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 fun, nine-game slate last night – here is all you need to know:
Jonas Valanciunas explodes in win
- The 29-year-old center was already having a career year with the Pelicans, but Valanciunas went nuclear in their 123-104 win over the Clippers. The big man dropped a personal-best 39 points (15-24 FG, 7-8 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 15 rebounds, three assists and two steals over 32 minutes while making all seven of his first-half three-point attempts. New Orleans has won three out of its last four showings and should be getting Zion Williamson (foot) back sometime in the next month.
- Brandon Ingram also had a big game in the Pelicans' victory, posting 27 points (12-18 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 2-4 FT), seven rebounds and four assists across 34 minutes.
- Paul George had yet another strong showing in the losing effort, finishing with 27 points (10-20 FG, 3-10 3Pt, 4-4 FT), three rebounds, three assists and one steal over 34 minutes of action. PG has scored at least 26 points in four out of his last five appearances.
Jokic comes to Denver's rescue
- Denver's week started off on a bad note with the announcement of Michael Porter (back) most likely being out for the season. However, things got better when Nikola Jokic made his return to the Nuggets' lineup after missing four straight games with a wrist injury. Denver lost each of the contests that Jokic missed but was able to snap its losing streak with a 120-111 win over the Heat. The reigning MVP finished with 24 points (9-14 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 5-6 FT), 15 rebounds, seven assists and one steal across 32 minutes in his first action back.
- Aaron Gordon recorded 20 points (6-11 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 6-8 FT) to go with five assists and four rebounds in 37 minutes during the win.
- Bam Adebayo came into the contest questionable with an illness, but he still nearly recorded a triple-double in the losing effort. The Kentucky product finished with a team-high 24 points (11-19 FG, 2-4 FT) to go with 13 rebounds and six assists across 35 minutes in the defeat.
- Kyle Lowry finished with his own double-double, dropping 17 points (5-9 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 5-6 FT), a season-high 14 assists and two rebounds in 36 minutes.
Timberwolves beat Pacers in thriller
- One of the most exciting games of the night occurred in Minnesota where the Timberwolves defeats the Pacers 100-98 in a tightly contested game.
- Josh Okogie had been relegated to the bench, but he made just his fifth start this season due to Jarred Vanderbilt being out with illness. While the 23-year-old struggled with his shot posting just two points (1-4 FG, 0-2 3Pt), Okogie was able to help seal the deal with a clutch block. Karl-Anthony Towns dominated throughout with 32 points (13-22 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 5-8 FT), eight rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes.
- D'Angelo Russell stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points (7-17 FG, 3-9 3Pt, 4-4 FT), 11 assists, eight rebounds and a steal across 38 minutes. The playmaking guard ranks as the 39th-best fantasy option on a per-game basis in nine-category formats this year.
- Despite the losing effort, Domantas Sabonis still posted a monstrous stat line. The big ended the contest with 16 points (5-12 FG, 0-4 3Pt, 6-7 FT), 25 rebounds, 10 assists and a block over 36 minutes. This was the first 25-rebound triple-double since Shaquille O'Neal posted 25 points, 28 rebounds and 15 blocks against the Nets in 1993.
- Malcolm Brogdon was stellar with 25 points (9-20 FG, 2-6 3PT, 5-6 FT) six rebounds, five assists and three steals across 40 minutes of play in the defeat.
Rockets win again
- The Houston Rockets are streaking! Houston was able to defeat the Thunder 102-89 to earn its third straight victory. Christian Wood was an absolute monster in the win, posting 24 points (9-17 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 3-4 FT), a career-high 21 rebounds, three blocks and one steal in 31 minutes. The big ranks as the fifth-best fantasy option on a per-game basis in nine-category formats over the past week.
- Kevin Porter continued his solid play with 11 points (4-17 FG, 1-8 3Pt, 2-3 FT), 10 rebounds, 11 assists and three steals. In his first three games since coming back from a thigh injury, the electrifying guard is averaging 16.0 points, 10.7 assists. and 8.0 rebounds across 37.3 minutes.
- Garrison Mathews continues to impress me as he dropped 19 points (7-14 FG, 5-11 3Pt) to go with two rebounds and one assist in 32 minutes. The wing has started the last two games for Houston and is averaging 19.5 points in that span.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder as he usually does with an impressive all-around performance. The guard ended with a team-high 22 points (9-20 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 2-6 FT), four assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 33 minutes
Bulls go off for season-high in points
- The Chicago Bulls were able to hang on to a 133-119 victory over the Hornets to set a new season-high in points scored. Nikola Vucevic had the best game of his year in the victory, dropping a season-high 30 points (12-19 FG, 6-6 3Pt) to go with 14 rebounds, five assists and two blocks across 35 minutes of action. With all of the new additions to Chicago, the center is averaging just 14.5 points per game to begin the year, which would be his lowest scoring figure in eight years.
- Lonzo Ball was able to win Round 1 of this season's sibling-rivalry matchup against his brother, LaMelo Ball. The first-year-Bull finished with 16 points (6-8 FG, 4-5 3Pt), eight assists, one rebound, one block and one steal across 32 minutes.
- DeMar DeRozan was also on his game during the victory, totaling 28 points (12-20 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 4-5 FT), six assists, five rebounds and one steal in 34 minutes of action.
- Terry Rozier continued his recent hot stretch in the losing effort. The guard out of Louisville scored a team-high 31 points (11-17 FG, 6-7 3Pt, 3-3 FT) while recording four assists, two rebounds and one block in 36 minutes. Rozier has dropped 27 or more in three out of his last four showings.
- LaMelo Ball did not have the greatest shooting night against his brother, but was still able to nearly record a triple-double with 18 points (5-15 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 5-6 FT), 13 assists, seven rebounds, one steal and one block in 32 minutes of play.
Best and Worst of the Night
- Best of the Night: Jonas Valanciunas – 39 points (15-24 FG, 7-8 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 15 rebounds, three assists and two steals across 32 minutes
- Worst of the Night: Mike Conley – Two points (1-4 FG, 0-2 3Pt), six assists and one turnover across 25 minutes.
- Rookie of the Night: Franz Wagner – 27 points (11-24 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 4-6 FT), six rebounds, five assists and a steal over 38 minutes
- Seth Curry helped push the 76ers over the Magic by a score of 101-96 during a tight contest. The sharpshooting guard ended the contest with a team-high 24 points (10-13 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 1-1 FT), two rebounds, two steals and an assist in 33 minutes during the win.
- Joel Embiid did not have the best shooting day in his second game back from his nine-game absence due to COVID protocols, but he still recorded 16 points (4-16 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 7-10 FT), 13 rebounds, five assists and two blocks over 30 minutes.
- Dejounte Murray continues to ball out this season, posting 22 points (8-19 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 6-7 FT), 10 rebounds and eight assists in 34 minutes during San Antonio's 116-99 win over the Wizards. The 25-year-old is averaging 19.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game this season and is the most underrated player in the league in my eyes.
- Derrick White dropped a team-high 24 points (10-21 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 1-1 FT), five rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal across 33 minutes in the win.
- Jarrett Allen helped to push the Cavaliers over the Mavericks by a score of 114-96 behind a monster double-double. The young center dropped 28 points (12-17 FG, 4-6 FT), 14 rebounds, three assists and one block over 34 minutes to record his fourth straight double-double
- Lauri Markkanen also looked good for Cleveland, recording 24 points (9-15 FG, 5-9 3Pt, 1-1 FT), eight rebounds, two assists and one steal in 33 minutes in the win.
- Despite falling to the Cavaliers at home, Luka Doncic was still able to drop his second triple-double of the season with 25 points (9-21 FG, 7-11 3Pt, 0-4 FT), 10 rebounds, 10 assists and one steal across 33 minutes.
- Donovan Mitchell helped to carry Utah to a 129-107 win over the Trail Blazers with an impressive two-way effort. The guard finished with 30 points (12-20 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 3-3 FT), two rebounds, five assists and four steals in 32 minutes. This was his first 30-point outing in 12 appearances.
- Franz Wagner: 27 points (11-24 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 4-6 FT), six rebounds, five assists and a steal over 38 minutes
- The rookie out of Michigan seriously impressed Monday night with a new personal best in scoring. After a small stretch of some inconsistent play, Wagner is averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game over his last four showings.
- Jalen Suggs: 17 points (5-13 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 6-8 FT), five assists, three rebounds and one steal over 29 minutes
- Josh Primo: Six points (2-2 FG, 2-2 3Pt), two rebounds, and one assist over 12 minutes
- While this is certainly no outstanding effort by the rookie out of Alabama, this still marked a new season-high in playing time for Primo in just his fifth appearance with the team. The 18-year-old will look to build off this performance going forward.
- Bones Hyland: 19 points (6-9 FG, 5-8 3Pt, 2-2 FT), three assists and one steal over 20 minutes
- The rookie sharpshooter missed Denver's previous two contests due to an ankle injury, but had one of his best outings of the season in his return. Hyland was drilling deep triples throughout the contest and figures to be more involved with PJ Dozier (knee) out for the season.
- Tre Mann: 17 points (5-12 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 6-8 FT), seven rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block over 30 minutes.
- I was really impressed with what I saw out of the Florida product during Monday night's loss to the Rockets. Mann set season-highs in both points and minutes and is starting to slowly creep into Oklahoma City's rotation as the season progresses.
- Herbert Jones: 16 points (6-10 FG,0-1 3Pt. 4-4 FT), four rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block over 33 minutes.
- The Alabama product has consistently seen the court for the Pelicans, but his effort Monday night was one of his best yet of the season as he filled up the box score for New Orleans. However, with Zion Williamson (foot) cleared to resume basketball activities, it would not be surprising to see Jones' playing time plummet down when Zion returns.
A Look Ahead to Tuesday Night
- The Warriors travel to Phoenix in what is probably the most-anticipated game of the season thus far.
- The Nets and Knicks match up in the battle for New York City
- The Lakers and Kings square off again after their triple-overtime thriller over the weekend.