• The Lakers headed into Oklahoma City as big underdogs on Wednesday, they did not disappoint, falling to the Thunder 114-90 for their 11th consecutive loss at Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Los Angeles played hard during the first and second quarters, keeping the game competitive and acquitting themselves well, despite playing on the road against a tough opponent.

    From the very beginning, the Lakers primary deficiency was on the defensive end, in particular, keeping the Thunder and Steven Adams off the offensive glass. The Lakers fell behind 33-25 at the end of the first, allowing the Thunder to shoot 15-of-27 (55.6 percent), distribute 10 assists and score 22 points in the paint. Most noticeably, the Thunder outrebounded the Lakers 11-to-6, leading to a tremendous disparity in shots attempted at 27-to-18.

    The Lakers picked up their defensive effort in the second quarter, limiting the Thunder to 27 points and even leading for brief periods. A key turning point occurred with just under four minutes remaining in the half when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had his ankle rolled up by multiple Thunder players, forcing him to leave the game with an injury to his Achilles tendon. The Lakers were only down 44-47 at the time and Caldwell-Pope was playing well with 10 points, two steals, two assists and one rebound. The Lakers would take their last lead at 52-51, but the injuries and the Thunder would prove too much to overcome.

    The second half was not kind to the Lakers as they were unfortunate enough to endure an injury to Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and possibly Tyler Ennis as well. As far as basketball was concerned, the Lakers simply could not keep the Thunder and Steven Adams off the offensive boards, allowing six offensive rebounds in the third quarter alone. Oklahoma City used a 42-18 run to pull away — relegating the fourth quarter to garbage time. Los Angeles was outscored 33-18 in the third quarter.

    Adams was the player of the game for the Thunder; he dominated the Lakers, grabbing rebound after rebound on the offensive end and simply crushed Laker morale. — he did whatever he wanted to with the Laker big men. He finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, one assist, one block and a plus-24 rating while making 10-of-12 shots. The Lakers simply had no answer for his size, strength or desire. After the game, Kyle Kuzma remarked that the Thunder “big-boyed” the Lakers on the night — his description was quite apt.

    He was joined by Carmelo Anthony who scored 27 points in 27 minutes, adding three rebounds, two assists, one steal and a game-leading plus-27 rating. He knocked down 10-of-15 from the field, 4-of-6 from 3-point distance and 3-of-3 from the free throw line.

    Russell Westbrook was relatively held in check as he only accrued 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals while making only 8-of-22 from the floor.

    Julius Randle led the Lakers with 16 points, three assists, one block and only one rebound. He was minus-24 for the game but did shoot 8-of-11 from the field, although he did not score after halftime. The only other Laker to reach double-figures was Caldwell-Pope who left the game before halftime.

    Brook Lopez was thoroughly outplayed by Adams as he finished with five points, two assists, two rebounds, three turnovers and a minus-17 rating. He did not look good during this game getting out-worked and outmaneuvered by Adams on the glass while looking lost on the offensive end, making poor decisions with the ball while demonstrating poor shot selection. He will need to step up his game significantly if the Lakers’ injuries linger in any way.

    The Lakers got relatively good news after the game with regard to their injuries. Caldwell-Pope had an x-ray that was negative — they will have to hope that future tests and examinations don’t reveal severe injuries as tonight has the potential of being an extremely costly game for them. The report after the game was the Ingram suffered only a minor tweak of his ankle injury and could have returned if the game was more competitive. The Lakers hope to get similarly good news as it pertains to all of their current injuries.

    Key Stats and Observations

    • The Lakers allowed a season-high 21 offensive rebounds as well as 26 second-chance points. Overall, the Lakers were outrebounded 54-30.
    • Los Angeles shot well for the game making 46.9 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from 3-point range and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. However, due to their inability to rebound they had 14 fewer shot attempts from the field as well as eight fewer attempts from the free throw line.

    Up Next

    The Lakers (15-28) return home to take on the Pacers (24-20) on Friday.

    Los Angeles is still expecting to be without starting point guard Lonzo Ball, whom the Lakers are still win-less without on the season. The Lakers may also be without several other key players.

    The Lakers played a key role in the development of the Pacers’ franchise as the rumors that star player Paul George was interested in returning home to Los Angeles provided the impetus for the Pacers to make a blockbuster deal, sending away George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Oladipo, a former Hoosier State product, has been spectacular in his first year with Indiana averaging 24.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. Sabonis has had a breakout season as well with 12.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

    The Pacers will be missing starting center Myles Turner who is still nursing a ligament sprain in his shooting elbow.

     

Fantasy News

  • Anthony Davis
    PF-C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Anthony Davis finished as the No. 1/2 player in 8/9-cat formats in per-game value and had a fairly healthy season as well.

    Davis came through as the Lakers had hoped when they traded away all of their young core except for Kyle Kuzma to get him. However, nothing is complete until they bring home a championship. He did not see his role change much at all from his transition from the pelicans to the Lakers as his stats are nearly identical to his seasons with the Pelicans. Davis should be all the way at the top of everyone's draft boards heading into next season as the only thing that will ever stand in his way of being a top-3 value is his health.

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma regressed significantly in the 2019-20 season as he played just 24.8 minutes per game and only started seven games.

    Kuzma was seeing above 30 minutes per game and starting most games for his first two seasons, so this was a completely new role that he had in issue adjusting to. He saw a decrease in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. Those decreases led to him finishing as a top-250/280 value in 8/9-cat formats. He could bounce back next season if the Lakers give him more minutes, but we could see the one-dimensionality of his game come back to bite him if he remains a role player.

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Dwight Howard had a fantastic season as a reserve for the Lakers as he averaged 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game on 73.2-percent shooting.

    Howard saw more minutes per game than the starter, JaVale McGee, but remained on the bench as he was thriving in that role. There were doubts about Howard embracing a bench role and taking it seriously prior to the Lakers signing him, but he came through big time and showed up when the Lakers needed it most. He hovered around top-220 value in 8/9-cat formats and was a solid late-round target for teams that were punting free-throw percentage. He could maintain similar value if the Lakers decide to re-sign him for next season.

  • JaVale McGee
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    JaVale McGee had a much better 2018-19 season than he did 2019-20 season due to the entrance of Dwight Howard, but he still maintained late-round value.

    McGee's minutes per game decreased from 22.3 to 16.8, but he was still able to maintain his dominance in blocks and field goal percentage. He averaged 1.5 blocks per game and shot 64-percent from the field. McGee should be a late-round target in fantasy as long as he is seeing above 15 minutes per game with the Lakers.

  • Quinn Cook
    PG, Los Angeles Lakers

    Quinn Cook began the season playing every game at about 15 minutes per game, but his role diminished as the season progressed with the Lakers.

    Cook actually saw less minutes this season than he did with the Warriors over the past two seasons, which caused him to have the worst fantasy season of his career. He finished outside the top-400 in per-game value in 8/9-cat formats. Cook thrived as the starter in games that Stephen Curry missed during the 2018-19 season, so it was tough to see his role decrease significantly with the Lakers. He is signed with the Lakers for another season, so fantasy owners should stay away from Cook in next year's draft.

  • Naz Mitrou-Long
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Naz Mitrou-Long was unable to make much of a splash in 2019-20, recording averages of 4.7 points, 0.7 threes, 2.3 assists and 0.3 steals in 14.2 minutes per game.

    Mitrou-Long only took to the court in three games, limiting his per-game value to the top-350 and his value by totals in the top-450. He was not fantasy-viable asset and will not likely be an impact-player anytime soon.

  • Markieff Morris
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Markieff Morris did not play well in his eight-game stint with Lakers after being bought out by the Pistons.

    Morris was a top-220/250 asset in 8/9-cat formats for the season overall. However, in his eight games with the Lakers he averaged 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game on 38.9-percent shooting. He was solid option in 18-plus team formats due to the volume he was getting with the Pistons, but that faded once his time with the Lakers began. His fantasy value will be largely dependent on the role he receives with whatever team signs him for next season. Regardless, it is unlikely that Morris will finish inside the top-150 with any team unless he is seeing solid minutes as a starter.

  • Rajon Rondo
    PG, Los Angeles Lakers

    Rajon Rondo had the worst fantasy season of his career as his role was changed from starting point guard to reserve guard heading into the 2019-20 season.

    Rondo averaged the lowest minutes out of any season in his career with just 20.5 per game. The decrease in minutes caused a dip in his stats that led to him finishing outside the top-220 in per-game value in 8-cat and 9-cat formats. Typically, Rondo was a steals and assists specialist in all formats, but the steals were not there this year as he averaged just 0.8 per game. However, he maintained the assists specialist role and was useful in 18-plus team formats for strictly assists. Rondo’s days as a starter are likely over and we could see him maintain a deep-league assists specialist role going forward.

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    LeBron James has been healthy and motivated while averaging 34.9 mpg over 60 games as a top-8/11 (8-cat/9-cat) per game player this season, as he leads the Lakers in pursuit of the NBA title.

    King James swiftly put any rumors of his demise to rest, and he has the Lakers well ahead of the field in the Western Conference. He was making an MVP push before the stoppage in play and has put up monstrous averages of 25.7 points, a league-leading 10.6 assists, 7.9 rebounds, 2.2 3-pointers, 1.2 steals and 0.5 blocks on the strength of .498 shooting from the field. His performance from the line remains a blemish (.697 percent on 5.7 FTA), and the 4.0 turnovers don't help in 9-cat leagues, but LeBron has lived up to his first-round draft day value.

  • Kostas Antetokounmpo
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kostas Antetokounmpo appeared in just three games for the Lakers during the 2019-20 season as he was primarily in the G-League.

    Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of League MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, was the last pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and has failed to secure a steady role with any team thus far. He averaged 14.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game on 62.3-percent shooting in 38 games for the South Bay Lakers. He was signed to a two-way contract with the Lakers, but due to their stacked roster he was unable to see much playing time.

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