This just in: Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers does not, in fact, suck.

Entering Saturday’s matchup against the Chicago Bulls, Davis had failed to reach 20 points in five consecutive contests for the Lakers. The star big-man had been averaging just 21.1 points per game on the season, which would be his lowest mark since his sophomore campaign. In the five outings prior to Saturday, Anthony Davis had been averaging just 17.8 PPG on frigid .479/.167/.714 shooting splits.

In fairness, he had still been a major positive on both ends. His defense remains uniquely dominant and rangy, and his rebounding, two-way effort, and decision-making were as good as ever. Arguably, his passing has been better than ever, as of late.

And granted, with an infusion of offensive depth and red-hot team-wide three-point shooting, the Lakers haven't necessarily needed Davis to score at his usual rate so far this season.

In the playoffs, though, the Lakers will.

After Thursday’s tough win for the Lakers over the Milwaukee Bucks — in which LeBron James produced his biggest scoring performance of the year — Davis called himself out for his scoring troubles.

“I think I suck right now,” a frustrated Anthony Davis said in his postgame remarks after going 8-of-18 from the field for the Lakers. “I’m not making shots. I’m not making free throws.”

For what it’s worth, his head coach didn’t seem too concerned about his superstar’s relative scoring drought.

“No, I don’t think it was warranted,” Frank Vogel said on Saturday to Lakers reporters when asked about Davis’ harsh self-assessment. “He’s not in rhythm likes he’s used to, but he’s still doing a lot of winning things, 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.”

“I’m really not concerned about Anthony Davis,” he added.

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In the comfort of his hometown of Chicago on Saturday — albeit under distinctly unusual circumstances — Davis validated his coach’s confidence, and his bucket-getting from all over the court provided a welcome sight for Lakers fans.

At an empty United Center rather than in front of a section packed with friends and family, Davis hunted for points as aggressively as he has since the bubble. He made his first seven field goals (including 13 points in the first six minutes) and dropped 26 points in the first half, fueling a 30-point Lakers lead at the break.

“Just came out very aggressive,” Davis said, via Mike Trudell of Spectrum. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to be better to help the team win and I was able to see the ball go in tonight.”

In 28 minutes over three quarters, Anthony Davis finished with a season-high 37 points on 14-of-21 shooting, including 11 points in the paint for the Lakers. Notably, he hit 2-of-3 from deep and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe to go along with six rebounds, three assists, and his customary contributions on the defensive end.

“I loved the way we approached this game,” Vogel said about the Lakers' performance. “We want to make sure we’re playing through him. We knew this week … was the time to have him be more assertive. … Tonight, he was dominant.”

The win pushed the Lakers to 9-0 on the road this season, extending their franchise record.


“Maybe it was home cooking,” Lakers center Marc Gasol jokingly speculated afterward. “Once he starts making shots, you can see the confidence in him. Once he starts hitting the mid-range, the floor opens up.”

James clearly felt the Windy City vibes blowing for the Lakers in the favor of Davis and fellow Chicago-native Talen Horton-Tucker.

“AD came out from the start, being a hometown kid, him and Talo, it was our job to get the ball to them and let them make plays, and they both did that.”

James also noted that, as a leader on the Lakers, he treated Davis' recent scoring funk with a combination of distance and support.

“Sometimes you allow a guy to go through it and figure it out for himself, and let him know that we're here for him,” James said in his post-game Zoom session. “It started with us getting him the ball early and often tonight. Just right back on track.”

In reality, because of COVID-19 restrictions, neither Davis nor Horton-Tucker had a typical homecoming visit to Chi-Town with the Lakers. Yet, Davis seemed to enjoy hooping on the friendly confines of the United Center, where he played and attended various games at different levels prior to reaching the NBA.

“It's tough. Usually, when I come home, I get to see my family and they come to the games and support me,” he noted. “I miss them in the stands … But, it's always good to play on this floor.”

After being kept out of Vogel’s rotation for the past few games, Horton-Tucker saw some run for the Lakers as early as the first quarter and took advantage of his teammates' effort to get him looks. He reached double-digits (10 points) for the fourth time this season.

James mainly ceded the scoring load to Davis and others, finishing with 17 points (6-of-16 FG), 11 rebounds, and six assists for the Lakers. He was the beneficiary of Davis' early aggression, as AD showed off his improved passing skills after drawing early double teams.

In addition to Anthony Davis' offensive onslaught in the first half, the Lakers were buoyed by their staunch defense. L.A. held the Bulls to 39.3 percent shooting from the field and limited Zach LaVine to an inefficient 21 points and seven turnovers. Afterward, Vogel praised his team for one of their finest defensive showings of the young season.

Next, the Lakers (13-4) will pay a visit to James’ native region, in a meeting with the frisky Cleveland Cavaliers (8-7) at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Monday.