With 13 career 40-point games before Friday night, Zach LaVine had openly wondered when his first “50-piece” was coming.
It finally arrived in Atlanta.
But in keeping with the season-long theme of burying the inaccurate narrative that he’s a selfish scorer, LaVine routinely gave up the ball as he faced double- and triple-teams in the second half. And he would have traded it all for a victory.
“It sucks, man,” LaVine said following the Bulls’ late collapse in a 120-108 loss to the Hawks. “I would’ve much rather had a 50-point game in a win than a loss. That’s the salty part about it. But yeah, I’m glad I finally got it.”
LaVine became the fifth Bull in franchise history to post a 50-point game, joining Michael Jordan, Jimmy Butler, Chet Walker and Jamal Crawford. Butler posted two, while Walker and Crawford had one each. Jordan did so a ridiculous 38 times.
“That dude is a ghost,” LaVine said of one of his boyhood idols. “He’s a myth.”
LaVine set a franchise record with 25 straight points in a 39-point first half, the first 30-point first half since Jordan in 1997. Butler posted a 40-point second half in 2016.
But after LaVine’s first-half barrage that marked the third-highest-scoring first half over the last 25 years behind Kobe Bryant and Klay Thompson, he managed just 11 points after halftime as the Hawks completely adjusted their defense.
“I give credit to them,” LaVine said.…