Critical of his play of late, Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis heated up in his return to his hometown of Chicago in an easy 101-90 win over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Saturday.
Chicago’s 33, first-half points are the fewest scored by a Los Angeles opponent through the first two quarters since Jan. 3, 2016 vs. Phoenix (22).
After five straight games of failing to reach 20 points, Davis set the tone for the Lakers early, scoring 15 of his season-high 37 points in the opening quarter as L.A. grabbed a 12-point advantage.
L.A. dominated from the opening tip, leading by as many as 30 points in the first half.
Two days removed from saying “I suck right now” after his team's win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, Davis once again played like one of the best players in the NBA.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said Davis was being a bit too critical of himself, not acknowledging the other things he contributed to winning besides scoring.
"I don't think it was warranted," Vogel said. "He's not in rhythm like he's used to, but I think he's still doing a lot of winning things, and 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."
The Lakers caught the Bulls a little tired, with Chicago playing in the second of back-to-back games after a road win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.
The Lakers upped their record to a league-best 13-4 on the season, and improved their franchise-high road win streak to start the year at 9-0.
It was also L.A.'s eighth straight win over Chicago.
The Bulls dropped to 7-9 on the year.
Top player: Along with the scintillating shooting by Davis, LeBron James finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
What I liked: L.A. held a 54-42 edge in points in the paint.
What I did not like: Up 30 at the half, the Lakers were outscored 33-20 in he third quarter, allowing Chicago back in the game. The Bulls had a 14-9 advantage in second chance points.
Injuries: Jared Dudley missed a seventh straight game with right calf soreness. Vogel said Dudley’s probably a game or two away from returning.
They said it: “He’s part of our depth. We have a lot of guys that can do a lot of things on the wing, as role players alongside Anthony (Davis) and LeBron (James). And he’s one of them. I definitely don’t want to see any of our guys collect too many DNP’s in a row. We want to continue to get him in there, keep him developing. And if he’s in there and another guy sits, we won’t let that guy sit too long. It’s just part of managing the roster.” – Vogel on Talen Horton-Tucker, who played for the first time in three games in his hometown of Chicago. Horton-Tucker finished with 10 points in 21 minutes against the Bulls.