The Rundown: Cunningham win first duel with Green, Lakers outlast Heat

Published November 11, 2021, 3:00 PMMiguel Flores

Cade Cunningham won his first showdown against fellow top rookie Jalen Green, while the Lakers survived the Heat in overtime.


Wizards 97, Cavaliers 94

Nets 123, Magic 90

Celtics 104, Raptors 88

Bucks 112, Knicks 100

Pistons 112, Rockets 104

Bulls 117, Mavericks 107

Hornets 118, Grizzlies 108

Thunder 108, Pelicans 100

Spurs 136, Kings 117

Nuggets 101, Pacers 98

Suns 119, Trail Blazers  109

Warriors 123, Timberwolves 110

Lakers 120, Heat 117

What went down

There were 13 NBA games today, with pretty much all of the league's biggest stars seeing action. But we were focused on two teams who entered today with one win apiece.

The Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets are more in the theory of what a good NBA team looks like than a good NBA team. They do, however, each have one of the top two picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. Today was the first time the No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham and the No. 2 pick Jalen Green faced off in the NBA. They’d met numerous times in the AAU circuit and have been ranked against each other in prospect lists and draft boards.

Today, all the talk became reality. Neither had been having a great start to their NBA career. Both are inarguably far away from the Rookie of the Year conversation. But against each other, they showed why we should be more patient.

Cunningham was a steady force throughout the game, piecing together the Detroit Pistons’ abysmal offense and finding his shots in between. Jalen Green got molten hot in the third quarter, getting to the rim then finding his 3-point stroke. Green was so pumped, he got called for a technical foul after dunking all over Cunningham to cap his one-man run.

Green finished with 23 points and five rebounds. Cunningham had 20 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals. The Pistons, thanks in large part to 35 points from Jerami Grant, came home with the win.

Green and Cunningham both needed a big game to keep up with Evan Mobley, Scottie Barnes, and Franz Wagner in the ROY race. Who knew it would take a matchup between them to bring out each other’s best?

Meanwhile, In another wild night in Los Angeles, the Lakers needed overtime to put away the Miami Heat. A lot happened in this game – from Jimmy Butler’s early exit due to an ankle injury to all the late shenanigans. In the end, the Heat got plenty of chances to send this game to overtime but missed five free throws and a couple of good looks from deep.

Every Lakers game feels like 10 average basketball games because of all the drama and weirdness. Today, it was Malik Monk’s heroics that made the game spicy.

Big time baller

Frank Kaminsky looked more like Larry Bird today. Kaminsky, who was taken four picks ahead of Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker in the 2015 Draft, dropped a career-high 31 points on 12-for-18 shooting with seven rebounds and three assists.

The Suns have now won six straight games. Deandre Ayton has sat out the last three games due to a leg injury, and Kaminsky has helped greatly fill his shoes.

There were other monster lines from tonight like Kevin Durant scoring 30 points, missing just one of his 12 field goal attempts against the Orlando Magic. But it’s not often we get to feature Kaminsky, so he gets the nod today. This possibly will never happen again.

What he said

Fan interaction is one of the best parts of having crowds back in arenas. But if you’re going to mess around with NBA players, you’re more often than going to find out.

Kyle Kuzma got his Michael Jordan on and took things personally today. He drilled back-to-back clutch triples that lifted the Washington Wizards past the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It turns out, the former Los Angeles Laker got a bit of motivation from hecklers for his late-game heroics:

Did you see that?

There were plenty of highlights from today’s 13-game slate. This sequence from the Chicago Bulls’ big win over the Dallas Mavericks cobbled together three gorgeous plays from Alex Caruso, Lonzo Ball, and Zach LaVine.

It wouldn’t be a Charlotte Hornets game without commentator Eric Collins losing his mind during a call. This reaction to a Miles Bridges dunk is one of his most hilariously absurd calls ever.