Before I regale you with the immense statistical output Anthony Davis enjoyed tonight, remember that the Pelicans’ big man is still just 20 years old.
Keep that in mind when you read his line against the Bulls – 24 points on 10-14 FG shooting, 8 rebounds, 6 blocks, 3 assists and three steals. Davis was everywhere on defense with several more passes tipped and shots altered, instances invisible in the box score.
The game served as yet another in a long list of games that make it scarcely believable Davis was overlooked for a spot on the Western Conference All-Star team, at least as a reserve. Few could suggest multiple Western Conference big men playing better than the second-year star.
Davis largely powered the Pelicans throughout the latter stages of the game but it was Eric Gordon who helped the home team to a fast start scoring the game’s first 7 points as the Bulls went 0-2 with a turnover for their first three possessions.
The game descended into another in which the Bulls failed to generate enough clean looks to be of any trouble to New Orleans, shooting just 38.5 percent from the field and even worse from behind the arc – 3-16 for 18.8 percent.
Although the Bulls failed to score from the field, they did enjoy plenty of trips to the free-throw line courtesy of some very tight officiating. However, the charity did not help with the Bulls combining to convert just 66.6 percent of their 33 foul shots, unable to take advantage of a 33-10 lead in FTAs.
It’s not often one can say this about the Bulls, but on this night they were thoroughly out-hustled by their opponents and, most surprisingly, outworked down low.
New Orleans at one stage enjoyed a 40-18 edge in points in the paint while also outrunning the Bulls 10-2 on the break and topping the Bulls’ reserves 23-3 before Taj Gibson helped limit the bleeding late in the game.
D.J. Augustin, again given the start ahead of Kirk Hinrich, proved why the chatter surrounding both his short-term future as the starting point guard and long-term as the backup to Rose is well warranted. Augustin again ran the offense competently, dishing out 7 assists to go with his team-high 23 points albeit on 8-16 shooting.
Joakim Noah performed admirably against a formidable frontcourt, hauling down 16 boards to go with his 14 points and 5 assists. Noah did however battle foul trouble for most of the game, having to sit the final five minutes of third quarter having picked up his fourth foul. He also suffered a nasty cut to the chin after hitting the deck hard, but played on.
Jimmy Butler also continued his resurgency, although he only finished with 10 points on 9 shots he looked more confident in his shot and more comfortable than he has done recently.
Next up for the Bulls is a back-to-back taking in the sights of Sacramento and Phoenix on Monday and Tuesday respectively.