• The Lakers (23-34) take on the Mavericks (18-40) on Friday night, their first game since the All-Star break. Los Angeles will look to exact some revenge for an embarrassing 130-123 defeat in Dallas, a loss that sent the Lakers into a three-game tailspin.

    Los Angeles will welcome back its starting point guard, No. 2 overall draft pick Lonzo Ball, who has been out of action since suffering a knee injury (MCL sprain) January 13. For the season he is averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 assists, 7.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks. The Lakers have missed his vision, unselfishness, and ability to affect the game on the defensive end with his size and length. He will have to influence the game in a short stint as he is expected to have a minutes limit — he will also miss Saturday’s game against the Kings due his ongoing recovery and the back-to-back scheduling.

    The Lakers have yet to win a game since their blockbuster trade deadline deal in which they shipped Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a 2018 first round draft pick.

    Thomas continues to work his way back into his 2017 MVP candidate shape after suffering a hip injury in the playoffs last year while competing for the Boston Celtics. He has had some success while in purple and gold but has also struggled at times, matching his 13 assists with 13 turnovers. His style of play is very different from Ball; he looks to score more and holds the ball for longer periods — perhaps the two will complement each other perfectly. The two were observed shooting 3-pointers together after practice this week as they prepared to take the court together for the first time.

    The Mavericks, who are tied for the second-worst record in the NBA, had a simply atrocious All-Star break with regard to news surrounding the franchise. A report came out describing a culture of sexual harassment, their owner Mark Cuban was fined 600k for openly admitting that the team will benefit from tanking the rest of the season and then to top it off, rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was mentioned in an article today as having accepted money from an agent while in college at North Carolina State.

    Stats and Observations

    • Dallas averages only 102.1 (26th) points per game for the season vs. 107.3 (11th) points per game for the Lakers. That didn’t stop the Mavericks from hanging 130 points on the Lakers in their most recent matchup, a disheartening loss for Los Angeles.
    • The Mavericks turn the ball over only 12.3 times per game (1st) compared to the Lakers who struggle in that department with 16.0 turnovers per game (29th).
    • Dallas is shooting only 44.6 percent from the field (24th) while the Lakers shoot 45.9 percent (15th). However, Los Angeles allowed the Mavericks to shoot 53.9 percent in their last encounter.
    • The Lakers generally dominate the paint, scoring 53.5 points per game (1st) and grabbing 46.2 rebounds per game (2nd). In the last matchup with Dallas they conceded 52 points in the paint and were outrebounded 47-44, this by a team that for the season averages 38.5 points per game in the paint (30th) and 40.6 rebounds per game (27th).

    Projected Starting Rosters

    Lakers

    Lonzo Ball (PG)

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)

    Brandon Ingram (SF)

    Julius Randle (PF)

    Brook Lopez (C)

    Mavericks

    J.J. Barea (PG)

    Dennis Smith Jr. (SG)

    Wesley Matthews (SF)

    Harrison Barnes (PF)

    Dirk Nowitzki (C)

    Injury Report

    Lakers

    Channing Frye (appendectomy) – OUT

    Mavericks

    Nerlens Noel (thumb) – OUT

    Seth Curry (leg) – OUT

    Dorian Finney-Smith (quad) – OUT

    Broadcast Information

    Time: 7:30 PM PST, 10:30 PM EST

    Television: SPECSN/SPECD, FSSW, NBA TV CANADA, ESPN

    Radio: 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES, ESPN 103.3 FM, 1270 AM (ESP)

Fantasy News

  • Anthony Davis
    PF-C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Anthony Davis has high expectations for the Lakers when they resume play later in July in Orlando, citing the long layoff as a favorable development for his squad.

    As if the Lakers weren't already squarely in the hunt for an NBA championship. When speaking to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Davis said that he believes their "chances are higher just because we’re all rested and we’re all ready to go.” Depth seems to be the most glaring issue potentially facing the Lakers as they prepare to make the trip to Disney World, as defensive stalwart Avery Bradley recently opted out of the remainder of the season. Bradley was subsequently replaced by well-traveled veteran guard J.R. Smith (who has a long history of playoff runs alongside LeBron James with the Cavs), but the team is still unsure of veteran center Dwight Howard's status the rest of the way. Other than Howard, the Lakers' roster is seemingly set for Orlando. Davis sounds like he's ready to rock, however.

    Source: ESPN

  • Deng Adel
    PF, Brooklyn Nets

    Deng Adel, who played 19 games for the Cavs last season as a two-way player, is being pursued by the Illawara Hawks of Australia's NBL, which, notably was the team 18-year-old LaMelo Ball played for last season (and has attempted to purchase).

    Adel had two short stints before last season with the Rockets and Nets in the Summer League and the preseason, respectively. He was originally a standout at Louisville but went undrafted in 2018 before hitching on with the Cavs on a two-way pact. This season he had been playing for the Long Island Nets, the Nets' G League affiliate, prior to the pause and ultimately the end of the G League season. Adel had registered averages of 11.1 points, 4.2 boards and 2.6 assists to that point. Also of note, Adel spent the lion's share of his childhood in Australia after his family moved from South Sudan around the time he was eight.

    Source: Sportando

  • Darius Miller
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Darius Miller is unsure if he will be able to play in Orlando, as he continues to recover from a torn a ruptured right Achillies.

    Due to the lockdown, Miller has been unable to participate in any live-action, or else he would have played in 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 by now. At this point, it would be surprising for the Pelicans to risk his health by pushing for him to participate in the eight-game regular season.

    Source: Will Guillory on Twitter

  • JJ Redick
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans

    J.J. Redick has intentionally lost 10 pounds since the quarantine began.

    Redick's goal was to get back to his playing weight during his college days at Duke, and it's not a surprise that one of the most dedicated workers in the league was able to drop weight during the coronavirus pandemic. Redick's shooting will be sorely needed when the Pelicans try to chase down the Grizzlies for a playoff spot, but if he does not come out of the gates making an impact the Pelicans are likely to shift to another hot hand on their deep roster. Redick has only seen 26.4 minutes per game this season, and that is going to limit his impact to strictly 3-pointers (2.9 per game).

    Source: Daniel Sallerson on Twitter

  • Tyler Herro
    PG, Miami Heat

    Tyler Herro said the time off allowed his right ankle to fully recover.

    Herro returned to action just before the shutdown due to COVID-19. With the ankle back to 100 percent, he will face no restrictions when play picks back up in Orlando. While Herro's scoring prowess caused some increased expectations for his rookie season, he's largely been an afterthought for the Heat. He can clearly shoot the rock (2.1 treys on .391 shooting), but the rest of his game is lacking, and the Heat do not have time to devote to rookie development when the season resumes.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Kent Bazemore
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Kent Bazemore, who has been a welcomed presence since joining the Kings in January, reiterated that he'd like to stay with the team.

    Bazemore had a lot of opportunity before him when the Blazers were faltering due to injuries at the start of the season and he failed to take advantage. However, a change of scenery made a significant difference, as his field goal percentage leaped from .347 with the Blazers, to .426 with the Kings, and his scoring also increased from 7.9 points to 10.3 points per contest. He sounds locked in as the Kings prepare for the Orlando bubble, but a healthy Kings' roster could handicap his opportunity for playing time when things start back up.

    Source: James Ham on Twitter

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Shams Charania is reporting that Victor Oladipo will sit out the remainder of the Pacers' season.

    Oladipo decided to exercise caution as his quad tendon is still susceptible to a relapse, and the circumstances of the Orlando bubble are anything but predictable. It's a big hit to the Pacers chances when play resumes, but Oladipo should be close to 100 percent next year as he continues his rehab and seeks to further strengthen his quad tendon. This season was a flop as he only appeared in 13 games, but Oladipo should be looking to return fully recovered and seeking early-round value next year. The Pacers will continue leaning on their depth to fill the void, and Malcolm Brogdon will continue to be the lead guard running the show in Indiana.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Jimmy Butler
    SG, Miami Heat

    After a second member of the Heat tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the team practice facilities have been closed to all activities, with an exception for testing.

    Derrick Jones Jr. had tested positive earlier in the week, and it has not been reported who the latest player to test positive for the coronavirus is. This is a precautionary measure that many teams are undertaking as they prepare to shift operations to the Orlando bubble. The Heat will resume team activities there on July 8.

    Source: Ethan J Skolnick on Twitter

  • Gordon Hayward
    SF, Boston Celtics

    Both Gordon Hayward and Vincent Poirier plan to leave the NBA bubble in September, when their respective partners are set to give birth.

    Both are expected to be given permission to leave the bubble and will be able to return after a four-day quarantine. If the league's plans play out, September will be right in the thick of the playoffs, so it's unfortunate timing for the team even though it's the right decision for Hayward. It's something to keep in mind if you're planning to play fantasy games through the postseason.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    The Clippers closed their practice facility in a precautionary move after a member of their Orlando traveling party tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

    This seems like something that will continue to happen as we prepare to move teams into the Orlando bubble. We'll keep an eye on whether any specific player is infected and how that will impact the restart plans for this team.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter