Around the Association: LaVine Returns, Garland Comes Up Clutch, Suns Hang On

Around the Association: LaVine Returns, Garland Comes Up Clutch, Suns Hang On

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 a wild four-game slate.

Nightly Notables 

Bulls survive against OKC in LaVine's return

  • This was one wacky game. After a decently contested start to the contest, the Bulls blew ahead of the Thunder in the third quarter, going on a 26-8 run in a span of five minutes and eventually leading by 30 points. However, Oklahoma City was able to chip away and came all the way back.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a chance to tie the game with a three, but it was no good and the Bulls eventually won 111-110.
  • Zach LaVine (knee) was able to make his return to the court after missing the team's last five showings, however, DeMar DeRozan was ruled out for rest. LaVine had a solid game back and posted 23 points (6-19 FG, 3-10 3Pt, 8-10 FT), seven rebounds, seven assists, one block and two steals over 35 minutes
    • The most impressive player on the Bulls to me last night was Ayo Dosunmu. The rookie out of Illinois continues to turn heads as he broke a Bulls' record by hitting his first 9 shots of the game. Dosunmu hit his first seven shots and ended with a new career-high 24 points (10-14 FG, 4-6 3Pt), five rebounds, eight assists and one block across 34 minutes.
    • Nikola Vucevic had a very productive outing and continuously came up clutch for Chicago late. He ended with 26 points (10-18 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 15 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and one steal over 38 minutes.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a star in this one. He put up 31 points (9-17 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 11-14 FT), three rebounds, 10 assists, three steals and one block over 38 minutes of action while willing OKC back into the contest. SGA currently ranks as the 44th overall nine-category option on a per-game basis.
    • Josh Giddey came close to achieving his second career triple-double as he finished with nine points (4-11 FG, 0-5 3Pt, 1-2 FT), eight rebounds and six assists across 30 minutes. The one thing that would really push the Australian playmaker to the next level in the future is a more consistent three-point shot. Giddey is shooting just 26.6 percent from deep during his first season.
    • Luguentz Dort: 16 points (5-13 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 3-4 FT), seven rebounds and two assists over 30 minutes of play.

Suns hang on against shorthanded Jazz

  • The Utah Jazz were without the likes of Donovan Mitchell (concussion), Rudy Gobert (calf), Mike Conley (knee), Joe Ingles (ankle), Bojan Bogdanovic (finger) and Royce O'Neale (knee) but they had one spirited performance against the Phoenix Suns. The game was close throughout and the Jazz were even winning early in the fourth. However, Chris Paul was seriously on another level in this one and took over the game late to push Phoenix to a 115-109 win. The future-Hall-of-Famer finished with a season-high 27 points (10-17 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 3-4 FT) to go with nine rebounds, 14 assists and one steal across 40 minutes.
    • Devin Booker did not have the best shooting night but still dropped a game-high 33 points (14-35 FG, 3-13 3Pt, 2-3 FT), seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals over 38 minutes.
    • Bismack Biyombo continues to shine without Deandre Ayton as he finished with 16 points (7-10 FG, 2-6 FT), 13 rebounds, one assist and one block over 31 minutes off the bench. He is averaging 15.8 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game over his last four appearances.
  • Jordan Clarkson took the alpha dog role for the Jazz as they were missing nearly all of their regular starters. The smooth scorer ended with a team-high 22 points (9-20 FG, 4-11 3Pt, 0-1 FT), four rebounds, five assists and two steals over 33 minutes of action.
    • Jared Butler played some quality minutes off the bench for the depleted Jazz and finished with 13 points (5-9 FG, 3-4 3Pt), one rebound, two assists and four steals over 17 minutes. I hope that coach Quin Snyder starts to give the rookie out of Baylor some more run

Cleveland squeezes past the Knicks

  • After a tight first half, Cleveland got ahead of New York in the third quarter, but the Knicks stormed back to tie it in the final minutes. With the ballgame tied at 91, Darius Garland drilled a side-step corner three to push the Cavaliers ahead late. The Cavaliers ultimately won the game 95-93 after Julius Randle's deep attempt to win the ball game was inaccurate at the buzzer.
  • Garland keeps on shining from a playmaking perspective as the improved guard recorded 13 points (6-19 FG, 1-6 3Pt), two rebounds, 12 assists and two steals over 38 minutes. He is averaging 20.0 points and 12.3 assists per game over his last eight showings, while recording a double-double in all but one of those outings.
    • Kevin Love caught fire and ended with 20 points (6-12 FG, 6-12 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds, three assists and one steal across 23 minutes off of the bench. After 10 straight games scoring fewer than 20 points, Love was able to cross that threshold for the ninth time this season.
    • Evan Mobley: 15 points (6-12 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 3-7 FT), 12 rebounds and five assists across 38 minutes.
  • Despite the losing effort, RJ Barrett added to his recent hot stretch of play. The Duke product put in a game-high 24 points (9-16 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 5-10 FT), five rebounds, four assists and two steals across 34 minutes. Barrett is averaging 24.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game over his last eight appearances.
    • I liked what I saw out of Quentin Grimes. The rookie out of Houston ended with 12 points (4-7 FG, 4-6 3Pt), one rebound, one assist and one block over 24 minutes and was one of the more clutch players for the Knicks during their loss.
    • Julius Randle: 18 points (6-17 FG, 2-7 3Pt, 4-6 FT), seven rebounds, four assists and three steals across 32 minutes.

Pelicans push back Pacers in New Orleans

  • Devonte' Graham had one of his better games of the season as the Pelicans were able to walk away with a 117-113 victory. The game was tight throughout, but the sharpshooting guard took over late and ended with a game-high 25 points (8-14 FG, 5-9 3Pt, 4-4 FT), three rebounds, six assists and one steal over 35 minutes of play.
    • Jonas Valanciunas neared a triple-double with 16 points (6-11 FG, 4-5 FT), 12 rebounds, six assists and one block across 30 minutes of action. This marked JV's sixth double-double in his last seven outings.
    • Josh Hart: 22 points (6-11 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 9-9 FT), 10 rebounds, two assists and one steal across 35 minutes.
  • Caris LeVert (calf) returned to the Pacers lineup after missing the team's last two games and the Michigan product looked really good out there. LeVert totaled 19 points (8-21 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 0-2 FT), six rebounds and eight assists over 32 minutes. I am incredibly curious to see how the Pacers handle their trade deadline situation. If Malcolm Brogdon is shipped out, then LeVert's fantasy value will certainly bump up.
    • Duane Washington was on fire from beyond the arc in the loss. The rookie out of Ohio State ended with career-high 21 points (7-12 FG, 7-12 3Pt), two rebounds and three assists over 23 minutes. This marked Washington's second time reaching the 20 point mark here in his first season.
    • With LeVert back in action, Keifer Sykes was a DNP-CD.

Best and Worst of the Night:

  • Best of the Night: Chris Paul - 27 points (10-17 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 3-4 FT) to go with nine rebounds, 14 assists and one steal across 40 minutes.
  • Worst of the Night: Immanuel Quickley - Three points (1-10 FG, 1-6 3Pt), one rebound, six assists and one steal across 25 minutes.
  • Rookie of the Night: Ayo Dosunmu - 24 points (10-14 FG, 4-6 3Pt), five rebounds, eight assists and one block across 34 minutes.

A Look Ahead to Thursday 

  • The Lakers and the Nets square off in Brooklyn as Anthony Davis make his return to the court
  • Can Luka Doncic keep up his red hot play as the Mavericks travel to San Francisco to match up against Stephen Curry and the Warriors?
  • Joel Embiid looks to continue his blazing hot scoring stretch when the Pelicans, who will be without four starters, come to town.

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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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