• The Lakers arrived into Dallas red-hot, playing excellent defense, and having won 12-of-16 games. All those streaks came to an end on Saturday as the Lakers left their defense at home, losing to the conference-worst Mavericks 130-123.

    Los Angeles welcomed Isaiah Thomas into the fold after acquiring him in a trade deadline deal from the Cavaliers, a deal that sent Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to Cleveland.¬†Thomas’ presence was certainly felt on the offensive end where he accrued 22 points, six assists, one rebound and one steal. However, he turned the ball over six times and also really hurt the Lakers on the defensive end, where the Mavericks attacked him relentlessly in the pick and roll as well as in the post. The Lakers like to switch everything on defense, that may not be possible when the diminutive Thomas is in the lineup.

    As a team, the Lakers played terrible defense for the bulk of the contest, allowing Dallas to score easily all night. Los Angeles struggled in particular to guard the pick and roll, conceding dunks and easy layups all night. Often the Lakers were unsure of their defensive assignments off the pick and roll, resulting in mismatches, open lanes, or wide-open shooters. The Mavericks came into the game as the worst team in the league at scoring points in the paint (38.3 points in the paint per game) — the Lakers’ defense gave up 52 points in the paint. The 130 points were a season-high for Dallas.

    The Lakers still had a good chance to win this contest, taking a 115-114 lead in the fourth quarter after a 10-1 run out of a timeout.

    Dallas had all five starters in double figures, led by Dirk Nowitzki who tallied 22 points, four rebounds, and two assists on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, 4-of-4 from 3-point range. He was inexcusably left wide-open for a number of jump shots and the defense was so bad that he was even able stroll to the rim for a rare dunk.

    The Mavericks bench was the difference in this game as they received key contributions from several players including Dwight Powell (19 points, seven rebounds and two steals on 8-of-12), newly acquired Doug McDermott (8 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal) and Salah Mejri (four points, three rebounds, one assists and two blocks). Mejri was particularly vital as he made several defensive plays down the stretch, including a block on Brandon Ingram that led to a go-ahead layup for Dallas.

    The Lakers appeared to be frustrated by the referees during this game and it seemed to have an effect on their defensive mentality and ability to focus on the game.

    Julius Randle continued his history of playing well in his home town, scoring 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. However, he committed five turnovers and fouled out of the game.

    Brandon Ingram turned in a strong performance with 22 points, three assists, one rebound and one steal while knocking down 9-of-16 shots and 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Unfortunately, he allowed Dallas rookie Dennis Smith Jr. to blatantly muscle him out of the way on a crucial jump ball, leading to an easy layup. He was also the victim of Mejri’s game-changing block. He scored 10 points in the first quarter alone, but had limited involvement afterward, often deferring to Thomas or other Lakers.

    Josh Hart was unable to maintain his string of unbelievable games, possibly due to the arrival of Thomas, who earned a lot of his playing time and offensive touches. Hart finished with nine points, two rebounds and one assist in only 29 minutes.

    Kyle Kuzma seems to have regained his confidence, posting 12 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two steals. He was coming off two consecutive 16-point games after averaging only seven points in his previous five contests.

    The Lakers will try to take advantage of their three days off to get in a few practices, work on their team defense and chemistry.

    Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball missed his 13th consecutive game while recovering from an MCL sprain. Although he has ramped up activities of late, he is not expected to return until after the All-Star break.

     Key Stats and Observations

    • The Mavericks’ bench outscored the Lakers’ bench 50-36.
    • Los Angeles came into the game with a large rebounding advantage over Dallas for the season. However, they were outrebounded 40-37 on a night where there weren’t many rebounding opportunities due to a dearth of effective defense for both teams.
    • The Lakers allowed the Mavericks to shoot 53.9 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from 3-point range and collect 32 assists. Los Angeles enjoyed an excellent shooting night as well, hitting 54.8 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from 3-point range and distributing 29 assists.
    • Los Angeles had taken better care of the ball recently but failed to do so tonight, turning the ball over 17 times, leading to 29 points for Dallas. Conversely, the Mavericks only turned the ball over 11 times leading to only 15 points for the Lakers.
    • The Lakers’ free throw woes returned as they converted only 15-of-22 (68.2 percent) including four in a row with the game still in question. Dallas was able to knock down 22-of-27 free throws (81.5 percent).

    Up Next

    The Lakers will return home to take advantage of three days off before heading to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans on Wednesday.

    New Orleans is without All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins who injured his Achilles and will miss the rest of the year. In his stead, the team is led by their other star big man Anthony Davis, who is fresh off a 44-point, 17-rebound, six-steal and three-block performance.

    Los Angeles is suddenly on the verge of being playoff relevant, should that be the case, the Pelicans would be one of the teams they would need to overtake in order to sneak into the playoff picture.

Fantasy News

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    Dwight Howard has agreed with the Grizzlies on a buyout, and will sign a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers.

    The Lakers are giving Howard an opportunity to be fantasy relevant. When given minutes, Dwight can produce double-doubles with the best of them, but he has been changing teams for years now. He will be worth a gamble at the end of your draft if camp with the Lakers goes well, but this is a non-guaranteed deal, and he only played nine games last season.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Marcus Derrickson
    PF, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Marcus Derrickson to an Exhibit 10 contract on Friday.

    It looks like Derrickson will be a G-League option for the Hawks, so there's nothing to see here. At one point he was competing for the last roster spot on the team. We don't need to keep of track of every computer-generated player.

    Source: Chris Vivlamore on Twitter

  • Marreese Speights
    C, Free Agent

    Marreese Speights will work out for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype.

    Speights spent last year playing in China and will attempt his NBA comeback with the Lakers. who are in desperate need of an additional center. He is among three centers the Lakers are looking into, the others being Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah. Of those three, Speights unquestionably has the best floor spacing ability, which would be his strongest bet to eke out those other two for the job.

    Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter

  • Trevor Booker
    PF, International

    Trevor Booker has worked out for the Nuggets and has workouts planned with the Bucks and Clippers, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.

    Booker was out of the NBA in 2018-19, spending the season in China after he didn't get any offers in free agency. He did return to the US to undergo a procedure on his foot but is apparently fully recovered. The last time we saw Booker he split 68 games between the Nets, Sixers and Pacers in 2017-18. If he does make a successful comeback he'll have no fantasy relevance.

    Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter

  • John Henson
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    In a recent Q & A on Cleveland.com, beat writer Chris Fedor said that the Cavs are "excited" to have a healthy John Henson.

    Henson underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist last November and missed the rest of the season. He was limited to 14 games with Milwaukee before getting traded to the Cavs, averaging 5.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 13.4 minutes per game. The Cavs do have a crowded rotation at center with Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. all candidates to see minutes, but Henson gives them an element of rim protection and could factor in. He's a name to remember for deep-league owners hunting blocks.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Robert Covington
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Robert Covington (right knee bone bruise) will reportedly be "good to go" for the start of training camp in October.

    Well, this is good news that we didn't hope we would need. Covington played 35 games last year and couldn't get over the bone bruise injury that kept him out for a majority of the year. We expected him to be ready to go, and the fact that we're even discussing this is slightly less than ideal.

    Source: Dane Moore on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Team USA has named Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Donovan Mitchell as captains for the FIBA World Cup.

    Congratulations to Mitchell, Walker and Smart on the tremendous honor of being named captains for the USA men's team. This won't have any impact on their upcoming fantasy seasons, but it is a major accomplishment nonetheless. Team USA has an exhibition rematch against Team Australia on Saturday.

    Source: Boston.com Celtics News on Twitter

  • Isaiah Canaan
    PG, International

    Isaiah Canaan has signed a contract with the Shangdong Heroes of the Chinese Basketball Association.

    The veteran journeyman played for the Suns, Wolves and Bucks last season, appearing in 30 games total. Canaan will be looking at a more prominent role and payday overseas as he attempts to build his value back up before trying to latch on to a team towards the end of the year. Canaan is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Zhang Duo on Twitter

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills put up 19 points, three assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in Thursday's international exhibition between Team Australia and Team USA.

    The Boomers figure to be one of the chief threats to the Americans in the World Cup and put forth a competitive effort in today's exhibition. Mills has typically been a steady, late-round fantasy option for deep-league play but that may change this season as the Spurs will need to mix in both Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt. Chris Goulding tied for the team lead in points, also scoring 19 while hitting four 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench.

  • Myles Turner
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Myles Turner put up 15 points and 14 rebounds in Thursday's exhibition win over Team Australia, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor with a 3-pointer.

    Turner didn't get any blocks but we know that last year's league-leader can rack those up in a hurry, whether he's getting them in international competition or not. Look for another early-middle round season out of the talented big man. Kemba Walker led Team USA with 23 points in the 102-86 win.