NBA Daily Recap: LeBron Sits, Russ Shines, Jokic Exits With Knee Bruise

NBA Daily Recap: LeBron Sits, Russ Shines, Jokic Exits With Knee Bruise

This article is part of our NBA Daily Recap series.

Welcome to the first edition of the RotoWire NBA Daily Rundown!

Five days per week (Monday through Friday), this article will serve as a comprehensive recap of the previous night's NBA action, taking you through all of the biggest performances, notable box scores, injury updates and any other fantasy-relevant headlines from around the league.

Tuesday night brought us an exciting, five-game slate headlined by a Lakers' overtime win and the Knicks blowing out the Sixers at Madison Square Garden. So without further ado, let's dive in:

Nightly Notables

The Joker Leaves Early

  • The Nuggets had a major scare when the reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic, went down with a knee injury in the second quarter against the Jazz. Thankfully, the dominant big man looks like he will be OK as he tested out the knee during halftime and was eventually diagnosed with only a contusion.
  • What could be most frustrating about Jokic's early departure was that he was amidst a masterful performance against reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Before leaving the game, Jokic finished with 24 points (8-9 FG, 3-3 3Pt, 5-7 FT) to go with six rebounds and six assists in just 15 minutes of action.
  • The Jazz ended up winning the matchup 122-110 while Gobert turned in another impressive double-double. Gobert finished with 23 points (7-8 FG, 9-16 FT), 16 rebounds and a block in 33 minutes. The 29-year-old is off to an incredible start throughout his first three games of the season, averaging 18.7 points and 19.0 rebounds per game.

AD and Russ Lead LeBron-Less-Lakers in OT

  • With LeBron James out with ankle soreness, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis both showed out in The King's absence. Westbrook scored 33 points (15-27 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 2-4 FT) to go with 10 rebounds, eight assists and three steals while Davis finished with 35 points (15-31 FG, 0-4 3Pt, 5-6 FT), 17 rebounds, four assists and four blocks. The All-Star duo looked fresh as they finished strong at the rim numerous times and combined for 10 of the Lakers' 11 overtime points. If James is forced to miss more time – the Lakers play on a back-to-back Wednesday at OKC – both Westbrook and Davis would obviously gain short-term fantasy value.
    • Davis gave Lakers fans and fantasy managers alike a major scare late in the fourth quarter when he landed awkwardly while going for a rebound and grabbed at his right knee in obvious pain. But, as is often the case with Davis, he shook off what initially looked to be a serious injury and remained in the game. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow," Davis said postgame.
  • The Spurs fell short in overtime, but it was truly an impressive showing from Dejounte Murray. The rangy guard put up his first triple-double of the season, finishing with 21 points (9-24 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 1-4 FT), 12 rebounds and a career-high 15 assists in 40 minutes. Murray has had an excellent start to the year, averaging 15.3 points, 9.0 rebounds  9.0 assists and 2.3 steals in 35.1 minutes per game.

Knicks Bounce Back at Home

  • After a surprising loss to the Magic on Sunday, the Knicks took down the 76ers 112-99 Tuesday night. It was a solid team effort for the Knicks with four out of the team's five starters reaching double figures. Kemba Walker led the way, scoring a season-high 19 points (7-15 FG, 5-11 3Pt) to go with five assists and three rebounds in 28 minutes. Walker is averaging 12.5 points to go with 3.0 assists per game while averaging 3.3 triples per game as well.
  • Julius Randle stuffed the stat sheet once again with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in 36 minutes. The 2021 Most Improved Player has shown no signs of slowing down, averaging 25.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game in 37.7 minutes of action. On a per-game basis, Randle ranks as the ninth-best player in nine-cat leagues.
  • With (still) no Ben Simmons, the 76ers have now fallen to 2-2. Despite the loss, Tobias Harris continued to play well for Philadelphia. The veteran forward neared a triple-double, scoring 23 points (10-18, 2-6 3Pt, 1-1 FT) while grabbing nine rebounds and nine assists. Harris is averaging 20.0 points per game this season to go with what would be career-highs in both rebounds (9.3) and assists (5.0) per game.

Steph Leads Warriors to 4-0 Start

  • Stephen Curry was up to his usual sharpshooting antics, scoring 23 points (6-14 FG, 4-9 3Pt, 7-7 FT) to go with six rebounds and four assists in Golden State's 106-98 win over the Thunder. The Warriors actually played from behind throughout a good portion of the game, but Steph and company proved to be too much for an Oklahoma City team that ranks second-last in offensive rating, 27th in defensive rating and dead last in NET rating in the earlygoing.
  • Andrew Wiggins finished second in scoring for the Warriors with 20 points (9-17 FG, 0-5 3Pt, 3-5 FT) while also picking up four rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win. On an off night for Jordan Poole (0-7 3Pt), Damion Lee's 20 points (8-14 FG, 4-7 3Pt) paced the Golden State bench. Lee's season averages of 14.3 points and 26.7 minutes both lead all Warriors' reserves.
  • Despite the losing effort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shined in defeat. The Canadian guard scored 30 points (11-19 FG, 4-5 3Pt, 4-5 FT) to go with one rebound, four assists and a steal in 36 minutes. After a slow first few games of the year, Gilgegous-Alexander is averaging 29.5 points over his last two outings. It's clear the 23-year-old is capable of putting up elite fantasy stats, but doing so at a consistent clip – and avoiding too many blowout scenarios – will ultimately determine his ceiling.

Quick Hitters

  • Luka Doncic was deep in his bag of tricks against the Rockets, finishing with 26 points (10-25 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 5-5 FT), 14 rebounds and seven assists in 34 minutes. The young star made countless no-look passes and finished numerous circus-shot layups in Dallas' 116-106 win over Houston.
    • With the 5-of-5 night at the line, Doncic is now 12-of-14 (85.7%) on the season after closing 2020-21 at just 73.0 percent. That figure will be worth monitoring over the next few weeks.
  • Christian Wood was a force against Dallas. The 26-year-old finished with 16 points (6-16 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 2-4 FT)  and 17 rebounds in the Rockets' loss. He's up to 22.3 points, 13.3 boards, 1.0 blocks and 2.7 threes per game over the last three.
  • Jalen Brunson finished with his first double-double of the season, scoring 11 points (4-8 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT) and matching a career-high with 11 assists. The Villanova product has played between 23 and 28 minutes off the bench in Dallas' first three games.
  • Eric Gordon looks so out-of-place on the Rockets' AAU team, but he turned in a vintage performance Tuesday. The veteran guard scored 22 points (7-11 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 5-6 FT). If the Indiana product continues to perform as he did against the Mavericks, he could be a trade target if the Rockets are able to find a taker for the nearly $38 million remaining on his deal.
  • Joel Embiid struggled in the 76ers' loss to the Knicks, scoring just 14 points (2-7 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 10-11 FT) to go with six rebounds and three assists. The All-Star center is off to a slow start this season averaging just 19.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game over his first four appearances. I would expect Embiid to pick up his play as he continues to adjust to life without Ben Simmons for the time being, making the 27-year-old an interesting early-season buy-low candidate.
    • Embiid came into Tuesday questionable with soreness in his right knee – not the most encouraging sign for a player with his history.
  • Evan Fournier scored 18 points (6-10 FG, 4-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT) as he continues to bounce back after a disappointing showing Boston to end last season. The free agent acquisition is averaging 19.0 points per game thus far – a notable jump from the 13.0 points per game he put up with the Celtics.
  • Lonnie Walker and Devin Vassell impressed me last night as the duo combined for 40 points off the bench. Walker scored 21 points (7-10 FG, 5-7 3Pt, 2-2 FT) as well as recording six assists as well. The fourth-year-pro's five made three-pointers matched a career-high. Vassell finished with 19 points (7-16 FG, 5-9 3Pt, 0-2 FT), seven rebounds and two steals.
  • Jakob Poeltl was also stellar against the Lakers. The Utah product finished with a career-high 27 points (13-17 FG, 1-5 FT) to go with 14 rebounds in the loss. Poeltl is averaging 16.0 points and 10.8 rebounds across the Spurs' first four contests.
  • Aaron Gordon had his best game of the season, finishing with 20 points (9-13 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 2-4 FT) and seven rebounds in 34 minutes. The high-flying wing has started to be more aggressive as of late, averaging 13.5 field goal attempts per game over his last two contests.
  • Michael Porter continues to struggle out of the gate this season. The forward finished with 13 points (5-18 FG, 3-11 3Pt) and nine rebounds in the Nuggets' loss. Even with Jokic leaving the game early, Porter's 13 points were the fewest of any Denver starter. The 23-year-old is off to a rough start and is averaging just 11.5 points per game thus far. He's been among the league's biggest fantasy disappointments, making him an intriguing buy-low target in season-long leagues.

Rookie Report

  • Josh Giddey: Seven points (3-7 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 2-2 FT), nine rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and two turnovers in 27 minutes.
    • The No. 6 overall selection has had a decent start to his career, averaging 7.3 points, 5.0 rebound, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals across his first four appearances. Giddey has only scored double-digits once but is doing a nice job filling up the stat sheet. The 19-year-old has averaged 30.5 minutes per game over his past two outings and looks to be locked into the starting small forward spot.
  • Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: 12 points (5-8 FG, 2-4 3Pt), five rebounds, one assist, one steal and three turnovers in 27 minutes.
    • With Derrick Favors (rest) out, Robinson-Earl got his first career start Tuesday. The second-round pick scored a season-high 12 points and looked like he belonged on the court. Robinson-Earl is a player to keep an eye on as he is already starting to play meaningful minutes for the Thunder. He's already leapfrogged Isaiah Roby in the rotation.
  • Austin Reaves: 10 points (3-5 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT), two rebounds, one assist and two turnovers in 30 minutes
    • Well, it is the Lakers' fourth game of the season and Reaves saw 30 minutes of action. I am sure we all saw that coming. With LeBron James (ankle) out, the Oklahoma product scored a season-high 10 points and is certainly a player to monitor due to his recent boost in minutes. Reaves could be dropped from the rotation once James, Wayne Ellington, Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn return from injury, however.
  • Jalen Green: 10 points (4-16 FG, 2-9 3Pt, 0-0 FT), five rebounds, one assist, one block and three turnovers in 35 minutes.
    • The No. 2 overall pick has played 35 minutes in back-to-back contests for the Rockets. Green struggled with his shot throughout, but it is clear that the young guard is still full of talent. While there is no doubt that this season will be full of inefficient performances from the 19-year-old, Green has the skills and is in the situation to put up big numbers any given night this season. Sunday night against Boston, Green went for 30 points and set a new Rockets rookie record with eight made threes.
  • Alperen Sengun: Five points (1-4 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 2-4 FT), one rebound, two assists, two steals and a turnover in 14 minutes.
    • The Turkish rookie's 14 minutes marked a season-low. The 6-foot-10 big has been fine thus far, but his role isn't quite as large as fantasy managers had hoped. Surprising to just about everyone, however, Sengun is averaging 2.3 steals per game through his first four contests, which leads all rookies. He's playing only 17.5 minutes per game thus far, but Sengun would be set for a major bump in minutes if Christian Wood or Daniel Theis were to suffer an injury.

Tuesday's Best and Worst

  • Stud of the Night: Anthony Davis – 35 points (15-31 FG, 0-4 3Pt, 5-6 FT), 17 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two turnovers in 42 minutes
  • Dud of the night: Joel Embiid – 14 points (2-7 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 10-11 FT), six rebounds, three assists, one block, one steal and five turnovers in 30 minutes.
  • Rookie of the Night: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl – 12 points (5-8 FG, 2-4 3Pt), five rebounds, one assist, one steal and three turnovers in 27 minutes.

Looking Ahead to Wednesday Night

  • Eastern Conference juggernauts, the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets, face off for the first time this season.
  • We have an elite battle of Western Conference point guards as Ja Morant and the Grizzlies travel to take on Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers.
  • Long-time friends Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal take each other on as the Wizards come into Boston to face the Celtics.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Spero
Michael writes in the NBA and NCAAF departments for RotoWire. He is a big-time fan of both the Bulls and Nuggets. Michael spends his time playing pick-up or anxiously rooting for his fantasy teams.
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