1. The Lakers eked out a win against the Kings on Friday, a victory that they did not deserve. The win brought the Lakers to 25-34 and ended a three-game road losing streak.

    Los Angeles had many players play below their potential, committed a multitude of mental errors, yet still emerged victorious over the hapless Kings. The hero of the day for the Lakers was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who had his best game of the season with 34 points, seven rebounds and two assists while knocking down 12-of-20 overall and 8-of-14 3-point shots.

    Los Angeles trailed by as many as 10 points in the third quarter before Caldwell-Pope took over, scoring 17 points in that frame alone. Many of his shots appeared to be heat checks that continued to fall all evening. By his own admission, “It has been a while since I’ve been that hot and actually knocking down shots.” He was the primary catalyst in a 33-19 run to end the third to give the Lakers a four-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

    The Lakers would let the Kings get to within one point after Caldwell-Pope fouled Bogdan Bogdanovic on a 3-point play with less than a minute remaining in the game. However, contrary to earlier in the season, Los Angeles was able to convert all of their late-game free throws in order to escape with a victory.

    Isaiah Thomas had his ups and downs, literally, as he turned the ball over once when jumping to try and make a pass and a second time down the stretch that gave the Kings life when the game appeared out of hand. When called upon to seal the win, he was clutch, converting all six of his free throw attempts and finishing with 17 points and four assists.

    Julius Randle brought his record as a starter to 14-12, accruing 12 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block. The downsides to his evening was his 0-of-5 performance from the free throw line to go with four turnovers and five personal fouls. Although his game left some things to be desired, he led the team with a plus-20 rating and continues to be a positive presence on the court.

    He was joined by frontcourt partner Brandon Ingram who tallied 13 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and one block. He continues to excel at facilitating the offense in the absence of Lonzo Ball, who missed the game as part of a planned day of rest with regard to his recovery from a sprained MCL.

    The Kings were led by a trio of young players; Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield and the aforementioned Bogdanovic. Cauley-Stein accumulated a massive 18 points, 15 rebounds, one assist, two steals and two blocks and continued to torment the Lakers this season. Bogdanovic finished with 21 points, four assists, six rebounds, one steal and one block and Hield added 21 points and eight rebounds.

    Sacramento held an advantage in many statistics on the evening but was simply unable to overcome the hot shooting by Caldwell-Pope, who was the difference in this game.

    Key Stats and Observations

    -The Lakers knocked down 17-of-38 3-point shots (44.7 percent) compared to the Kings who shot a scorching 13-of-25 (52.0 percent) from deep on the evening.

    – Los Angeles was outrebounded 48-44 during this contest even though they hold a significant advantage on the glass for the season.

    -The Lakers came into the game as the leading team at scoring points in the paint, however, Sacramento was able to tie Los Angeles in points in the paint at 40.

    -The Kings held a slight edge in turnovers as they restricted their miscues to only 11 while the Lakers committed 12 turnovers — well below their season average of 16.

    – Sacramento is one of the worst teams as far as assists per game but was able to collect 28 helpers vs. 26 for Los Angeles.

    Up Next

    The Lakers head to Atlanta to take on the Hawks on Monday.

    Los Angeles expects to get back rookie point guard Lonzo Ball for that game as he continues to recover from a sprained MCL. This will mark the third game in four nights for the Lakers so they will need to focus in order to defeat the Hawks regardless of their 18-42 record.

    Atlanta is led by point guard Dennis Schroder, who is averaging 19.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game on the season.

Fantasy News

  • PJ Tucker
    SF, Houston Rockets

    P.J. Tucker managed top-125/105 value (8/9-cat) in 2019-20, but found a new position over the course of the season.

    Tucker was unable to repeat the middle-round success of 2018-19, largely because his 3-pointers fell from 1.8 to 1.5 per game and his steals plummeted from 1.6 to 1.1, but he did regain some juice as Houston's small-ball center of choice. Tucker hit the skids in the winter and was outside the top-200 for a stretch, but was able to rebound by finishing around the top-100 in the month of February. Though PJT will never be an offensive focal point, he did snag a career-high 6.9 rebounds per contest and offers up enough cash counters to keep fantasy GMs happy.

  • Danuel House
    PF, Houston Rockets

    Danuel House averaged 10.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.9 3-pointers in 30.0 mpg on his way to top-135/105 (8/9-cat) value in 2019-20.

    House was a solid contributor for the injured Rockets in 2018-19 but ended up wasting away in the G League down the stretch due to contract issues. There were no such problems this year and House was able to emerge as one of the trusted few in Mike D'Antoni's rotation. Minutes are plentiful on a team that plays as few as eight players on a given night, and House clearly has the stat set to pump out late-middle round value thanks to the steady flow of cash counters. He has the looks of a nice glue guy in fantasy going forward, and shouldn't cost you much in terms of ADP. House cemented his place in the NBA, and on fantasy rosters, with a breakout campaign.

  • Eric Gordon
    SG, Houston Rockets

    Eric Gordon had a nightmare season in 2019-20, shooting poorly out of the gate and then missing almost two months due to knee surgery.

    When the fantasy season stopped Gordon was averaging 14.5 points and 2.7 threes (good) on .370 from the field and .319 from deep (horrid). While Houston's play style will always put Gordon on the map as a points and threes specialist, his stat set can't weather many setbacks. Gordon fell from 3.2 3-pointers per game in each of the previous two seasons, and he ended up as a top-235 fantasy option. When you only contribute in two fantasy categories, you're on thin ice from the start. Gordon figures to be a key player for the Rockets in Orlando, and hopefully the time off has helped him get back to full strength. Gordon will likely be a late-round selection in next season's fantasy drafts but this ugly output is a reminder of what can happen when a few things go wrong with such a thin fantasy profile.

  • Ben McLemore
    SG, Houston Rockets

    Ben McLemore surprised in 2019-20, posting top-220/200 (8/9-cat) fantasy value and becoming a solid member of the Rockets' rotation.

    McLemore looked to be on his way out of the league but took full advantage of his opportunity in Houston. He stepped up when the Rockets were missing players and managed 9.8 points, 0.6 steals and 2.4 triples in 22.8 mpg, shooting a respectable .445 from the field. His value going forward will hinge on that percentage, as McLemore had never shot better than .430 in a season until this year. McLemore should always have juice as a 3-point streamer in Houston, but in terms of full-season appeal he's still only a deep-league option going forward.

  • Kelly Oubre Jr.
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    While Kelly Oubre (torn right meniscus) has been doing "a little" of the on-court work in Orlando, most of his efforts have been on rehab efforts.

    Oubre was initially reported as out for the Orlando restart, though in the last few weeks the Suns have refused to close the door on him playing. The team has poor playoff odds but may see some benefits in getting their full roster some additional reps in, as well as a return simply acting as a reward for Oubre diligently completing a long rehab stint. Fantasy players might not want to make KO a priority in resumption drafts but it's hard to write him off completely until we know his official status. For what it's worth, Monty Williams says that Oubre has his bounce and looks great.

    Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter

  • Austin Rivers
    PG, Houston Rockets

    Austin Rivers delivered top-285/270 (8/9-cat) fantasy value in 2019-20, operating as one of the eight consistent members of Houston's rotation.

    Rivers bounced back as a deep threat, hitting 35.8% of his long bombs this year after shooting 31.8% in 2018-19, but differences in volume meant his overall output stayed put at 1.4 triples per contest. While Rivers did manage a big season in his last with the Clippers, that was mostly a factor of the team's huge injury list. Two years removed from those favorable circumstances and it's clear that Rivers shouldn't be viewed as much more than a streaming option when Houston's big dogs aren't playing.

  • Jeff Green
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Jeff Green turned his season around after signing with the Rockets and ended up delivering top-275 fantasy value.

    Green signed with the Jazz in the offseason but struggled mightily, shooting a ghastly .385 from the field, and eventually fell out of the rotation. He saw a quick renaissance in Houston, hitting an absurd 62.1% of his shots across 10 games, also chipping in 10.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.4 triples in 20.1 mpg. That's certainly more than should be expected moving forward but Green fits the Rockets as a capable defensive power forward who can shift down to center in their uber-small lineups. Green's season was a tale of two halves, certainly, but there shouldn't be much excitement about his fantasy potential in the coming years. When the percentages return to normal he'll struggle to keep afloat in 20-team formats.

  • David Nwaba
    SF, Houston Rockets

    David Nwaba was a helpful member of the Nets' rotation before tearing his right Achilles in December.

    Nwaba brings the sort of hard-nosed play that Kenny Atkinson liked to see, so it was no surprise that he earned regular playing time. Though he hasn't been much of a shooter throughout his career, Nwaba did knock down 0.6 triples per contest on .429 from deep, offering some promise going forward. Most of his fantasy value, top-310/290 (8/9-cat), was brought about by a .521 mark from the field plus 0.6 steals and 0.6 blocks in 13.4 mpg. Nwaba signed with the Rockets and should help lengthen their bench next season as a versatile defender. If he can get minutes in the teens, he'll be on the deep-league radar as a defensive specialist.

  • Isaiah Hartenstein
    PF, Houston Rockets

    Isaiah Hartenstein couldn't gain traction at the NBA level, delivering fantasy value just outside top-300, despite another big campaign in the G League.

    Hartenstein averaged 24.9 points, 14.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.1 blocks and 0.9 threes while shooting .587 for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers but could only muster 11.6 mpg in 23 games with the Rockets. Even when Clint Capela went down with his heel injury Houston opted to run with no centers rather than elevate the young German. While Hartenstein was released in June, he shouldn't have a shortage of suitors. Deep dynasty GMs can keep tracking his progress, and a change of scenery might not be a bad thing for Hartenstein's prospects of playing time.

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Thabo Sefolosha closed the book on his 2019-20 season with top-375/355 value (8/9-cat).

    Sefolosha will not be participating in the league's restart, so anyone playing fantasy games for the rest of this year can ignore him completely. The defensive stopper used to be a sneaky top-175 option because of his steals, blocks and rebounds, but Sefolosha is mostly emergency depth at this point in his career. He averaged 10.6 minutes in 41 games this season, though deep-league streamers may have found some utility in his 0.6 steals and 0.3 blocks. Sefolosha isn't a fantasy option to pursue going forward.

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