Around the Association: Giannis Outduels LaMelo, Boston Beats Philly, KAT Exits Early

Around the Association: Giannis Outduels LaMelo, Boston Beats Philly, KAT Exits Early

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 nine-game slate highlighted by thrillers in Milwaukee and Boston. Here is all you need to know:

Nightly Notables

Giannis and LaMelo duel it out

  • The Milwaukee Bucks and the Charlotte Hornets took part in a thriller that ended with the reigning champions winning 127-125 behind a game-winning layup by Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak was incredible all game long as he finished with 40 points (15-24 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 9-13 FT), 12 rebounds, nine assists and one steal in 38 minutes. This was his third 40-point outing already this season.
    • Khris Middleton had his best outing since coming back from COVID-19, recording 21 points (6-18 FG, 4-8 3Pt, 5-5 FT), six rebounds and five assists across 33 minutes. This was his first 20 point game in his eight games since returning to the Bucks' lineup.
  • LaMelo Ball was a superstar for Charlotte during the loss. The second-year guard dropped a career-high  36 points (12-22 FG, 8-15 3Pt, 4-4 FT), five rebounds, nine assists, one block and three steals in 41 minutes. Ball hit an incredibly difficult clutch three-pointer to tie the game with five seconds left and is certainly one of the most fun players to watch in the entire league.
    • Kelly Oubre has quietly been having a really solid season off of the bench for Charlotte. The first-year-Hornet ended Wednesday's contest with 25 points (9-14 FG, 5-9 3Pt, 2-3 FT), two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 31 minutes. Oubre is putting up 22.8 points per game over his last five showings.

Celtics win thriller over 76ers

  • The Celtics and 76ers went back and forth all night during Wednesday night's contest in Boston. The game ended in favor of the Celtics by a margin of 88-87 after Robert Williams rejected Georges Niang as the buzzer to seal the win. Jayson Tatum led the way for Boston with 26 points (9-20 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 5-5 FT), a career-high 16 rebounds, two assists and one steal across 37 minutes.
    • It was a quiet game by Jaylen Brown's standards, as he dropped just nine points (3-11 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 2-4 FT), four rebounds and three assists over 33 minutes.
  • It was not a pretty showing for Joel Embiid during Philadelphia's loss. The All-Star center recorded 13 points (3-17 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 6-10 FT), 18 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals over 33 minutes. Regardless, Wednesday's outing marked Embiid's fourth straight double-double.

Magic upset Nuggets in Anthony's return

  • Cole Anthony missed Orlando's last six games with an ankle injury, but he returned in a big way to help lead the Magic to a 108-103 victory over the Nuggets. The second-year pro finished 24 points (10-21 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 3-3 FT), eight rebounds and seven assists in 37 minutes. It is pretty clear that Anthony is quite important to this Magic squad as they did not win a single game during the six-game span that the 20-year-old was inactive.
    • Wendell Carter had an efficient outing in the victory with 18 points (8-11 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 1-1 FT) and eight rebounds across 33 minutes.
  • Despite the losing effort, Nikola Jokic neared a triple-double with 18 points (7-19 FG, 0-5 3Pt, 4-5 FT), 15 rebounds, seven assists and a steal in 36 minutes. The reigning MVP is locked in as an elite fantasy center each night and may be forced to take even another step forward on the offensive side of the floor with Michael Porter (back) out for the year.
    • It will be interesting to see who steps up as Denver's No. 2 option with Porter out of the lineup. Monte Morris dropped a team-high 22 points (10-15 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 1-2 FT), tacking on two rebounds, two assists and a block across 34 minutes in the defeat. Denver was also without Bones Hyland and Austin Rivers.

Wizards win, KAT leaves early

  • Perhaps the biggest surprise team of the year so far, the Washington Wizards, were able to earn their 14th victory of the season with a 115-107 win over the Timberwolves. Washington currently sits at second in the Eastern Conference standings.
    • Montrezl Harrell continued his unbelievable season with 27 points (11-12 FG, 5-8 FT), five rebounds and three assists in just 21 minutes.  The big man's 28.7 PER rating ranks third in the entire NBA.
      • I am also impressed by Bradley Beal this season. The All-Star guard has seemingly sacrificed some scoring for winning as he finished the contest with 19 points (8-20 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 2-4 FT), six rebounds, nine assists and one steal across 38 minutes. Beal is averaging nearly nine fewer points than last season, but his team is in a much better spot.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns was having yet another masterful showing, recording 34 points (11-25 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 10-11 FT), 10 rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal over 33 minutes, but was forced to leave the game to a back injury. The exact severity of the injury is still unknown, but hopefully, it is nothing too serious. Initial X-Rays on Towns' back returned negative.
  • Anthony Edwards also had a solid effort in the defeat, finishing with 25 points (7-17 FG, 4-9 3Pt, 7-8 FT), three rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal in 38 minutes.

Rockets win again!

  • Here is something that humors me: the Houston Rockets currently have the second-longest winning streak in the Western Conference at four consecutive games after their 114-110 win over the Thunder. However, Houston still owns the worst record in the entire conference, sitting at just 5-16. Jae'Sean Tate had a career night in the victory, recording 32 points (11-15 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 9-10 FT), 10 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks and two steals. It was an incredibly impressive outing out of the 26-year-old.
    • It was not all pretty for Houston in the victory, Christian Wood only saw nine minutes of action before leaving the contest due to an ankle injury. Hopefully, it is nothing too serious and it will be interesting to see how Houston handles their rotation if Wood is forced to miss time.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was an absolute superstar despite the losing effort. The Canadian star ended the contest with a season-high 39 points (12-26 FG, 1-8 3Pt, 14-16 FT), four rebounds, two assists and one block across 38 minutes.
    • Luguentz Dort also had a decent outing for OKC, ending with 19 points (7-13 FG, 4-8 3Pt, 1-2 FT), four assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block across 36 minutes of action.

Best and Worst of the Night

  • Best of the Night: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 40 points (15-24 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 9-13 FT), 12 rebounds, nine assists and one steal in 38 minutes
  • Worst of the Night: Duncan Robinson – Zero points (0-7 FG, 0-6 3Pt) and one steal over 20 minutes
  • Rookie of the Night: Evan Mobley – 17 points (5-10 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 5-5 FT), 11 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and one steal across 32 minutes.

Quick Hitters

  • Trae Young led the way during Atlanta's 114-111 win over the Pacers after drilling two clutch free throws to seal the deal. The guard neared a triple-double in the effort with 33 points (13-27 FG, 3-10 3Pt, 4-4 FT), adding on 10 assists, eight rebounds and two steals over 37 minutes. This marked Young's fifth straight 30 point outing as the Hawks have also won eight out of their last nine.
    • Kevin Huerter was efficient in the win with 19 points (8-11 FG, 3-4 3Pt), four rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal over 34 minutes.
  • It was not the best outside shooting night from Malcolm Brogdon, but the Virginia product still finished with 27 points (10-20 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 6-8 FT), along with nine assists, six rebounds and three steals over 36 minutes in Indiana's defeat to Atlanta.
  • Kevin Love caught fire for the Cavaliers off of the bench during Cleveland's 111-85 win over the Heat in Miami. The veteran forward recorded 22 points (6-9 FG, 6-8 3Pt, 4-4 FT), six rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block across just 21 minutes of play. This marked Love's second 20-point outing this season.
    • Jarrett Allen finished the win with his fifth straight double-double, dropping 19 points (7-8 FG, 5-5 FT), 11 rebounds, one assist and five blocks across 31 minutes.
  • With Jimmy Butler (tailbone) and Bam Adebayo (thumb) out for the Heat, Tyler Herro slid into Miami's starting lineup and led the team with 21 points (9-23 FG, 2-7 3Pt, 1-1 FT), one rebound and six assists across 36 minutes. Expect the Kentucky product to continue to be the Heat's main option on offense if Butler is forced to miss more time.
    • The Heat announced Wednesday that Adebayo will undergo surgery and miss upwards of a month.
  • Luka Doncic was great for the Mavericks during their easy 139-107 win over the Pelicans. The All-Star guard dropped 28 points (11-16 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 4-4 FT), four rebounds, 14 assists and one steal over 27 minutes. Doncic has been in his facilitating bag, averaging 11.3 dimes per game over his last three showings.
    • Kristaps Porzingis also had a nice outing with 20 points (9-15 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 1-1 FT), 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks across 28 minutes.
  • Brandon Ingram had an outstanding night for the Pelicans despite the team getting blown out by Dallas. The forward recorded 29 points (11-17 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 4-4 FT), two rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes. Ingram has dropped 20 or more points in four out of his last five showings.
  • De'Aaron Fox had a decent outing for Sacramento during its 124-115 win over the Paul George-less Clippers. The speedster guard recorded  24 points (7-14 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 8-9 FT), three rebounds, five assists, one block and three steals across 36 minutes.
    • Terence Davis saw his third straight start and finished the win with a season-high 23 points (9-14 FG, 5-9 3Pt), four rebounds, two assists and three steals in 30 minutes.

Rookie Spotlight

  • Evan Mobley: 17 points (5-10 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 5-5 FT), 11 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and one steal across 32 minutes.
    • I mean this kid is just so darn good. Mobley recorded his fourth double-double of the season and has been averaging an impressive 3.2 blocks per game over his last six appearances. It is really starting to seem like the Cavs struck gold with this pick.
  • Franz Wagner: 15 points (6-9 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 2-2 FT), five assists, three rebounds, three steals and one block across 32 minutes
    • While this certainly was not as good as of performance as Wagner's 27-point Monday night outing, the wing continues to look awesome for the Magic. Wagner's playmaking is what has been really standing out to me as the rookie out of Michigan has recorded at least four assists in five straight appearances.
  • Davion Mitchell: 20 points (7-10 FG, 3-4 3Pt, 3-3 FT), three rebounds, two assists and two steals across 28 minutes
    • The rookie out of Baylor was huge for the Kings off of the bench and reached 20 points for just the second time this season. Mitchell has had some real nice outings for Sacramento, but is still not doing playing at a consistent enough rate to be considered in fantasy lineups.
  • Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: 12 points (5-9 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 2-4 FT), nine rebounds, four assists and one steal over 34 minutes
    • Derrick Favors (illness) was sidelined for the contest, which led the JRE to see a season-high in minutes while he came close to recording a double-double. The rookie out of Villanova has started the Thunder's last five contests and has averaged 10.0 points and 7.6 rebounds in that span.

A Look Ahead to Thursday Night 

  • The Milwaukee Bucks travel to Toronto to match up against the Raptors.
  • The Bulls and the Knicks meet up in the Big Apple.
  • Phoenix looks to keep its win streak alive against the Pistons.

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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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