• The Rockets (64-16) head to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers (34-46) on Tuesday night.

    The Lakers, who are limping to the finish line amidst a plethora of injuries, will be without Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Without those key contributors, Los Angeles will be without 42.4 points, 18.5 rebounds and 12.9 assists per game — a significant amount of production to overcome.

    One player who has been the antithesis of injury this year is Julius Randle, who is the only Laker to play in all 80 games to date. Along the way he has shown tremendous growth with 16.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game while shooting 55.7 percent from the field (up from 48.7 percent the prior season). He has put himself in a tremendous position as an impending free agent, likely forcing the Lakers to find a way to keep him in the Purple and Gold regardless of their other offseason aspirations. Expect Randle to hear the fans’ admiration early and often Tuesday night.

    Another pleasant surprise this season has been No. 30 overall draft pick Josh Hart, who has provided the team great defense, good outside shooting and impressed with his maturity and poise. He is coming off consecutive 20-point games including a performance where he went toe-to-toe with Rookie of the Year candidate Donovan Mitchell, including blocking a dunk attempt by the high-flying phenom.

    A feel good story for the Laker franchise is the signing of 32-year old Andre Ingram, who thought he was headed for his exit interview with the Los Angeles G-League affiliate before finding out he was getting signed for the Lakers’ final two games of the season. His calling card is his ability to shoot from 3-point range where he connects on 47.5 percent of his attempts — hopefully he gets a chance to knock down a few for the Lakers tonight.

    The Rockets may not play their key players a full complement of minutes tonight, but they are expected to give them some run. They are led by MVP candidate James Harden, who is having his best season with averages of 30.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He has played better defense this year than in previous campaigns and deserves all the accolades he may receive.

    Key Stats

    -The Rockets have made 1227 3-pointers on 3377 attempts (36.3 percent) on the season compared to 795 makes on 2309 tries (34.4 percent) for the Lakers. That means that for the season, the Rockets are a plus-1296 from distance compared to Los Angeles. Houston has already set a record for most 3-pointers made in a season, breaking their own mark from one year ago.

    -Houston leads the league with a plus-702 plus/minus on the season vs. Los Angeles who owns a minus-136 plus/minus rating for the year.

    -The Rockets lead the league with a 112.7 offensive rating compared to 104.2 (23rd) for the Lakers. What is even more impressive is that Houston has a defensive rating of 103.9 (sixth) vs. 105.8 rating (14th) for Los Angeles. Their offense has been good for several seasons but the marked defensive improvement is the reason why the Rockets have the league’s best record.

    -Houston opened the season 32-1 when Harden, Clint Capela and Chris Paul all started the game together — that trio has proved to be devastating for the rest of the league.

    Projected Starting Lineups

    Lakers

    Alex Caruso (PG)

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)

    Josh Hart (SF)

    Julius Randle (PF)

    Brook Lopez (C)

    Rockets

    Chris Paul (PG)

    James Harden (SG)

    Trevor Ariza (SF)

    P.J. Tucker (PF)

    Clint Capela (C)

    Injury Report

    Lakers

    Lonzo Ball (knee contusion) – OUT

    Kyle Kuzma (ankle) – OUT

    Brandon Ingram (concussion) – OUT

    Luol Deng (ankle) – OUT

    Rockets

    Eric Gordon (ankle) – OUT

    Ryan Anderson (ankle) – OUT

    Tarik Black (back) –  QUESTIONABLE

    Broadcast Information

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

    Television: TNT, TNT-SAP, SPECSN/SPECD, AT&T SPORTSNET – SOUTHWEST, SPORTSNET ONE

    Radio: 710 AM ESPN, 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES

Fantasy News

  • Ivan Rabb - F - Memphis Grizzlies

    Ivan Rabb plans to spend much of his offseason in the weight room as he tries to bulk up and show that he has NBA-level defense to pair with his expanding offensive game.

    For all the charm of Rabb's smooth offensive repertoire, he knows his defense needs to improve. It was especially evident in an April 3 loss at Portland when Enes Kanter torched Rabb and the Grizzlies in the post for 21 points and 15 rebounds. Rabb posted almost identical statistics this season to those he posted in 36 games as a rookie, but the second-year post player knocked down 37 percent of his 3-pointers in the G League, showing a comfort level from beyond the arc previously missing from his game. Rabb's deal is non-guaranteed, so the Grizzlies could move on from him if they want but he is only 22 years old and has shown enough potential to likely warrant another season at the relatively low price tag of $1.6 million. Keep him in your radar as he might have an important role next season in what might be a rebuilding year for the Grizzlies.

    Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal

  • Clint Capela - C - Houston Rockets

    The Rockets hope that Clint Capela has benefited from two more days of treatment for the virus that has sapped his energy through much of their first-round matchup against the Jazz.

    Since opening the series with 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting, Capela has averaged just 7.3 points on 47.4 percent over the past three games. He was 1-of-6 with seven rebounds on Monday while the Rockets got outscored by 20 points when he was on the floor. "He's trying to battle through it," Mike D'Antoni said. "I think he's been great because he's been able to play. Each day that passes, the virus passes and he'll feel better. Hopefully next game, he's back to almost 100 percent.” The Rockets will try to close out the series on Wednesday night in Houston and they are going to need their starting center to show some signs of life.

    Source: Houston Chronicle

  • Jason Kidd - Team - Los Angeles Lakers

    Bill Plaschke of the LA Times is reporting that the Lakers interviewed Jason Kidd only as a favor to his agent, Jeff Schwartz, who is also the agent for Lakers forward Brandon Ingram.

    Kidd doesn’t really seem to have a chance at the gig and the fact that he lobbied for the job even while Luke Walton held it is a tremendously bad look for the former All-Star guard. Jeannie Buss looks like she has no plans, at least not yet, to support current GM Rob Pelinka with bright, young personnel as he instead is being assisted in this coaching search by Kurt Rambis. The Lakers continue to target Monty Williams, Ty Lue and Juwan Howard and the list doesn’t seem likely to expand.

    Source: LA Times

  • Enes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers

    Enes Kanter suffered a separated left shoulder in the first quarter of Game 5 on Tuesday night, but he received an injection at halftime and gutted his way through despite clearly being pain at times.

    “I just tried to play through it," Kanter said afterward. "We'll see what happens in the future." The Blazers will have at least through Saturday off as they await the winner of the Nuggets-Spurs series. Kanter’s teammates and coaches were impressed with his ability to play with pain but this looks like a serious injury and it remains to be seen if the Turkish big will be forced to miss any time.

    Source: ESPN

  • Damian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard put up an instant classic performance featuring a game-winning deep three, 10 total triples and a 50-spot in Tuesday's 118-115 closeout win over the Thunder in Portland.

    Lillard started off Game 5 with 34 first-half points while playing all 24 minutes. He finished with seven boards, six dimes, three steals and a block while shooting 17-for-33 from the field and 6-for-8 from the line. Despite a big second-half Thunder run, Lillard kept it going all the way until the buzzer as his shot from near the logo fell, giving him an even 50 and a series win as he waived goodbye to the Thunder.

  • CJ McCollum - G - Trail Blazers

    CJ McCollum put up 17 points (8-of-19 FGs), two rebounds, two assists, one triple and two blocks in 32 minutes in Tuesday's closeout win over the Thunder.

    McCollum sat a little more than usual in the first half after getting his third foul early, though he also ended with three fouls in another example of why coaches should just leave players in until they get their fourth or fifth. McCollum had been on fire in this series, averaging over 26 points per game coming into tonight's game. He and the Blazers now wait to see if they'll get the Nuggets or the Spurs in the next round.

  • Enes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers

    Enes Kanter toughed out a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double over 32 minutes in Tuesday's Game 5 victory over the Thunder.

    Kanter also had four assists and a block while shooting 6-for-9 from the floor tonight. He got pretty banged up in the first half, injuring his shoulder which was heavily wrapped after the game. Kanter averaged over 13 points and 10 rebounds in under 30 minutes for the series and he looks like one of the best mid-season signings in the league at this point.

  • Maurice Harkless - F - Trail Blazers

    Maurice Harkless had 17 points on just nine shots with seven rebounds, an assist and a steal in 33 minutes on Tuesday vs. the Thunder.

    It's not wise to rely on Harkless, but he can be the wildcard the Blazers need every few games. After closing out the Thunder tonight, they'll await the winner of the Spurs and Nuggets series.

  • Paul George - F - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Paul George had a huge game with 36 points (14-of-20 FGs, 5-of-8 FTs), nine rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers in Tuesday's 118-115 road loss to the Blazers.

    George was feeling it early, making his first five shots. He battled through first-half foul trouble and likely some lingering pain from his injury. But it wasn't quite enough as Damian Lillard out-played him in this one to end the series in Portland.

  • Russell Westbrook - G - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Russell Westbrook put up one final triple-double with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists as the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs by the Blazers on Tuesday.

    Aside from making all three of his free throws, it was a microcosm of Westbrook's season. He shot just 11-of-31 (4-of-11 from three) and had four steals, two blocks and five turnovers in 45 minutes. There's no better value if you're looking to punt three categories next season.