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Basketball Daily Dose

LeBron and Anthony Edwards go off, Nikola Vucevic returns & much more!

by Aaron Robinson
Updated On: November 25, 2021, 10:12 am ET

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It is Thanksgiving Day, so there are no NBA games today, but the Association gave us a full buffet of games on Wednesday that has left us all full and ready for the dessert that is to come on Friday. Similar to Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving, there were simply too many good options, and I couldn’t eat them all so I had to go with my favorite dishes and like always they did not disappoint. 

There was plenty of action on Wednesday night, and quite frankly it was too much to digest, so I picked my 10 biggest takeaways from the evening, and I have a feeling that you will enjoy them just as much as I did, So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

LeBron James is Back With a Vengeance

On Wednesday, King James returned to the court with revenge on his mind, and the Indiana Pacers were the victims of a vintage LeBron performance. James, as we all know, was suspended for Tuesday’s game at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, and Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said after the game that the king was not happy about that, and so he had some extra motivation to win this game on Wednesday.

James came out and scored 39 points on 13-of-29 shooting (5-of-12 3-pointers) and added six assists, five rebounds, two blocks, and one steal as the Lakers beat the Pacers 124-116 in overtime on Wednesday night. After the game, Vogel called the performance “one for the ages” and he commended LeBron for having the energy to play center, while also running the offense for the Lakers. James had to play center at times because Anthony Davis was out of the lineup due to flu-like symptoms.

An angry LeBron is a scary sight, and it looks like that is what the NBA is going to get as the Lakers are now 10-10 and seven games back of the first-place Warriors after just 20 games. 

 

Devin Booker explodes, Chris Paul keeps diming as Suns win 14th straight

Devin Booker has been on cruise control this season, and his Suns have just been quietly winning and winning and winning. Booker hasn’t been bad, but he definitely hasn’t put up the numbers that we have become accustomed to seeing over the past few seasons. But on Wednesday, Booker had one of his vintage performances that reminded us of why he was a second-round pick in most standard formats.

Booker scored 35 points on 14-of-21 shooting (2-of-3 3-pointers) and added four rebounds, three assists, and one steal as the Suns beat the Cavaliers 120-115 to win their 14th consecutive game on Wednesday. Booker managers are hoping he can heat up here and string a bunch of these types of performances together because if he doesn’t, he won’t live up to his ADP of 25.0 in Yahoo! Leagues. 

As for Booker’s teammate, Chris Paul, it was another double-double as the savvy veteran scored 17 points on just 4-of-8 shooting (2-of-3 3-pointers) with 12 assists, two rebounds, and three turnovers. This is CP3’s third double-double in his last five games and the fourth game with double-digit assists. Paul leads the NBA in assists this season, and he is on pace to put up first-round caliber value and obliterate his ADP of 37.7 this season.

 

Terry Rozier Puts up Monster Line, Charlotte Wins Again

On Monday, Rozier scored 32 points with eight triples, four assists, two rebounds, and two steals in a win over the Wizards. On Wednesday, he stuffed the stat sheets again, scoring 27 points on 11-of-22 shooting with three triples, five assists, three rebounds, six steals, and one block as the Hornets picked up their seventh win in their last eight games. Rozier became the first Hornets player to score 25 points with six steals since Kemba Walker did it on November 12th, 2012. 

Rozier, like Booker, has not lived up to expectations thus far this season, and that is partly to do with players like LaMelo Ball taking a step forward, but also because of the unexpected explosion from Miles Bridges, who is in the midst of a career year as he plays for a contract this summer. Rozier is more than capable of having some big nights and his managers are hoping that he can start stringing some of these types of performances together here pretty soon. Over the last two games, Rozier is averaging 29.5 points on 53.7% shooting (50.0% 3-pointers) with 5.5 triples, 4.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 4.0 steals, and just 1.0 turnovers per game. He definitely won’t keep this up the rest of the season, but if he can get there a few times a month, it would do wonders for his fantasy stock.

 

Patty Mills drills seven triples in win over Celtics

Patty Mills has been outstanding filling in for Joe Harris, who has been out since injuring his ankle on November 14th against the Thunder. In the Nets' last six games, Brooklyn is 5-1 and Mills is a huge reason why. The Australian sharpshooter is averaging 20.0 points on 58.9% shooting from the floor and from distance with 5.5 triples, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 rebounds per game. 

On Wednesday, Mills was awesome again, scoring 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting with seven triples to lead the Nets to a 123-104 victory in Boston. Mills was one of the sneakiest free-agent signings of the off-season, and it has paid big dividends for Brooklyn. Nets head coach Steve Nash said that he does not expect Joe Harris to be back for the team’s next game on Saturday when they take on the Suns, so expect Mills to continue to put up big numbers, and even when Harris returns, Mills will still be a huge part of the rotation. He is only rostered in 41% of Yahoo! Leagues at the moment, so if he is still available in your league, he is definitely worth adding.

 

Multiple Pelicans Contribute in Big Win Over Wizards

To the surprise of no one, the Pelicans look much better since Brandon Ingram returned to the lineup after dealing with a hip injury that cost him the first two weeks of November. Since Ingram returned on November 13th, the Pelicans have won three of seven games after starting the season 1-12. Now Ingram played in the first six games, so he was a part of a few of those losses early on, but the point still stands that they have been better of late. 

That continued on Wednesday as the Pelicans beat the Wizards 127-102, after leading by as much as 31 at one point in the evening. They got big contributions from Ingram, who chipped in 26 points with five rebounds, three assists, one triple, and one steal in 32 minutes. Jonas Valanciunas racked up another double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds with four assists, as he continues on his monster season. If you snagged Valanciunas in the fifth round, you might have pulled off one of the biggest heists of your fantasy draft, so enjoy an extra slice of pie on Thursday. But two guys who aren’t normally big contributors also made some waves on Wednesday.

The first of which was Herb Jones, who tallied four steals on Wednesday, all of which came in the first half in just 18 minutes in that frame. The four steals are a career-high for Jones, who has been arguably the best defensive player on the Pelicans this season. Willy Hernangomez was also impressive for the second straight game as he followed up a 19 point and 11 rebound performance on Monday with a 13 point, seven-rebound, four-assist night with a triple, three steals, and two blocks.

 "I've got to say thank you to all my teammates, to keep trusting in me every single day, even if I'm not playing. I'm working every day to try to stay ready and help the team," Hernangomez said after the game Wednesday. It looks like Hernangomez has taken Jaxson Hayses’ spot in the rotation so he could be an add candidate in deep leagues if you are in need of a big at the moment. 

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Luguentz Dort shines, locks up Donovan Mitchell, Jazz still win

The Oklahoma City Thunder were without their star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on Wednesday as he missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. You would think that the Thunder would be in store for a blowout loss as they were facing a Utah team who entered Wednesday having won three of their last four games. But one thing that we have learned about the Thunder this year is that they will battle every single night, and that is exactly what they did on Wednesday. 

With Gilgeous-Alexander out, the Thunder turned to Josh Giddey to assume playmaking responsibilities, and he did not disappoint. Giddey scored 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting (3-of-4 3-pointers) and added eight assists and seven rebounds, though he did have six turnovers, which was the only knock on his otherwise flawless game.

But the real story of the evening was Luguentz Dort, who scored 27 points with five triples, three rebounds, three assists, and one steal. Not only was Dort great offensively, but he also was a locksmith on defense, as he held Utah’s star guard Donovan Mitchell to 13 points, which tied a season-low while shooting just 6-of-16 from the floor and 1-of-7 from three. In the first half, Mitchell had 7 points on 3-of-10 shooting, but only 2 of those seven points were scored while Dort was guarding Mitchell. Needless to say, Dort was outstanding on Wednesday, and he looks like he is really coming into his own this season.

 

Damian Lillard Stays Hot, Blazers drop one to Kings

Lillard looks like he is finally beginning to get into a rhythm and find the consistency that we have gotten accustomed to over the years. It is no secret that Lillard has not lived up to the expectations this season, as he was a top-10 pick in standard formats. It is also no secret that Lillard has not been 100% healthy and he has been playing through an abdominal injury that dates back to last season. But as of late, Dame has been finding the bottom of the net more and more with each passing day.

Though the Blazers lost to the Kings 125-121 on Wednesday, Lillard scored 32 points on 7-of-18 shooting with 10 assists, six rebounds, and just two turnovers. Over the last three games, Lillard is averaging 32.0 points on 50.0% shooting from the floor (39.4% 3-pointers) with 7.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers per game. These are the type of numbers that Lillard managers are hoping to see more often, and it looks like he is prepared to shoot his way into or out of a rhythm, so let’s all hope for the former.

 

Bobby Portis goes for 28 & 10, Bucks win fifth straight

Portis has been awesome with a capital ‘A’ lately, and he kept the momentum going tallying his fourth straight double-double on Wednesday. Portis scored 28 points on 10-of-14 and drilled six triples, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out one assist as the Bucks beat the Pistons 114-93 on Wednesday. 

Over the last four games, Portis is averaging 20.5 points on 57.1% shooting from the floor (68.0% from three) with 12.3 rebounds, 4.3 made triples, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 turnovers in 29.7 minutes per game. Portis is on track to have the best season of his career if he can keep it up, and with Brook Lopez still sidelined, Portis doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. Lopez did say that he has begun to ramp things up for a return, but we do not have a target date yet as to when that could be. If Portis is somehow still available in your league, which is 23% of them according to Yahoo!, be sure to scoop him up asap.

 

Anthony Edwards stuffs the stat sheet, Timberwolves win fifth straight

Last season, Anthony Edwards had one of the dunks of the year candidates when he drove baseline for a ferocious slam over Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe. On Wednesday, he would have had another one, had he not been whistled for a terrible charge call, but if you haven’t seen it, here it is.

The dunk was nice, but the big story is that Anthony Edwards outplayed Jimmy Butler on the way to a 113-101 win with 33 points on 13-of-27 shooting and 14 rebounds, six triples, six assists, three steals, and one block. The 14 rebounds were a career-high, as was the 43 minutes that Ant-Man logged on Wednesday night. Edwards is on the fast track to stardom, and he is only going to get better as time goes on, so get your popcorn ready and make sure you have a seat saved for you on the couch. 

The Wolves have now won five straight games to get them to 9-9 on the season. They might be without Patrick Beverley for a few games though, as the veteran guard exited Wednesday’s game after just five minutes with a groin injury. If Beverley misses extended time, Jordan McLaughlin could be in for some extra run off the bench, and Edwards, as well as D’Angelo Russell, should both see their usage increase.

 

Nikola Vucevic Double-Doubles in return, Bulls lose to Rockets

On Wednesday, Bulls big man Nikola Vucevic made his return to the lineup after missing seven games due to entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Vucevic played 26 minutes in his return and scored 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting (2-of-5 3-pointers) and added 13 rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block, and two turnovers. Tony Bradley, who had been starting for Vucevic, played just two minutes, falling completely out of the rotation. 

The Bulls also got back Alex Caruso, who missed one game due to a left wrist contusion. Caruso came off the bench and scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting (3-of-5 3-pointers) and added four rebounds, two assists, and three steals in 33 minutes. Caruso’s wrist injury is believed to just be a bruise, and he is expected to keep playing through it according to head coach Billy Donovan

For the Rockets, they snapped a fifteen-game losing streak and got five players in double figures. Danuel House Jr led the way with 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor and a perfect 4-of-4 from three. Christian Wood stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks in 32 minutes. Rookie Jalen Green had arguably his best quarter of the season before leaving the game with a left leg injury late in the first quarter. Green scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting (1-of-2 3-pointers) with two rebounds and one assist in 11 minutes.

After the game, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said that going forward, he will not commit to a set starting lineup, rather he will adjust the lineup based on the team that they are playing. If the Rockets will have to be without Jalen Green going forward, House would be the likely choice to replace him in the starting lineup, but after Silas’ comments, you never quite know. 

That is going to do it for today’s Daily Dose! I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, eats lots of food, and enjoys some time with their loved ones!

Aaron Robinson

Aaron Robinson is a sports journalist who played Division 1 basketball at Quinnipiac and Coppin State University and is a native of Takoma Park, MD. You can follow Aaron on Twitter @AceRobinson_