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.
Here is all you need to know from what was a great 11-game slate.
Kyrie makes his debut
- After much uncertainty to start the season, Kyrie Irving finally made his first appearance of the year as the Nets matched up against the Pacers in Indiana. The All-Star guard looked like he hadn't missed a beat, dropping in 22 points (9-17 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 4-4 FT), three rebounds, four assists, one block and three steals across 32 minutes.
- Brooklyn found itself down double digits at the half, but the Nets offense is just a completely new type of weapon now that Irving is added into the mix. The Nets are scary good.
- While most of the attention was Kyrie Irving making his return to the court, Kevin Durant dropped an almost-quiet 39 points (15-24 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 7-7 FT), eight rebounds, seven assists and one steal across 41 minutes. The two-time champion is averaging 30.0 points per game this season, his most in six seasons.
- Lance Stephenson had a night to remember, despite Indiana blowing the lead in the second half. The veteran guard started the game on fire and scored 20 straight points for the Pacers in the first quarter. Stephenson ended the contest with 30 points (12-19 FG, 4-8 3Pt, 2-2 FT), three rebounds and five assists over 32 minutes and it would honestly be surprising to see the team let him go back to free agency this season.
- Domantas Sabonis: 32 points (10-14 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 11-13 FT), 12 rebounds and 10 assists across 38 minutes.
KPJ up-ends the Wizards
- Earlier this week Kevin Porter was suspended following a half-time altercation with an assistant coach. However, the young guard showed just how valuable he is after sinking a game-winning three-point jump shot to push the Rockets to a 114-111 road victory over the Wizards. Porter didn't shoot the ball great, but was still able to stuff the stat sheet with nine points (3-13 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 1-4 FT), seven rebounds, eight assists and four steals across 35 minutes.
- Jalen Green continues to look more and more comfortable with each game for Houston. The No. 2 overall pick ended with 22 points (8-17 FG, 2-7 3Pt, 4-5 FT), six rebounds and one assist across 34 minutes and is averaging 20.6 points per game over his last five showings.
- Christian Wood was also suspended for the Rockets' last game and he finished with a solid 22 points (8-17 FG, 2-7 3Pt, 4-5 FT), six rebounds and one assist across 34 minutes in his return.
- Despite the losing effort, Bradley Beal quietly keeps on rolling. He finished with 27 points (9-25 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 6-6 FT), five rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal across 29 minutes and is now averaging 30.1 points per game over his last seven showings, I think there was a lot of media attention early in the season on Beal's struggles, but there is just no talk about how the All-Star looks like he is back.
- Just how good is Kyle Kuzma? The first-year Wizard impressed again with 24 points (9-20 FG, 0-8 3Pt, 6-8 FT), nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. Despite some rough outside shooting, Kuz has dropped at least 20 points in five straight games while he is averaging an elite 27.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game over that span
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: 26 points (10-16 FG, 5-9 3Pt, 1-1 FT), six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and three steals over 40 minutes
Spurs hang on in Pop's 2,000th career game
- Gregg Popovich made history Wednesday as he became the first head-coach to coach 2000 games with a single franchise while the Spurs were able to defeat the Celtics 99-97. But it was one wild game.
- San Antonio was leading by two with five seconds left before Jock Landale turned the ball over on the inbounds only for Jaylen Brown to miss a game-tying fast break layup. Dejounte Murray showed no signs of rust in his return from a five-game stay in the health and safety protocols. The underrated guard finished with 22 points (11-21 FG, 0-2 3Pt), nine rebounds, 12 assists and three steals across 33 minutes
- Derrick White: 17 points (7-17 FG, 3-7 3Pt), four rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 31 minutes
- Despite missing the game-tying shot, Jaylen Brown had a stellar game throughout for the Celtics. The All-Star wing recorded 30 points (12-25 FG, 4-8 3Pt, 2-3 FT), six rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals over 35 minutes. Brown has gone for 30 or more points in three out of his last four showings.
- Jayson Tatum did not have the best shooting day in his return from a four game absence due to the league's health and safety protocols. He ended with 19 points (6-20 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 6-6 FT), eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 37 minutes.
Luka pushes Mavs over Dubs, tweaks other ankle
- The Golden State warriors traveled to Dallas to take on the Mavericks on Wednesday, while Luka Doncic and company were able to roll to a 99-82 win after a strong second-half. The young star ended the contest with 26 points (7-18 FG, 2-8 3Pt, 10-12 FT), seven rebounds, eight assists and two steals, but he did end up tweaking his right ankle. The injury does not seem to be too serious, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on.
- Jalen Brunson: 15 points (6-15 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 3-4 FT), two rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes
- Simply put, Stephen Curry did not look good. The world's greatest shooter finished the loss with 14 points (5-24 FG, 1-9 3Pt, 3-4 FT), nine rebounds, five assists and one block across 36 minutes. Curry is apparently dealing with a strained quad and is likely to miss the team's contest against the Pelicans on Thursday. Albeit it has been only three games, but Curry is averaging just 17.0 points on 25.8 percent shooting from deep in the month of January thus far. However, this is Stephen Curry we are talking about. He's bound to make us forget about this little slump very soon.
- Andrew Wiggins: 17 points (7-13 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 1-4 FT), three rebounds, two assists, one block and two steals across 32 minutes
Center-less Jazz get it done against Jokic
- The Utah Jazz were without both Rudy Gobert (illness) and Hassan Whiteside (concussion) as they traveled to Denver to face the Nuggets. However, despite being undersized against one of the best centers in the league, they were still able to leave with a 115-109. Bojan Bogdanovic snapped for 36 points (12-20 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 11-13 FT), 13 rebounds, four assists and one steal across 40 minutes.
- Rudy Gay: 18 points (6-9 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 2-2 FT), seven rebounds, one assist, two blocks and one steal across 29 minutes.
- Despite the losing effort, Nikola Jokic was absolutely incredible once again. The dynamic center ended with 26 points (10-17 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 5-6 FT), 21 rebounds, 11 assists and two blocks over 37 minutes. The Joker is averaging a casual 25.7 points and 18.3 rebounds per game over his last six contests.
- Will Barton: 20 points (7-17 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 4-4 FT), four rebounds, five assists and one steal over 38 minutes.
Oubre explodes in fourth
- The Charlotte Hornets were already handling the Detroit Pistons pretty easily, but Kelly Oubre decided to pour salt into Detroit's wounds with a monster fourth quarter. The first-year Hornet drilled eight fourth-quarter triples en route to 32 points (10-16 FG, 9-14 3Pt, 3-3 FT), six rebounds and one block over 24 minutes to push Charlotte to a 140-111 victory. I seriously advise everyone to watch the highlights of his fourth-quarter explosion, but pretty much just to listen to Hornets' announcer Eric Collins go berserk throughout.
- LaMelo Ball: 12 points (4-11 FG, 3-9 3Pt, 1-2 FT), eight rebounds, 12 assists, one block and one steal in 30 minutes.
- It was not a pretty showing for the Pistons as they were crushed by the Hornets on the road. Trey Lyles dropped a team-high 17 points (7-13 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 2-4 FT), seven rebounds and one assist over 24 minutes. The veteran forward is actually averaging an impressive 18.7 points and 7.3 rebounds over his last three outings, but those numbers are bound to take a dip with Isaiah Stewart's impending return to the lineup.
- Cade Cunningham: 16 points (6-12 FG, 4-9 3Pt), two rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 26 minutes.
Best and Worst of the Night
- Best of the Night: Kevin Durant - 39 points (15-24 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 7-7 FT), eight rebounds, seven assists and one steal across 41 minutes.
- Worst of the Night: Danny Green - 22 minutes of running around and one solid Tony Snell tribute
- Rookie of the Night: Josh Giddey - 14 points (6-11 FG, 2-4 3Pt), 15 rebounds, six assists and one steal across 34 minutes.
- People need to start paying more attention to the 76ers and Joel Embiid. Philadelphia cruised to its fifth straight win after a 116-106 victory in Orlando while Embiid totaled 31 points (12-22 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 7-10 FT), five rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block over 33 minutes. This is the All-Star big's seventh 30-point outing out of his last eight appearances while the MVP candidate is averaging 33.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game over that span.
- Seth Curry: 20 points (8-13 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 1-2 FT), seven rebounds, 12 assists and one steal across 42 minutes.
- Cole Anthony missed the Magic's last five games due to an ankle injury but was able to make his return to the court during Wednesday's loss to Philly. He was as aggressive as ever and recorded 26 points (9-21 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 5-7 FT), five rebounds, seven assists and one steal across 26 minutes,
- Mo Bamba: 19 points (8-12 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 1-1 FT), eight rebounds, one assist, two blocks and two steals in 28 minutes
- The Minnesota Timberwolves are finally getting nearly all healthy as both D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns made their return to the team during their 98-90 win over the Thunder. KAT finished with 17 points (6-14 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 4-5 FT), 16 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal over 36 minutes in his first action back.
- Anthony Edwards: 22 points (8-17 FG, 4-10 3Pt, 2-3 FT), five rebounds, five steals and two assists over 32 minutes.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also made his return to the court after missing just one game due to COVID for the Thunder. SGA finished with 19 points (5-15 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 7-7 FT), five assists and two rebounds over 37 minutes of play.
- Josh Giddey: 14 points (6-11 FG, 2-4 3Pt), 15 rebounds, six assists and one steal across 34 minutes.
- Pascal Siakam keeps rolling as he finished with 33 points (13-23 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 5-7 FT), five rebounds, six assists, one block and three steals in 42 minutes during the Raptors' 117-111 win in Milwaukee. The forward is averaging 24.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game over his last five games.
- OG Anunoby: 22 points (6-10 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 6-8 FT), six rebounds and two assists across 35 minutes
- The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo during their loss to the Raptors, which in turn let Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday run the show for Milwaukee. Middleton ended with 25 points (9-16 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 6-8 FT), six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal. Holiday neared a triple-double with 15 points (5-15 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 2-4 FT), eight rebounds, 12 assists, three blocks and one steal.
- DeMarcus Cousins had a great game in the loss, posting 15 points (5-8 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 3-4 FT), 10 rebounds, three steals and one block over 19 minutes, but the veteran center was surprisingly released after the game. I don't think it will be too long before Cousins finds a new home as he really did impress me during his short stint with the Bucks.
- The Hawks were without Trae Young for their contest against the Kings, but they were still able to leave Sacramento with a 108-102 win. Kevin Huerter came up clutch for Atlanata while finishing with 25 points (10-18 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 4-7 FT), 11 rebounds, five assists and one steal over 33 minutes.
- Cam Reddish: 18 points (7-19 FG, 2-7 3Pt, 2-2 FT), two rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal in 37 minutes.
- Is De'Aaron Fox finally finding his stride? The speedy guard finished with 30 points (12-23 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 5-7 FT), two rebounds, six assists and one steal across 38 minutes. This marks back-to-back 30-point outings for Fox while he is averaging 28.0 points and 6.0 assists per game over his last three showings.
- Tyrese Haliburton: 24 points (8-16 FG, 5-7 3Pt, 3-3 FT), five rebounds, two assists and three steals over 38 minutes
- The Heat were without Jimmy Butler while the Trail Blazers were without Damian Lillard, but Miami was able to leave Portland victorious after winning 115-109. It was a pretty wacky game as both Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro were ejected throughout the contest. Max Strus continues to be a pleasant surprise this season as the three-point marksman finished with 25 points (9-17 FG, 7-13 3Pt), six rebounds and five assists across 31 minutes.
- Omer Yurtseven also just keeps piling up the double-doubles after an impressive 14 points (5-9 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 3-5 FT), 16 rebounds, four assists and one block in 32 minutes. The 23-year-old has started the past six games for Miami while averaging 12.8 points and 15.2 rebounds over that span.
- Anfernee Simons looked good once again as he started in Damian Lillard's (abdominal) place. The fourth-year pro ended with 28 points (9-17 FG, 5-10 3Pt, 5-5 FT), one rebound, seven assists and two steals in 39 minutes. Simons is now averaging 35.5 points in the two straight games that Lillard has missed. Could Simons improved play be what finally drives Lillard out of Portland?
- Norman Powell: 26 points (7-18 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 9-10 FT), three rebounds, one assist and one block over 40 minutes.
A Look Ahead to Thursday Night
- Long-time rivals, the Celtics and Knicks, face off in New York City.
- Recent rivals, the Clippers and Suns battle it out in LA.
- The Pistons look to rebound after last night's blowout loss as they travel to Memphis
- Can the Curry-less Warriors take down the Pelicans in New Orleans?