Lakers lose Davis, head coach Vogel ahead of facing Bulls
Maybe the first surprise this day at the United Center was the Bulls being the healthier team.
The Lakers not only had six players in health and safety protocols and all-star Antonio Davis out with a left knee sprain, but a few hours before tipoff, they found out head coach Frank Vogel also tested into protocols and would be unavailable.
Assistant coach David Fizdale took the reins for this game and the Lakers had 10 players available, including newly-signed guard Isaiah Thomas and veteran forward Trevor Ariza, who was planning to make his season debut after recovering from an ankle injury.
"It's 'Hunger Games.' You just adapt, literally," Fizdale said before the game. "You don't give in to the complaining and the moaning and groaning of it. It is what it is, this is our world right now. We just have to adapt to it and work around it. Frank has opened my eyes to a new world of preparation, new way of doing things that's been so effective and I've been learning and it's really helped us in these moments. Turbulence, so be it."
Fizdale was an assistant in Miami throughout the Power Trio era with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. He's been a head coach for Memphis and New York. But he said he's still learned about preparation from Vogel.
Like Bulls coach Billy Donovan, Vogel is a disciple of Rick Pitino. Donovan played for Pitino at Providence and Vogel moved from the Jersey Shore to serve as a manager at Kentucky under Pitino, then was hired by Pitino to work for the Celtics.
"Frank is even, man. He doesn't waver with the turbulence or the news," Fizdale said. "That's just ripples on the surface to him. He just keeps forging ahead to what we have to do that day to get ready to win that day. It's really been fun to be a part of it with him. Good news, bad news, we don't get into the judgment of what kind of news it is, we just handle it for what it is."