maryland didn't exactly finish strong, scoring just 1.6 points per game over five contests in March. The native of Angola found himself behind John Collins, De'Andre Hunter, and Dewayne Dedmon on the frontcourt depth chart. The Hawks also added Clint Capela who is under contract for three more seasons. Fernando's campaign did feature a few bright spots, especially when Dedmon missed time due to injury. However, Fernando would need a step up in playing time to become fantasy relevant in most leagues.
July 6, 2020, 2:55 pmDeAndre' BembrySF, Atlanta Hawks
DeAndre' Bembry (abdominal pain/right hand surgery) missed the final 23 games of the 2019-20 season, finishing with top-225/240 (8/9-cat) fantasy value.
Bembry has always been a player we've liked as a deep-league option and potential flier in shallower formats, but between injuries and the rise of younger forwards in Atlanta it looks like he might need a change of scenery to maximize his output. There was still some things to like about Bembry's campaign — 3.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.4 blocks in 21.3 mpg — but his poor free throw shooting (.542) and inability to stretch the floor (.231) really hurt his case for more minutes, despite a sneakily versatile skillset. Bembry should always maintain steals specialist appeal but he's only a deep-league target going forward unless something changes.
July 6, 2020, 2:51 pmBrandon GoodwinPG, Atlanta Hawks
Brandon Goodwin finished the 2019-20 campaign as a top-340/350 player (8/9-cat), averaging 6.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.8 triples in 12.7 minutes per contest.
Goodwin did manage to have a career-best performance with 21 points against the Celtics in early February, but his fantasy appeal really only existed when Trae Young suffered a sprained ankle. Goodwin belongs in the league as a solid depth option but doesn't have a place on your fantasy rosters.
July 6, 2020, 2:49 pmTreveon GrahamSF, Atlanta Hawks
Treveon Graham wrapped up the 2019-20 campaign outside the top-400.
Graham started the season off as a starter for the Wolves, averaging 20.1 minutes across 33 games, but eventually missed time with some minor injuries and then fell out of favor with Minnesota reshaping its roster and leaning towards its youth. A trade to Atlanta was the end of his already-modest fantasy value, as he averaged just 12.1 minutes in his 22 games with the Hawks. Formerly viewed as a 3-and-D bench piece, Graham shot just .275 from beyond the arc after going .297 last season with Brooklyn. He shouldn't be on your fantasy radars for next year.
July 6, 2020, 2:44 pmSkal LabissierePF, Atlanta Hawks
Skal Labissiere never suited up for the Hawks after a deadline trade.
Labissiere was actually getting minutes for a banged up Blazers squad but was felled by a cartilage issue in his left knee and didn't play after December 28. Although his 3-point shooting tanked (23.1%), Skal did have a solid showing in limited minutes with 5.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.9 blocks and a .551 mark from the field in 17.2 minutes per contest. He finished right around the top-250 and will not be a consideration in most fantasy formats going forward, despite the modest bounce-back campaign.
July 6, 2020, 2:41 pmCam ReddishG-F, Atlanta Hawks
Cam Reddish offered up a mixed bag in his first NBA season, finishing as a top-180/200 (8/9-cat) player despite a strong finish to the year.
Reddish really struggled out of the gates but found his footing as the year progressed, holding top-100 value for about a month beginning in late January. Unsurprisingly, that came when his scoring numbers ballooned and his percentages crawled out of the gutter. All told, Reddish averaged 10.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers per game while shooting .384 from the field. The Hawks are pretty crowded on the wing so Reddish will need to establish himself both in the rotation and as a more efficient scorer if he's to be viewed as more than a late-round flier type next season.