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Anthony Davis back on track with 37 points in Lakers’ defeat of Bulls

Lakers forward Anthony Davis challenges a shot by Bulls forward Patrick Williams on Jan. 23, 2021, in Chicago.
Lakers forward Anthony Davis challenges a shot by Bulls forward Patrick Williams on Saturday night in Chicago.
(Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)

“I think I suck right now.”

Anthony Davis’ assessment of his play after the Lakers’ win in Milwaukee was one of relativity.

For most of the mortals who wear lace-up sneakers and can bounce a leather ball, a five-game stretch of 18-and-10 would be incredible.

But for someone as talented as Davis, a player with limitless ability on the offensive end, those numbers aren’t good enough and aren’t indicative of what he’s capable of doing.

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Want proof? Ask the Chicago Bulls.

Davis got back on track against the Bulls’ defense in his hometown city, scoring a season-high 37 points in Chicago on Saturday during his team’s 101-90 victory. The Lakers are now 9-0 on the road to start this season.

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Highlights from the Lakers’ 101-90 road victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

Davis’ “slump” has stretched through most of the season, the Lakers’ star cracking more than 30 points just once this season after doing it 21 times last year during the regular season.

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The Lakers’ star might have been disappointed, but no one around him was panicking.

“I think he’s not in rhythm like he’s used to, but I think he’s still doing a lot of winning things,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said before Saturday’s game. “We’re winning games and playing at a high level and he’s been a big part of that on both sides of the ball. He’s got a high bar set for himself and he’s going to be hard on himself when he falls short of that. So that’s part of what makes him great, but I’m really not concerned about Anthony Davis.”

Whether Vogel was concerned or not, the Lakers recognized Davis was and opened the game Saturday by constantly feeding him the ball.

He hit a one-hander in the paint for the Lakers’ first points, slammed home a dunk off a sharp off-ball cut, got to the line, where he split, and slammed home another bucket — all of the Lakers’ first seven points coming through their star power forward.

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Davis ended the opening quarter with 15 points on seven-of-eight shooting and added 11 in the second with just one more missed shot. Davis helped push back the Bulls’ comeback in the third with a flurry of buckets, running his total to 37 before heading to the bench for the rest of the game.

After winning in Milwaukee on Thursday without a ton of offense from Davis, they made quick work of Chicago on Saturday, holding the Bulls to only 33 points in the first half while Davis did whatever he wanted against the Bulls’ overmatched frontcourt (playing minus Wendell Carter Jr.).

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who hit seven three-pointers in Thursday’s win at Milwaukee, is cementing himself as a perfect complement to the Lakers’ stars.

Davis picked a good night to go off — most of his teammates struggled. The Lakers scored only 38 points in the second half and made only four of 19 shots from beyond the arc.

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Zach LaVine had 21 points to lead the Bulls, who shot only 39.3% from the field.

LeBron James had 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Montrezl Harrell added 10 off the bench and Talen Horton-Tucker, who had fallen out of Vogel’s rotation, returned to regular playing time and scored 10 as well.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can do a lot of things on the wing as role players alongside Anthony and LeBron. And he’s one of them,” Vogel said before the game. “We want to continue to get him in there and keep him developing. If he’s in there and another guy sits, then we won’t let that guy sit out too long.

“It’s part of managing the roster.”


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