February 26, 2018, 6:02 pm
The Lakers (25-34) take on the Hawks (18-42) on Monday in the first leg of a three-game road trip.
Los Angeles will look to win their third game in a row, while the Hawks will try to earn a victory at home after enduring a three-game road losing streak.
Atlanta is led by point guard Dennis Schroder who averages 19.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.1 steals on the season. He is coming off a rough game in which he accrued only nine points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and four turnovers. He was not alone in his struggles, as the entire team was blown out 116-93 by the Indiana Pacers.
One glimmer of hope for Atlanta is rookie power forward John Collins, who recently moved into the starting lineup as the Hawks look towards the future. Collins started the last contest and finished with nine points, nine rebounds and two blocks. He is assured more playing time down the stretch as Atlanta agreed to a buyout with previous starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova so that he could sign with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Lakers were saved in their last game by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who scored 17 points in the third quarter to help Los Angeles overcome a double-digit deficit to the Sacramento Kings. He finished with season-highs in points (34) and 3-pointers (8). This game will be a homecoming of sorts for Caldwell-Pope, as he played at the University of Georgia.
Brandon Ingram continues to improve; over his last 20 games he is averaging 16.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists on 50.4 percent shooting from the field and 50.0 percent from 3-point range. He doesn’t even turn 21 years old until the beginning of next year and his ceiling is unlimited. He has started at point guard while Lonzo Ball has been recovering from a sprained MCL, demonstrating his versatility and broad skill set. Ball is expected to play in this game, though he will likely still be on a minutes restriction.
The most consistent Laker of late has been Julius Randle, who collected his fifth career triple-double two games ago and has been a dominant force down low for Los Angeles. The Lakers are 14-12 with him in the starting lineup this season.
The Lakers have crept up to 11th place in the Western Conference but are still eight games back of a playoff spot. Although the chances of them making the playoffs are almost non-existent, the strong recent play and palpable improvement in their young players continues to foster a positive aura and sense of optimism for the franchise going forward.
The last time these two teams met was January 7 and the Lakers trampled the Hawks 132-113 to snap a nine-game losing streak. That victory sparked a four-game win streak and Los Angeles is 14-7 overall since that game.
-The Lakers score 107.6 points per game (10th) vs. Atlanta who scores only 103.5 points per game (23rd).
-Los Angeles leads the league with 53.4 points in the paint per game in contrast to Atlanta who averages 40.5 points per game in the paint (28th).
-These two teams do not take good care of the ball with the Lakers committing 15.9 turnovers per game (29th) vs. 15.4 miscues per game (25th) for the Hawks. Consequently, they are also two of the worst teams with regards to opponents’ points off of turnovers with Los Angeles conceding 18.8 points per game (29th) and Atlanta 17.3 points per game (23rd).
-Controlling the glass will be crucial in this game as the Lakers are tied for allowing the most second chance points in the league with 13.8 second chance points per game while the Hawks allow 13.4 second chance points per game (25th).
-Defense is paramount for the Lakers who have a 97.9 defensive rating in their victories and a 111.1 defensive rating in their losses. For the season, the Lakers own a 105.6 defensive rating (14th) compared to 108.0 (22nd) for Atlanta.
– Both teams average 23.7 assists per game.
Projected Starting Lineups
Brandon Ingram (PG)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)
Josh Hart (SF)
Julius Randle (PF)
Brook Lopez (C)
Dennis Schroder (PG)
Kent Bazemore (SG)
Taurean Prince (SF)
John Collins (PF)
Dewayne Dedmon (C)
Channing Frye (appendectomy) – OUT
Malcolm Delaney (knee) – OUT
Tyler Cavanaugh (knee) – OUT
DeAndre’ Bembry (abdominal strain) – DOUBTFUL
Antonius Cleveland (ankle) – OUT
Isaiah Taylor (ankle) – PROBABLE
Time: 4:30 PM PST, 7:30 PM EST
Television: FOX SPORTS SOUTHEAST – ATLANTA, SPECSN/SPECD
Radio: 92.9 FM “THE GAME”, 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES
May 31, 2020, 8:10 pmKz OkpalaF, Miami Heat
Kz Okpala's offensive game has come a long way since January according to Heat Vice President and Assistant GM, Adam Simon.
Okpala is already viewed as an NBA-ready defender, and once his offensive game is up to speed the Heat will have a hard time not getting him into the rotation. He spent 20 games in the G League and five with the Heat before the suspension slowed down his progression in 2020. Okpala got off to a slow start due to injuries, and a trade on draft day took away his chance to play in summer league. While this season is unlikely to amount to anything, Okpala is someone to watch in deeper leagues next year.
Source: Miami Herald
May 31, 2020, 8:03 pmGabe VincentPG, Miami Heat
Heat Vice President and Assistant GM, Adam Simon, stated that Gabe Vincent's knee is "good to go".
It sounds like Vincent would have no problem being NBA ready if the Heat decided to call up the two-way guard when play hopefully resumes July 31. Vincent is a strong 3-point shooter with the ability to attack a closeout, but it is still unlikely the Heat will need to put him on the floor for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Source: Miami Herald
May 31, 2020, 7:51 pmShake MiltonSG, Philadelphia Sixers
According to projections by Mike O'Connor and Derek Bodner of The Athletic, Shake Milton will be a starter for the Sixers whenever play relaunches.
Milton was thriving for the Sixers when the season was suspended due to COVID-19, and some risk remains that Ben Simmons will bump him from the rotation when the stoppage in play is lifted. In 16 starts with the Sixers, Milton averaged 14.1 points, 2.2 3-pointers, 3.6 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.1 steals. As a 3-pointer specialist along, Milton has earned a slot in 12-team formats, but things are going to be more difficult when he is forced to play off-ball in a fully healthy lineup in Philadelphia
Source: The Athletic
May 31, 2020, 7:42 pmKevin DurantSF, Brooklyn Nets
On a recent ESPN podcast featuring Adrian Wojnarowski and his colleague Zach Lowe, Wojnarowski stated that Kevin Durant (torn Achilles) would not play for the Nets this year.
Wojnarowski went onto say that he had no source that had relayed that information to him. The Nets have largely been deferring to Durant and the medical staff when it comes to his prospects for playing this year. While the organization may get hopeful that KD will lace it up for a playoff run, all signs are still pointing to him waiting until 2020-21.
Source: Anthony Puccio on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 7:43 pmEric GordonSG, Houston Rockets
Rockets guard Eric Gordon has improved his diet, focused on sprints, and has apparently shed 12 pounds in the process, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
Gordon has battled knee ailments for essentially his whole career and has dealt with his fair share of nagging injuries this season as well. Losing weight to create a lighter frame would seem sensible, especially with the knee issues. The Rockets, remember, fully adopted the "small ball" lineup and move fast so Gordon is smart to keep his endurance and fitness at high levels. He's going to have to play well and make shots for the Rockets when the NBA returns to action, otherwise coach Mike D'Antoni won't be able to justify giving Gordon minutes. We don't anticipate much fantasy value out of him if and when the league starts back up.
Source: The Athletic
May 29, 2020, 6:03 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the NBA is planning for a Board of Governors vote on Thursday, during which they are expected to approve Adam Silver's proposal for re-starting the season in Orlando.
The trend lines are all moving in this direction, and this adds another bullet point on the schedule as the league prepares for launching games on July 31. Adam Silver has been able to bridge any divides between ownership and the players, and has been taking into account all his key constituent's views as we approach approval of a plan for moving forward. We still have plenty of items to resolve before we see game action, but the NBA is gaining momentum as these details come into place.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 4:44 pmBradley BealSG, Washington Wizards
On Friday, the Wizards resumed holding voluntary workouts at their practice facilities.
The Wizards have joined a chorus of teams that are returning in limited capacities to their facilities at this point. The NBA as a whole is continuing its march towards the resumption of play with a target date of July 31 now established. The District of Columbia also entered phase one of reopening today, and it makes sense for the team to proceed on a similar trajectory.
Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 4:03 pmJulius RandlePF, New York Knicks
Part of the Knicks' off-season thinking is to shape the roster around RJ Barrett, and it unclear where Julius Randle will fit in those plans.
Barrett and Randle have similar offensive styles, as they typically have an advantage relying upon their strength to attack the basket, but neither has a component deep ball at this stage in their careers. As Barrett is the younger option it makes sense that the Knicks want to sign shooters to give him more space to operate with. Randle's lousy percentages and turnovers has made for a disappointing season with the Knicks thus far, and Barrett will also need to make some strides in the shooting department to become a 12-team asset. Randle is under contract for next season is owed at least $4,000,000 in 2021-22.
May 29, 2020, 3:46 pmJayson TatumSF, Boston Celtics
On Friday, the Celtics' announced that their practice facilities would reopen on June 1.
That leaves us with four NBA teams without access to their facilities. Things are beginning to accelerate throughout the league as teams ramp up activities in hopes of resuming competition in Orlando on July 31. So far so good, but the NBA still has many hurdles to overcome on the path to resuming the season.
Source: Celtics PR on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 3:40 pmRJ BarrettSF, New York Knicks
The Knicks reopened their practice facility for voluntary workouts on Friday.
Another step in the right direction for the NBA's return to action at the end of July. It's still unclear if the Knicks will even be involved in whatever plan is agreed upon, but it is good to learn that the players can now access their facilities in New York. Only five team facilities have not opened up in some capacity at this point.
Source: Knicks PR on Twitter