Zach LaVine shouldn’t have been talking about a loss on Friday night.
Not after the Bulls guard had just spent the last few hours putting on a 50-point scoring clinic never experienced at any point in his career.
It wasn’t exactly rare air, however.
LaVine became the 10th NBA player this season to cross the 50-point barrier, and the record of the teams when that’s occurred? How about just 6-4.
Heck, both Stephen Curry and Bradley Beal each hit the 60-plus mark in this 2020-21 campaign, and while Curry’s Warriors pulled out the win, Beal and the Wizards lost to the 76ers 141-136.
Two very similar components in the LaVine and Beal losses? Horrible defensive efforts, and a surrounding cast that couldn’t step up when opposing defenses went all-out lockdown on the main scoring threat.
In the case of Beal, the Wizards guard had 57 points through three, with the Sixers turning up the heat on him in the final stanza and holding him to just three points. Wizards teammate Russell Westbrook did finish with 20, but the other three starters – Thomas Bryant, Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija – combined for just 20 total points.
LaVine had 44 going into the final quarter, as Atlanta’s defense didn’t wait until the last 12 minutes to get aggressive in getting the ball out of his hands. They started blitzing LaVine late in the first half when he had 39, and never…