• The Lakers defeated the Hawks 123-104 on Monday to sweep the season series from Atlanta.

    Los Angeles’ significant talent advantage was on display as the Lakers had nine players score in double-digits. The Lakers would have run away early in the game if not for 14 first-half turnovers and a huge edge in free throw attempts for the Hawks.

    Brandon Ingram led the way for Los Angeles with 21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal, three blocks and a game-high plus-19 rating on 10-of-16 shooting from the field. He provided Los Angeles a crucial six-point run in the third quarter after the Hawks cut the Laker lead to 12 points.

    Julius Randle continued his impressive stretch of play with 19 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block on 8-of-13 from the field and 3-of-3 from the line. The Lakers are 15-12 with him in the starting roster.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a successful return to his home state, joining Ingram and Randle as the third Laker with a double-double, while accumulating 10 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two steals though he only shot 4-of-12 from the field.

    Lonzo Ball had a nearly perfect game hitting all four of his shots from the floor, 3-of-3 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 from the line while tallying 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and a plus-18 rating in 24 minutes.

    The other Lakers in double-figures were Josh Hart (14 points), Isaiah Thomas (13 points), Brook Lopez (11 points), Ivica Zubac (10 points) and Kyle Kuzma (10 points). Kuzma added nine rebounds, three assists and one steal but scored all of his points in the first half.

    Atlanta was paced by Taurean Prince who finished with 24 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals on 7-of-18 shooting from the floor, 4-of-11 3-point shots and 6-of-7 from the line.

    Dennis Schroder had a solid statistical game with 20 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block on 8-of-17 shooting from the floor.

    Key Stats and Observations

    -The Lakers outshot the Hawks by a tremendous margin in this game, converting 47-of-90 (52.2 percent) vs. 36-of-96 (37.5 percent) for Atlanta. The discrepancy extended to the 3-point line where Los Angeles knocked down 15-of-33 (45.5 percent) compared to just 8-of-36 (22.2 percent) for the Hawks.

    -Los Angeles crushed Atlanta on the glass, collecting 59 rebounds vs. 41 rebounds. A significant segment of this advantage was on the defensive glass where the Lakers gathered 49 rebounds and Atlanta mustered only 33 boards. These numbers were commiserate with the two teams’ shooting percentages, however, the fact that Los Angeles was able to restrict the Hawks to only eight offensive rebounds compared to 10 for themselves was commendable.

    -The Lakers kept the Hawks in the game by turning the ball over 23 times, including seven turnovers in each of the first two quarters. In comparison, Atlanta only had 13 turnovers for the entire game.

    -Los Angeles was outscored by 10 points at the free throw line where Atlanta converted 24-of-34 attempts (70.6 percent) vs. only 14-of-19 (73.7 percent) for the Lakers.

    Up Next

    The Lakers get a couple days off before taking on the Heat (31-29) in Miami on Thursday night.

    Miami is led by All-Star Goran Dragic who is averaging 17.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

    They have a strong interior presence in center Hassan Whiteside, who is really rounding into form at the moment, producing 14.9 points, 13.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game over his last seven games.

    Los Angeles will try to remain hot, having won three games in a row and 15-of-22 overall.

Fantasy News

  • Nikola Jokic
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic posted his fourth straight elite fantasy season and his best season to date, finishing as the 9th best option in 9-category formats.

    Jokic is as reliable as they come with another season of huge popcorn numbers. He scored 20.2 points (a career-high) to go with 10.2 boards and 6.9 assists on a strong 52.8% shooting from the floor and 81.3% from the line. The cash counter output also maintained from past seasons, with 1.2 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.1 triples. At this point, Jokic's best asset is his consistency. This is what we've grown to expect from him as someone who always shows up to work. He played every game for the Nuggets this season and has missed just 20 games total in his five-year career. As long as he is healthy, he's money in the bank.

  • Jamal Murray
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    Jamal Murray took a nice step forward in his fourth NBA campaign and approached top-50 value in 9-category leagues due to a large increase in shooting efficiency.

    Murray was limited to 55 games due to a sprained left ankle but performed well when he was on the court. The popcorn numbers were similar to his 2018-19 season, with 18.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.9 3-pointers in 32.8 minutes. The 25 spot jump to the 52nd player in 9-category format was directly tied to a 1.8% improvement to 45.5% from the floor and a 4.5% improvement to 89.3% from the charity stripe. If he can continue to improve his passing and game management, he can hop into the top-50 with ease going forward.

  • Paul Millsap
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Paul Millsap maintained his typical per-minute production, finishing as the 97th player in 9-category formats in just 24.4 minutes per game.

    Millsap's minute decline over the past three seasons in Denver have muted the upside he enjoyed during his heyday in Atlanta. In 44 games and a few nagging injuries including a left knee contusion and a sprained right ankle, he put up 12.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks on good percentages (48.6 from the floor and a career-high 83.3% from the free throw line). Millsap should continue to be a good per-minute producer even if he moves on to a new destination for 2021, but expect the minutes to be the real sticking point as he enters his age 35 season.

  • Mason Plumlee
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Mason Plumlee slogged his way to an unimpressive 2019-20 season, finishing well outside the top-250 in 9-category formats and averaging 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds without much else worth noting.

    On top of unexciting popcorn numbers, Plumlee shot an abysmal 53.6% from the charity stripe. He was a volume play only who didn't really provide anything exciting in limited minutes. Playing behind Nikola Jokic was always going to limit Plumlee's production and keep him even out of streaming range.

  • Monte Morris
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    Monte Morris compiled top-150 value in 9-category formats as the primary backup option to Jamal Murray during the 2019-20 season.

    Morris had a strong season splitting time between backup point guard and fill-in starter when Jamal Murray went down with a sprained ankle. Morris enjoyed top-100 value during Murray's absence and put together a solid line of 8.4 points, 3.5 assists and 0.8 steals in 21.4 minutes. It was a solid campaign on compiled volume, but it was a step back from a top-100 season in 2018-19 where he got three more minutes per contest and made good for two more points with heightened efficiency. Going forward, Morris should be a solid deep-league point guard who can provide assists cheaply without any major weaknesses.

  • Torrey Craig
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Torrey Craig played serviceable streamer minutes when called upon for the Nuggets and was an underappreciated starter at various points for a good Nuggets team.

    Craig is an unheralded player who is one of the prime examples of the "better in real life" syndrome. He won't wow anyone on the stat sheet and therefore he's hard to love in fantasy basketball. His 5.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 0.7 triples on decent shooting from the floor was good for just 297th in 9-category formats. He did have good stretches and was an acceptable daily play on the right night, but getting into an everyday streamer role is tough in a crowded wing situation in Denver.

  • Keita Bates-Diop
    SF, Denver Nuggets

    Keita Bates-Diop played sparingly for the Nuggets in 2019 as one of the many pieces involved in the four-team deadline trade and finished on the fringes of the top-300 for fantasy purposes.

    Bates-Diop got shuffled into the deck in a crowded Nuggets organization. He was limited to two games with his new club and just 9.5 minutes when he did appear. He spent time in the G-League after joining the Nuggets and on the season he appeared in 39 games, mainly as an injury replacement, and provided 17.1 minutes of 6.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.9 defensive counters, 0.8 triples and some needed energy. Bates-Diop has some potential in the right situation to be a streamer and we'll have to see whether he makes an impact during the NBA restart and if he will be able to crack the rotation in the upcoming season as well.

  • Thomas Bryant
    C, Washington Wizards

    Both Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton II have tested positive for COVID-19 and did not accompany the Wizards to Orlando on Thursday.

    Scott Brooks mentioned that the Wizards were missing some players and didn't disclose why they were absent, so the dots were fairly easy to connect. Bryant's the big name for fantasy purposes here, and if he ends up sitting out the Orlando games it'll mean plenty of work for Moe Wagner, Ian Mahinmi and Anzejs Pasecniks. As for Payton, he was in line for minutes in a thinned-out backcourt but his potential absence would help players like Troy Brown and Jerome Robinson.

    Source: Ava Wallace on Twitter

  • Noah Vonleh
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Noah Vonleh mainly rode the bench for the Nuggets, appearing in only four games after being acquired at the deadline in the large four-team trade that sent Malik Beasley to the Timberwolves.

    Vonleh had a decent season in New York in 2018-19 as a perfectly reasonable streamer just outside the top-150. In 33 games this season split between Minnesota and Denver, he averaged 3.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.5 defensive counters in 11 minutes per game. The Nuggets aren't the team to be on to try to get depth minutes in a crowded rotation so if there's any hope for Vonleh to be a streamer again, it'll be on a different team.

  • PJ Dozier
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    PJ Dozier had a forgettable stint in Denver, with 21 mostly lackluster appearances, but will be at the end of the bench during the Nuggets' restart campaign on a full NBA deal.

    Dozier played just 11.1 minutes per contest while shuttling back and forth between the NBA and the G-League. In 21 games, he scored 4.1 points and added 1.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists with minimal contributions elsewhere. The outlook for Dozier on this team are less than sunny unless there's an injury crisis in front of him. Otherwise, he'll be off fantasy radars as he was in this abbreviated stint outside the top-400.