Around the Association: Elite Bigs Shine, Trae Goes Off, Westbrook Gets Bench And More From A 13-Game Slate

Around the Association: Elite Bigs Shine, Trae Goes Off, Westbrook Gets Bench And More From A 13-Game Slate

This article is part of our NBA Daily Recap series.

Welcome to Around the Association! 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 last night's monster, 13-game slate:

Nightly Notables 

Embiid drops 50, outduels... Mo Bamba?

  • Joel Embiid was absolutely on one during Philadelphia's 123-110 win over Orlando. The game was fairly close throughout, but the All-Star center finished with 50 points (17-23 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 15-17 FT) while adding 12 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal in only 27 minutes. This marked the fourth time that Embiid has topped 40 points this season and the 7-footer is most certainly firmly in the MVP conversation.
    • Tobias Harris bounced back after a weak, seven-point out in the team's previous contest. The veteran forward ended with 21 points (8-13 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 4-5 FT) while adding four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in 35 minutes.
  • Embiid was not the only big man to impress Wednesday night in Philly. Mo Bamba went off for 32 points (12-15 FG, 7-8 3Pt, 1-2 FT) while adding four rebounds, three blocks and two assists in 30 minutes. Most of his damage came in the first half as he was 6-7 from three after the first two quarters. This was the Texas product's first time topping 20 points this season.
    • Chuma Okeke was also on fire from deep in the loss. The second-year pro started the last five games for Orlando, but moved to the bench for Jalen Suggs. Despite being removed from the starting lineup, Okeke still impressed with 18 points (6-7 FG, 6-7 3Pt) while adding three rebounds, an assist and a block in 21 minutes

The Joker gets the last laugh         

  • Nikola Jokic must have seen Embiid go off as he put together one of his best career performances during Denver's comeback win against the Clippers. Los Angeles was leading throughout, but the Nuggets and Jokic stormed back in the second half to send the game to overtime.
  • With the game tied in the final seconds, the reigning MVP made a pass that essentially only he can make as he lofted a perfect dime to Aaron Gordon for a game-winning corner three-pointer. The Joker ended with 49 points (16-25 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 14-16), 14 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals and one block across 41 minutes. This also marked his third straight triple-double.
    • Aaron Gordon did hit the game-winning shot, but he was incredible throughout. The high-flying wing totaled 28 points (10-16 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 4-6 FT), four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Gordon is starting to find his scoring groove for Denver, reaching at least 20 points in three out of his last five appearances.
  • While Jokic stole the show, Ivica Zubac had a career performance with 32 points (15-19 FG, 2-2 FT), 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block across 37 minutes. This game is certainly an outlier as this was just his first time scoring over 18 points this season, so you shouldn't really expect another type of performance from him any time soon.
    • Reggie Jackson has been balling as of late. The veteran point guard totaled 28 points (12-22 FG, 3-11 3Pt, 1-2 FT), three rebounds and 12 assists across 38 minutes of action. Jackson is averaging 27.0 points and 7.5 assists over his last two showings.

Brooklyn escapes Washington with a win

  • One of the more thrilling games of the night came in Washington as the Nets came to town. Brooklyn led early in the game, but the Wizards were able to storm back and even had a chance to win the game.
  • The Nets were up 119-118 Kyle Kuzma game-winning three-point attempt fell short and Spencer Dinwiddie was able to heave the ball up in the final seconds, but the shot rimmed out, leaving Brooklyn as the winner.
  • Kyrie Irving was brilliant with a smooth 30 points (13-23 FG, 2-8 3Pt, 2-2 FT), three rebounds, seven assists and one steal over 38 minutes. The star guard is getting back into rhythm as he is averaging 28.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists over his last two contests.
    • LaMarcus Aldridge had a blast from the past with a season-high 27 points (11-15 FG, 5-5 FT), six rebounds, three assists and two blocks over 32 minutes. The veteran forward may be in line to see more usage with Kevin Durant (knee) on the sidelines.
    • James Harden: 18 points (7-21 FG, 0-5 3Pt, 4-6 FT), eight rebounds, nine assists and eight turnovers over 39 minutes.
  • Bradley Beal finished with a team-high 23 points (7-18 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 6-8 FT), four rebounds, nine assists, one block and two steals over 37 minutes. While there is much talk about Beal's huge decrease in scoring, I do think it is important to note that the All-Star guard is averaging a career-best 6.4 assists per game.
    • Kyle Kuzma: 16 points (5-11 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 5-6 FT), six rebounds, one steal and one block over 31 minutes.

Trae shines against T'Wolves

  • The Timberwolves got off to a quick start against the Hawks in Atlanta, but Trae Young decided to go off in the second half to help push Atlanta to a 134-122 win. Young finished with 37 points (10-17 FG, 6-10 3Pt, 11-11 FT) while adding 14 assists, five rebounds and a steal in 36 minutes. The Oklahoma product was drilling some absolutely ridiculous three-pointers throughout and had one of his iconic nutmegs to help seal the win. Young is averaging 32.0 points and 10.0 assists per game over his last three showings.
    • De'Andre Hunter keeps finding the basket as of recent. The Virginia product ended with 22 points (9-16 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 1-2 FT) while adding five rebounds, an assist and a steal in 34 minutes during Wednesday's 134-122 win over the Timberwolves. This marks his third time topping 20 points in his last four appearances.
    • Onyeka Okongwu: 17 points (5-8 FG, 7-9 FT) while adding eight rebounds, five blocks, an assist and a steal in 34 minutes.
  • Despite the losing effort, D'Angelo Russell had one of his better games of the season for Minnesota. The smooth point guard totaled 31 points (10-18 FG, 5-13 3Pt, 6-9 FT) while adding five assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block in 35 minutes. This marked Russell's third 30-point outing this season.
    • Anthony Edwards got off to a great start in his only contest in his hometown, but the young star was ejected for arguing with the refs in the third quarter. Edwards had totaled 20 points (7-16 FG, 4-10 3Pt, 2-2 FT) and five rebounds in just 24 minutes.

Westbrook gets benched

  • After three fairly even quarters of basketball, the Pacers took over in LA against the Lakers in the fourth and were able to leave with a 111-104 victory. Caris LeVert was clutch for Indiana, dropping 30 points (12-16 FG, 3-4 3Pt, 3-4 FT), eight rebounds, two assists and one steal across 27 minutes. He scored 22 of his points in the fourth quarter to push the Pacers over the top.
    • Malcolm Brogdon missed 12 of the Pacers' last 14 contests due to an Achilles injury, but the guard looked good in Indiana's win. The 29-year-old totaled. 19 points (7-14 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 5-5 FT), four rebounds, six assists and one steal in 26 minutes.
    • Domantas Sabonis shined with an outstanding triple-double, finishing with 20 points (9-12 FG, 2-2 3Pt), 12 rebounds, 10 assists and one block in 35 minutes. However, he suffered what appears to be a significant ankle sprain and may be forced to miss a good chunk of time. The Pacers just can't dodge the injury bullet.
  • The main takeaway of this game for me was that Russell Westbrook was benched for the last four minutes of the team's contest as hot-seated coach Frank Vogel opted to roll with Austin Reaves and Malik Monk in his backcourt. Westbrook's messy first year in LA just continues to get worse and worse.
    • Well, the Lakers' loss was certainly not LeBron James' fault. I seriously can't believe what we are witnessing out of the 37-year-old as he ended the loss with 30 points (11-22 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 5-7 FT), 12 rebounds, five assists and two steals over 37 minutes. James currently ranks as the No. 2 overall nine-category fantasy option on a per-game basis.

Dallas and Toronto battle it out

  • The Raptors traveled to Dallas to take on the Mavericks and, boy, was it an incredible game. It was a close game pretty much the whole time, but Luka Doncic took over late and hit a dagger three as the Mavericks ended victorious by a score of 102-98. The All-Star guard was sensational, finishing with a season-best 41 points (13-24 FG, 4-10 3Pt, 11-12 FT) to go with 14 rebounds, seven assists and one steal over 42 minutes. This was by far Doncic's best outing since returning from his lengthy absence due to both leg injuries and COVID.
    • Kristaps Porzingis: 18 points (5-10 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 8-8 FT), seven rebounds, two assists and one steal across 33 minutes.
  • The Raptors played seven players and six of them reached double-figures. Pascal Siakam finished with a team-best 20 points (7-18 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 6-8 FT), eight rebounds, three assists and three steals across 43 minutes in the loss. The forward is posting 23.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game over his last 10 games.
    • Fred VanVleet: 18 points (4-20 FG, 3-15 3Pt, 7-8 FT), two rebounds and 12 assists across 41 minutes.

Pistons and Kings thriller

  • While the majority of NBA fans probably would look right past Wednesday's contest between Detroit and Sacramento, it actually was one of the best games of the season. It was tight throughout, but the Kings found themselves up by nearly 10 points with just two minutes left. The Pistons were able to storm back in the final minutes behind a barrage of three-pointers and eventually took a two point lead behind a mid-range jumper from Cory Joseph. De'Aaron Fox's jumper to tie the game fell short and Detroit snuck out of Sacramento with a 133-131 win.
  • Saddiq Bey scored a team-high 30 points (10-18 FG, 5-9 3Pt, 5-5 FT), seven rebounds, three assists and one steal in 34 minutes. This was a nice performance from the second-year pro as he had failed to top 15 points in his previous four contests.
    • Kelly Olynyk returned to the Pistons' lineup after missing the team's last 33 games due to a knee injury. The versatile forward looked like he hadn't missed a beat and ended with 22 points (8-17 FG, 2-7 3Pt, 4-4 FT), nine rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal over 22 minutes.
  • Terence Davis absolutely balled out for the Kings. The 6-foot-4 guard finished with a career-high 35 points (11-23 FG, 7-13 3Pt, 6-7 FT), six rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal over 38 minutes. Davis did all he could late to help push the Sacramento to victory, scoring 14 points in the fourth.
    • De'Aaron Fox: 27 points (10-20 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 7-8 FT), six rebounds, eight assists and one steal over 37 minutes.
    • The Kings were without Tyrese Haliburton, who remains in COVID protocols.

Best and Worst of the Night

  • Best of the Night: Nikola Jokic - 49 points (16-25 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 14-16), 14 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals and one block across 41 minutes
  • Also really good: Joel Embiid - 50 points (17-23 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 15-17 FT) while adding 12 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal in only 27 minutes.
  • Worst of the Night: Jalen Green - Seven points (3-13 FG, 1-4 3Pt), five rebounds and one steal across 22 minutes.
  • Rookie of the Night: Ayo Dosunmu - 18 points (7-8 FG, 3-4 3Pt, 1-2 FT), three rebounds, eight assists and two steals across 39 minutes.

Quick Hitters

  • The Milwaukee Bucks were able to pull away from Memphis by a score of 126-114 behind a strong performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time MVP stuffed the stat sheet with 33 points (12-25 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 7-8 FT), 15 rebounds, seven assists, one block and two steals across 31 minutes.
    • Khris Middleton: 27 points (10-18 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 6-6 FT), seven rebounds, seven assists and one block over 35 minutes.
  • Ja Morant was incredible in the loss. The rising superstar ended with 33 points (12-27 FG, 4-10 3Pt, 5-5 FT), eight rebounds, 14 assists in 39 minutes. Morant's 14 assists tied a career-high.
    • Jaren Jackson: 29 points (9-20 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 9-10 FT), nine rebounds, one assist and four blocks across 31 minutes.
  • After dropping four straight contests, the Chicago Bulls got back in the win column with a 117-104 victory over the Cavaliers. DeMar DeRozan was great in the win, dropping a smooth 30 points (14-24 FG, 2-5 FT), two rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and one steal in 36 minutes. This was DeRozan's first 30-point outing in his last 10 contests.
    • Ayo Dosunmu continues to be awesome for Chicago as of late. The second-round rookie produced 18 points (7-8 FG, 3-4 3Pt, 1-2 FT), three rebounds, eight assists and two steals across 39 minutes. With Lonzo Ball's (knee) status uncertain and Zach LaVine still sidelined, the Illinois product should continue to see plenty of run.
    • Editor's note: The Bulls announced Ball will undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus and is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks.
  • Lauri Markkanen had a solid revenge game against the Bulls despite coming up short in the contest. The sharpshooting forward posted a season-high 28 points (9-14 FG, 5-9 3Pt, 5-6 FT), seven rebounds, one block and one steal across 33 minutes.
    • Darius Garland will not stop dropping dimes. The improved guard totaled 20 points (9-18 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 1-2 FT), five rebounds and 12 assists in 40 minutes. Garland is averaging 12.5 assists per game over his last six showings.
  • On most nights, the Houston Rockets upsetting the Utah Jazz would be one of the bigger headlines, but that is just a testament to how wild of a night Wednesday was. Garrison Mathews helped push the Rockets to a 116-111 victory with a team-high 23 points (5-10 FG, 5-9 3Pt, 8-10 FT), four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 29 minutes.
    • Christian Wood: 13 points (5-12 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 0-2 FT), 15 rebounds, four assists and one block across 32 minutes.
  • Despite some rough outside shooting, Bojan Bogdanovic was Utah's best offense player as Donovan Mitchell was sidelined with a concussion. The veteran wing ended with 29 points (11-27 FG, 3-13 3Pt, 4-4 FT), five rebounds and one assist across 37 minutes.
    • Rudy Gobert: 23 points (9-13 FG, 5-7 FT), nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals across 37 minutes.
  • Terry Rozier led the way for Charlotte during its 111-102 win over his former Boston Celtics team. The Louisville product ended with a game-high 28 points (10-18 FG, 6-11 3Pt, 2-2 FT), four rebounds and 10 assists over 41 minutes. This marked Rozier's fourth time reaching 20 points in his last five outings.
    • LaMelo Ball: 15 points (5-15 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 10 rebounds, 10 assists and one block in 32 minutes.
  • Jayson Tatum had a pretty abysmal performance during the loss to Charlotte and ended with just 12 points (5-19 FG, 0-7 3Pt, 2-3 FT), six rebounds, three assists and one steal across 35 minutes.
    • Dennis Schroder: 24 points (9-16 FG, 5-8 3Pt, 1-1 FT), seven rebounds, five assists and three steals across 37 minutes.
  • Jimmy Butler was ejected early in the contest, but the Heat were still able to hang on to 104-92 win over the Trail Blazers. Caleb Martin continues to have a quiet breakout season, ending with a team-high 26 points (8-12 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 7-7 FT), eight rebounds and two assists across 32 minutes.
    • Bam Adebayo: 20 points (8-12 FG, 4-7 FT), 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and five steals in 32 minutes.
  • Anfernee Simons had a performance that must make fantasy owners happy as he proved he is capable of putting up numbers even with the return of CJ McCollum to the Blazers' lineup. The young sharpshooter put in 27 points (9-18 FG, 6-14 3Pt, 3-4 FT), three rebounds, seven assists, one block and one steal in 38 minutes. The kid can play.
    • CJ McCollum: 24 points (10-20 FG, 4-9 3Pt), three rebounds, four assists and two steals across 32 minutes.
  • The Spurs rolled past the Thunder by a score of 118-96 at home. Dejounte Murray was stellar once again, posting 23 points (11-20 FG, 1-6 3Pt), 10 rebounds, 14 assists and three steals over 30 minutes. This marked Murray's eight triple-double of the season.
    • Doug McDermott: 20 points (7-12 FG, 6-9 3Pt) and two rebounds across 21 minutes.
  • Josh Giddey came close to reaching a triple-double, dropping nine points (4-16 FG, 0-5 3Pt, 1-2 FT), 11 rebounds and eight assists in 33 minutes. The do-it-all rookie is averaging 13.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game over his last nine showings.
    • Aaron Wiggins: 19 points (8-11 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 2-3 FT), eight rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal across 35 minutes.

A Look Ahead to Thursday Night

  • After last night's massive 13-game slate, we have just three games on our hands
  • The Pelicans travel to New York City to face the Knicks
  • Can Luka replicate his impressive performance when the Suns head to Dallas?
  • The Pacers look to build off their win over the Lakers when they travel to San Francisco to meet the Warriors.

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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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