Around the Association: Suns Keep Shining, Cade Balls Out, Bulls Roll Over Lakers

Around the Association: Suns Keep Shining, Cade Balls Out, Bulls Roll Over Lakers

This article is part of our NBA Daily Recap series.

Welcome to Around the Association!  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.

It was a busy 11-game slate last night. Here is everything you need to know:

Nightly Notables

Wizards take control of the East

  • The Washington Wizards were without Bradley Beal (personal) for Monday's contest against the Pelicans yet again and even found themselves down 19 points at a time in the game. However, they were still were able to comeback to win 105-100. Spencer Dinwiddie had one of his best showings of the season, recording 27 points (8-20 FG, 4-8 3Pt, 7-8 FT), nine rebounds, five assists and two steals in 34 minutes. The Wizards now sit atop the Eastern Conference at 10-3 with Beal coming back to the lineup this week.
    • Deni Avdija dropped his third-career double-double during the win, finishing with 11 points (5-6 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 1-1 FT), 10 rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals in 28 minutes.
  • Brandon Ingram's return to the Pelicans' lineup makes them a much more competitive team after dropping nearly 10 games in a row earlier this season. The star forward put up 31 points (9-23 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 11-12 FT), five rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes.
    • Josh Hart dropped his first double-double of the season in the loss. The wing put up 13 points (3-13 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 6-6 FT), 12 rebounds, five assists and one steal in 37 minutes.

Suns keep streaking

  • Almost quietly, the Suns have snuck back up on everyone and Monday's 99-96 win over the Timberwolves marked their ninth straight victory. It really seems like people are not talking about the Suns as they sit at 10-3, currently good for second in the West. Devin Booker came up clutch for Phoenix, posting 29 points (7-16 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 13-15 FT), five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 34 minutes.
    • Deandre Ayton (lower leg) impressed his return to the lineup after missing five straight games. The 23-year-old finished with ​​ 22 points (10-14 FG, 2-3 FT), 12 rebounds and one assist over 33 minutes.
  • Monday marked Karl-Anthony Towns' 26th birthday and the dynamic big posted one of his best showings of the year on his big day. The 6-foot-11 center ended with 35 points (10-19 FG, 5-9 3Pt, 10-11 FT), 13 rebounds, two assists and one steal over 40 minutes during the loss.
    • D'Angelo Russell missed the potential game-tying three late while struggling from deep throughout the contest. The guard finished with 22 points (7-21 FG, 1-10 3Pt, 7-7 FT), four assists, two rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes.

Mavs win, but Luka goes down

  • Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets traveled to Dallas to take on Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. Denver had rattled off five straight wins, but it fell to Dallas by a margin of 111-101 after a strong fourth quarter by the Mavs. Luka Doncic impressed in the win, finishing with 23 points (9-23 FG, 2-7 3Pt, 3-5 FT) 11 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and one block in 37 minutes. However, the All-Star left the game late in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Hopefully Doncic is all good, but his injury is certainly one to monitor.
    • Kristaps Porzingis continues to play at a high level since his return from injury. The forward recorded 29 points (11-20 FG, 5-8 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block in 33 minutes. Porzingis has scored over 20 points in four out of his last five showings since returning to Dallas' lineup.
  • Jokic did his thing despite the loss. The reigning MVP dropped in 35 points (15-26 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 3-6 FT), 16 rebounds, six assists and two blocks in 36 minutes. Jokic is making a serious case for another MVP run and is currently the No. 2 ranked nine-category fantasy player on a per-game basis

Blazers and Raptors duel it out

  • One of the best games of the night came out of Portland as the Raptors came into town to match up against the Blazers. It was a back and forth game throughout but ended with Portland winning 118-113 behind strong performances from its backcourt.
    • CJ McCollum was unstoppable, dropping 29 points (11-18 FG, 6-11 3Pt, 1-2 FT), three rebounds, six assists, two blocks and one steal across 40 minutes. Damian Lillard came into the game questionable with an abdominal injury (he missed the Blazers' previous game Sunday night), but was still able to produce one of his more efficient outings of the season. The All-Star point guard finished with 24 points (10-21 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 1-1 FT), four rebounds, eight assists, one block and two steals over 40 minutes.
      • I was impressed by what I saw out of Nassir Little during Portland's win. The third-year forward recorded eight points (3-7 FG. 1-4 3Pt, 1-2 FT), one rebound, one assist and one block in a reserve-high 24 minutes. Little has averaged 11.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.7 steals over his past three contests and is starting to find a role in Portland's offense for the first time in his career.
  • Despite the losing effort, OG Anunoby put on a show. The improved wing put in 29 points (9-19 FG, 6-10 3Pt, 5-6 FT), six rebounds, two assists and three steals over 41 minutes. His 20.1 points per game average is over four more points per contest than last year's figure.
    • Fred VanVleet's final stat line may not have stood out too much, as he put in 16 points (6-13 FG, 4-8 3Pt), six rebounds, seven assists, one block and two steals across 40 minutes, but the guard was incredibly impressive down the stretch as he drilled multiple rainbow threes late in the game.
    • Gary Trent looked good against his former team. The guard put up 18 points (8-16 FG, 2-6 3Pt), six rebounds, two steals and one assist in 39 minutes.

Bulls complete LA sweep

  • The Bulls defeated the Clippers on Sunday night and were able to take down the Lakers on Monday, as well, winning by a margin of 121-103 Chicago's stars showed out during the victory. DeMar DeRozan dropped yet another insane scoring outing, finishing with 38 points (15-23 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 6-6 FT), six assists, three rebounds, one steal and one block in 35 minutes.
    • Lonzo Ball also showed out against his former team. The point guard was on fire, recording 27 points (10-13 FG, 7-10 3Pt), eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes.
    • Zach LaVine was not going to be left out of the scoring party, putting up 26 points (10-22 FG, 6-13 3Pt), five rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes.
  • Talen Horton-Tucker showed out in just his second showing of the season. The Iowa State product dropped 28 points (9-19 FG, 4-9 3Pt, 6-6 FT), six rebounds, two assists and one steal in 37 minutes. While LeBron James will likely be back before the end of the week, THT looks like he has serious fantasy value for the time being.
    • Russell Westbrook posted 25 points (8-19 FG, 0-6 3Pt, 9-10 FT), eight assists, six rebounds and one steal in 31 minutes during the loss.
    • Anthony Davis was ejected in the third quarter after complaining to the officials about inbounding the ball while he was down a shoe. Davis finished with 20 points (6-9 FG, 8-9 FT), six rebounds, one assist and one steal in 27 minutes.

Best and Worst of the Night

  • Stud of the Night: Nikola Jokic – 35 points (15-26 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 3-6 FT), 16 rebounds, six assists,  two blocks and three turnovers in 36 minutes
  • Dud of the Night: Evan Mobley – One point (0-11 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 1-2 FT), nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks and three turnovers in 28 minutes
  • Rookie of the Night: Cade Cunningham – 25 points (10-20 FG, 5-11 3Pt), eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals over 35 minutes

Quick Hitters

  • Jayson Tatum carried the load for the Celtics as Jaylen Brown missed his fifth straight game during Boston's 98-92 win in Cleveland. The All-Star forward finished with 23 points (7-20 FG, 2-8 3Pt, 7-7 FT), eight rebounds, five-assist, two blocks and one steal in 35 minutes.
  • With Jarrett Allen (illness) sidelined for the night, Ricky Rubio slid into the starting lineup for Cleveland and impressed once again. The veteran point guard put up 28 points (9-20 FG, 4-8 3Pt, 6-7 FT), six rebounds, two assists in 37 minutes.
    • Cedi Osman dropped 26 points (10-17 FG, 6-12 3Pt), five assists, two rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes in the loss.
  • With Jimmy Butler (ankle) sidelined for the Heat for a third straight game, Tyler Herro continued his scoring dominance. The third-year guard dropped 26 points (9-18 FG, 5-8 3Pt, 3-3 FT) seven rebounds, six assists and two steals across 37 minutes in Miami's 103-90 win over OKC.
  • Mitchell Robinson left the Knicks' 92-84 victory over the Pacers early due to a sore ankle. The 23-year-old has struggled with injuries throughout his young career so hopefully, this is nothing serious. Taj Gibson and Obi Toppin emerge as candidates to see more opportunities if Robinson is forced to miss time.
  • Ja Morant carried the Grizzlies to a 136-102 blowout victory over the Grizzlies. The high-flying guard totaled 22 points (9-15 FG, 4-6 3Pt), six assists, six rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot in just 24 minutes of action.
    • Jaren Jackson posted one of his best defensive efforts of the season during the easy win. The Michigan State product put up 18 points (7-14 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT) to go with seven rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots across 24 minutes.
  • Tyrese Haliburton recorded a double-double while stuffing the stat sheet during Sacramento's 129-107 throttling of the Pistons. The second-year guard ended with 17 points (7-11 FG, 3-3 3Pt), 10 assists, two rebounds, two steals and one block in 34 minutes.
    • Chimezie Metu put up a double-double in just his second start of the season, ending with 16 points (6-11 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 10 rebounds, two steals and one block in 32 minutes. The forward has slid into the Kings' starting lineup for their past two contests and has averaged 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in 28.0 minutes per game.
  • Saddiq Bey showed out in Detroit's loss, finishing with 28 points (9-17 FG, 4-9 3Pt, 6-7 FT), four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 28 minutes.
  • It was a very balanced effort for the Hawks during their 129-111 beatdown over the Magic. Trae Young, John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Clint Capela all scored between 20 and 23 points in the win.
  • Jalen Suggs (ankle) missed his first career contest, so much of the backcourt load fell onto Cole Anthony's shoulders and the second-year guard impressed again. Anthony recorded 29 points (11-19 FG, 4-8 3Pt, 3-4 FT), 11 assists, three rebounds and two steals across 36 minutes in the losing effort.
    • Coming off of a mostly lackluster rookie season, Anthony is on the short list of the league's most-improved players.
  • Coby White (shoulder) made his season debut during the Bulls' win over the Lakers. The third-year guard was very limited in the showing, recording zero points (0-2 FG) and one rebound in 11 minutes off the bench. It will be interesting to see how his return affects the playing time of the rest of Chicago's guards.

Rookie Report

  • Cade Cunningham: 25 points (10-20 FG, 5-11 3Pt), eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals over 35 minutes
    • The kid is going to be alright. Cunningham was one of the only Pistons' players with an offensive pulse during Detroit's loss while he had by far his best shooting performance of the season.
  • Jalen Green: 15 points (6-13 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT), two rebounds, one assist, one steal and three turnovers in 27 minutes.
    • This was one of Green's better shooting days and his second straight showing finishing with double-digit points. Still, Green's lack of consistency and efficiency makes him a pretty hard fantasy option to trust right now.
  • Evan Mobley: One point (0-11 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 1-2 FT), nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks and three turnovers in 28 minutes.
    • With Jarett Allen (illness) out of the lineup and Ricky Rubio sliding into the starting lineup, one would have expected potentially the best showing yet out of the impressive rookie. However, it was the exact opposite as Mobley had by far his worst showing of the year. Surely there will be better days ahead.
  • Scottie Barnes: 18 points (6-14 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 6-6 FT), eight rebounds, two assists and three turnovers in 39 minutes.
    • The rookie impressed on the offensive end, but it was a bit of a struggle for him defensively as both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum both went off. Barnes is playing at a consistent enough level to warrant rostering in virtually all season-long leagues.
  • Josh Giddey: Six points (3-10 FG, 0-5 3Pt), nine rebounds, nine assists, two blocks, one steal and four turnovers in 31 minutes.
  • It was more of the same for Giddey during Monday night's loss. The rookie out of Australia continues to struggle with his shooting, but his playmaking ability continues to stand out. Giddey has recorded at least four assists in 12 straight games for the Thunder and his 6.2 assists per game are more than 2.0 per game better than the next-highest rookie.
  • Franz Wagner: 19 points (7-14 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 3-5 FT), five rebounds, three assists, one block and three turnovers in 35 minutes.
    • With Jalen Suggs (ankle) out for the game, Wagner shined as the only rookie starting for Orlando. The wing's 19 points marked the most he has scored in his past six contests.
  • Davion Mitchell: Seven points (3-6 FG, 1-2 3Pt), seven rebounds, two steals, one block and one turnover in 19 minutes
    • The rookie out of Baylor did not see the court much during Sacramento's blowout win, but Mitchell still looked good in the victory. Mitchell's seven assists were one shy away from tying a season-high. However, the guard has seen his minutes decrease in three straight contests, making him a difficult fantasy option to trust
  • Alperen Sengun: Nine points (3-9 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 3-5 3Pt), five rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal in 17 minutes.
    • The rookie out of Turkey did a nice job stuffing the stat sheet in just 17 minutes Sengun is really starting to find a bit of a groove in his limited playing time on time on the court, averaging 10.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in 18.7 minutes per contest. I am extremely curious to see what Sengun would do if he is given 30 or more minutes of action.
  • Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: 16 points (6-11 FG, 4-6 3Pt), five rebounds, two assists, one block and two turnovers in 25 minutes.
    • This was one of JRE's best performances of the season. The rookie out of Villanova has now started three straight games for Oklahoma City, which has begun rotating some of its veteran bigs out of the rotation on a night-to-night basis.

Looking Ahead to Tuesday Night

  • Former All-Star teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant face off as the Warriors travel to Brooklyn to match up against the Nets
  • Can the Joel Embiid-Less 76ers end their four-game losing streak against the Jazz?

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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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