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Everyone gets a 40-point game, and 6 more things from Wednesday night

Bucks guard Khris Middleton scored a career-high 43 points while T.J. Warren dropped 40 himself, also a career high. It’s a random Wednesday night in the league — is the season still too new to call things random? maybe? — and we added two new 40-point scorers to the club. Please never leave us ever again, NBA.

Middleton’s scoring outburst came as Giannis Antetokounmpo and his MVP campaign briefly faltered — Antetokounmpo only scored 14 points. The Bucks lost 126-121, but Middleton acquitted himself well.

For Warren, his performance helped lead a comeback against the Washington Wizards. The Suns are 4-4 this season! They lost their first three games, including two by 40-plus points, but after Eric Gordon was sent home and Earl Watson was fired, Phoenix is making it work. This will cool off — they’ve currently won four out of their last five, and that obviously won’t last. But it’s an impressive, unexpected feat.

Bradley Beal also dropped 40 points in that game. Now, he had broken the 40-point plateau before, and his came in a loss. Still, it was a good night for individual scoring.

Cavaliers still can’t — won’t? — play defense

Cleveland lost again, this time to the Indiana Pacers. That’s not good. That’s actively bad. They lost 124-107, and the 17-point loss was their fourth by 15-plus points in their eight games so far this season. For a supposed title contender, that’s awful!

The Suns have more wins than them. I wrote this:

I wrote that the Cavaliers were hot garbage a few days ago, and I will confirm that yes, they are still hot garbage. I don’t know why J.R. Smith can’t shoot worth a damn right now, or why Jae Crowder has been so bad. I’m not surprised that Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose aren’t great — Rose was actually the only non-LeBron player who was good offensively on Wednesday, but his defense is still painful — but there are roles that the Cavaliers can fit them into and have them be productive. In theory, at least.

Kris Dunn even impressed Zach LaVine with a dunk

Here’s the dunk.

Kris Dunn brought the heat! pic.twitter.com/Wk5WNXwkhw

— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 2, 2017

Here’s the reaction.

— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) November 2, 2017

LaVine won a couple Dunk Contests, y’know.

Blake Griffin, dark horse MVP candidate

Griffin had 20 points, seven assists, and six rebounds on Wednesday on 7-of-12 shooting. He only needed to play 28 minutes in a Clippers blowout of Dallas, after all.

His numbers don’t compare to the top of the league, but Griffin has increasingly shown his jumper — at least two made threes in every game so far — and has free range to use his wide repertoire of other skills, too, in Chris Paul’s absence.

I’m not saying Griffin will win MVP. He almost certainly won’t. But it’s possible, if some good fortune came his way, and that’s probably more than the odds gave him before the season.

An extremely Joel Embiid line

Embiid: 21 points, 9-of-16 shooting, 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals, three blocks.

The 76ers won, and there was this Ben Simmons dunk, too.

Ben Simmons tallies a near triple-double (19 PTS, 13 REBS, 9 ASTS) to give the @sixers the win over the @ATLHawks, 119-109!#NBARookspic.twitter.com/9VL4GXspUS

— NBA (@NBA) November 2, 2017

WHEW.

Malik Monk went OFF

He scored 14 points in four minutes, in the fourth quarter of a close game!

LeBron vs. Lance back!

Lance Stephenson got a flagrant 1 for this shot to LeBron’s groin. pic.twitter.com/nFs0o9lyTY

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 2, 2017

Wednesday’s scores

Hornets 126, Bucks 121 (At the Hive recap | Brew Hoop recap)

Pacers 124, Cavaliers 107 (Indy Cornrows recap | Fear the Sword recap)

76ers 119, Hawks 109 (Liberty Ballers recap | Peachtree Hoops recap)

Suns 122, Wizards 116 (Bright Side of the Sun recap | Bullets Forever recap)

Celtics 113, Kings 86 (Celtics Blog recap | Sactown Royalty recap)

Heat 97, Bulls 91 (Hot Hot Hoops recap | Blog a Bull recap)

Rockets 119, Knicks 97 (The Dream Shake recap | Posting & Toasting recap)

Magic 101, Grizzlies 99 (Orlando Pinstriped Post recap | Grizzly Bear Blues recap)

Timberwolves 104, Pelicans 98 (Canis Hoopus recap | The Bird Writes recap)

Nuggets 129, Raptors 111 (Denver Stiffs recap | Raptors HQ recap)

Jazz 112, Trail Blazers 103 (SLC Dunk recap | Blazer’s Edge recap)

Clippers 119, Mavericks 98 (Clips Nation recap | Mavs Moneyball recap)

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