Anthony Davis

Bulls-Lakers: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

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USA TODAY

Bulls-Lakers: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Things can only go up from here, right?

The Bulls are off to a very disappointing 2-5 start, which comes despite having one of the league's easiest schedules to start the season. There are plenty of issues on both sides of the ball for Chicago but a small share of positives as well, such as the shot distribution on offense or Wendell Carter Jr.'s recent play. 

Tuesday's game against the Lakers at the United Center will represent the first time this season that the Bulls faceoff against one of the elite teams of the Western Conference.

Here are the essentials for tonight’s game:

When: 7 p.m. CST with Bulls Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: United Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Chicago
Live stream: NBCSportsChicago.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch:

Anthony Davis looking to get off to a hot start at home

Coming into Tuesday's matchup with the Bulls, Davis, a Chicago native, is leading the league in first-quarter points per game, averaging an impressive 11.5 points per first quarter.

The Lakers, who will be looking to close out their three-game road trip with a win at the UC, will look to ride AD's offensive efficiency to a win against a Bulls team that is struggling mightily with rebounding and defending in the paint.

The Bulls are 25th in the league in opponents points in the paint, while the Lakers are one of the better paint scoring teams in the league, posting 52.7 points per game (fourth in the league). New Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has the squad second in the league in post-ups per game (16.7) and is a big part of the reason Davis is currently averaging a career-high 28.5 points per game.

This is a terrible matchup for the Bulls on paper, so this would be a great game for the team to step up and show some of that mental and physical toughness that Jim Boylen has been asking for.

LeBron James vs. the Bulls' wing depth (or lack thereof)

The Bulls' lack of wing depth is going to be a problem, even once Chandler Hutchison returns to the court. And one way or the other, guarding LeBron James is obviously going to be a colossal task for Chicago. James' scoring and rebounding numbers have taken a dip but he is having a career year in terms of playmaking.

James has already racked up 67 assists over 6 games (11.2 assists per game) and is coming off of a 21-point, 11-rebound, 13-assist triple-double in Sunday's win over the Spurs. The Bulls are going to be in even more trouble against James if they are without the services of Otto Porter Jr., who is listed as probable for Tuesday's game.

Chicago's three-guard lineups that feature Ryan Arcidiacono, Coby White, and Kris Dunn have actually held up with Wendell Carter and Thaddeus Young on the floor, but these lineups will be hard-pressed to perform well when L.A. has James, Davis, and Dwight Howard on the floor.

If the Lakers decide to go with jumbo lineups with James playing the one or the two, the Bulls will be at such a disadvantage on the boards that they will need to hit their perimeter shots to stay close in this one.

Wendell Carter Jr.'s productive stretch 

Wendell Carter Jr. is one of the few Bulls having an all-around solid season, as evidenced by being the only Bull with a positive net rating through seven games. Carter, who had seven double-doubles last season, has four double-doubles over his first seven games of the 2019-20 season.

Carter, who is shooting a career-best 71.7% on field goal attempts less than five feet from the basket, finally appears to be settling nicely into the Bulls new-look offense. It is early, but Carter's recent stretch of player indicates a player who knows where to find their shots within the offensive system.

After shooting a woeful 6-14 against the Raptors on October 26, Carter has shot a remarkable 75% over his last four games.

The Bulls will need a big-time effort against the Lakers' frontcourt to win Tuesday's game, and Carter would appear to be the best option to guard Davis but he will likely spend some time as a help defender on Davis as well, both roles equally important to the integrity of the Bulls' defense.

But while Carter's defense—as it is every night—will be vital to the Bulls picking up a win, his offense will be just as important in a game that will likely be a defensive battle. 

Both the Lakers and the Bulls have top-12 defensive ratings over the past two games, will it be an unlikely hero on offense on Tuesday night, or will one of the usual suspects help get the job done?

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Lakers' Anthony Davis hints at possible Chicago return: 'I mean, I am a free agent next year...'

Lakers' Anthony Davis hints at possible Chicago return: 'I mean, I am a free agent next year...'

Buckle up Chicago sports fans, as the superstar-homecoming rumor mill is back buzzing again. You may have heard this tale before: NBA superstar with Chicago-roots hints at a possible return. But in the case of Anthony Davis, we can likely chalk this up to being a good sport.

Davis, who has talked at length before about Chicago being the "Mecca of Basketball", was asked about the possibility of coming to the Bulls in the future, seeing as he has a player option and is likely to be a free agent this upcoming offseason. The dominant big man basically stated that he didn't want to rule anything out more than committing one way or the other, stating, "I mean, I am a free agent next year ... but we will see."

As Davis rambled on a bit in his response, the crowd of Chicago sports fans started to laugh as event host Camron Smith interjected, "next question, next question."

Of course, it would be a dream come true for the Bulls to effectively end their rebuild by adding the three-time All-NBA selection to their team, on top of the obvious marketing boost that comes with adding a perennial MVP candidate with hometown ties to your squad. 

The cold, hard reality for the Bulls is on top of the fact that teams like the Lakers will have extremely strong pitches (i.e. playing with LeBron James), making Davis fit into their cap situation does not look remotely realistic. 

Chicago would have somewhere in the ballpark of $32 million in cap space if Otto Porter Jr. decides not to pick up his roughly $28.4 million player option for the 2020-21 season.

The only scenario in which it was realistic to see Porter declining that option was in the event that he played so well, he actually increased his value on the open market. Though he has started to play much better as of late, it is unlikely that Porter declines that option. 

https://twitter.com/markstrot/status/1191513678539042816

So without that piece of the scenario solved, it is tough to see a path for Davis, in the midst of the best basketball of his career, coming to the Bulls. Of course, the NBA is the ultimate player's league and as we saw in the Paul George-to-the-Clippers deal, anything is possible when the players team up for a certain outcome. 

If Anthony Davis was to reach out to Porter and the Bulls and let them know he was coming to Chicago, then surely Porter would decline his player option and all sides would work out a way to keep a solid team intact around him. But again, it would take the strongest of commitments from AD to even get the process started. 

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Jalen Rose wouldn't be surprised if 'Anthony Davis ends up with the Bulls'

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USA TODAY

Jalen Rose wouldn't be surprised if 'Anthony Davis ends up with the Bulls'

Brian Windhorst said in January that Anthony Davis, who at the time was disgruntled member of the New Orleans Pelicans and wanted a trade, did not have any desire to play for his hometown Bulls. It made sense: Davis and Rich Paul, his agent, were angling for a trade to the Lakers so the All-Pro could team up with LeBron James. Also, Davis wanted to compete for championships and obviously wasn’t going to do that in the short-term future playing for what became a 22-win Bulls team.

Earlier this week, Davis said he wouldn’t rule out a return to the Bulls at some point in his career, saying “I’d definitely consider it.” This, of course, was an interview held in Chicago during a Nike event, so it made little sense for Davis to rule out a return to Chicago. This happens all the time. It was hardly newsworthy but was a nice headline to get everyone through the dog days of the NBA’s quiet period.

But fear not. We’ve got even more non-news news.

Jalen Rose spoke on ESPN’s Get Up! this morning and stirred the pot even further. While discussing the NBA’s investigation of tampering and how more and more players are setting future plans up in the present, Rose dropped this little nugget: “Guys are planning years ahead. I’m gonna say this right now: Don’t be surprised if Anthony Davis ends up with the Bulls… He’s already planting seeds.”

Rose, you’ll remember, is the same talking head who gave a “99.9% chance” of Kawhi Leonard re-signing with the Toronto Raptors. He also hinted at the Bulls being interested in dealing Zach LaVine to the New Orleans Pelicans prior to the NBA Draft.

Leonard chose the L.A. Clippers. LaVine still plays for the Bulls.

In addition to Rose's sparkling resume on predictions, it seems highly unlikely that Davis would work so diligently to all-but force a trade to the Lakers just to leave them in a year. It’s almost a given that Davis is going to sign a long-term deal with the Lakers to play alongside LeBron James – both of whom have Rich Paul as an agent – and play the heart of his career with the most storied franchise in NBA history.

Also, while it’s pretty easy to make salary cap space these days, the Bulls have no money to add Davis in free agency next season unless Otto Porter declines his player option. That seems unlikely. So, too, does Davis wanting to join a Bulls team that was worse than the Pelicans one he requested to be traded from.

Then again, Rose never said it would happen next season when Davis is a free agency. He likely didn't put a timeline on it to cover his bases, like he should have done with his Kawhi prediction.

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