DeMar DeRozan was spectacular in his debut season with the Chicago Bulls, and he closed 2021 in style with perhaps his best game yet: a buzzing 3-pointer to knock out the Indiana Pacers, 108-106. Thanks to DeRozan’s heroism, the Bulls extended their winning streak to six games and ended up tied for first place in the Eastern Conference at 23-10.
After a fourth round trip, the Bulls trailed 104-98 with just over two minutes to go. At this point, it looked like they might be in line for their first loss since December 11, but DeRozan had other ideas. The Bulls outscored the Pacers 10-2 from that point on, and DeRozan either scored or assisted on their last seven points. There was an assist for Zach LaVine for a dunk, then a base jumper to make it a one-point game. And, finally, the winner of the match.
With just over 10 seconds on the clock, the Bulls got a life saving save and DeRozan brought the ball back to the ground. As he waited and waited to act, it looked like the Bulls’ decision not to ask for a time-out and set up a play was going to be a mistake. Due to his delay, DeRozan didn’t have time to throw a steady shot and had to hoist a one-leg runner well behind the 3-point line. Somehow it caught all the net and the Bulls came off the bench to attack their hero.
In truth, it wasn’t the best overall game for DeRozan. He finished with 28 points, but struggled to find his shot for most of the night and only managed 8 for 24 from the field – his third worst ever-scoring percentage of the season . But he came out on top at the most important moment, just like he’s been doing all season for the Bulls.
DeRozan leads the league averaging eight points per game in the fourth quarter, which puts him ahead of superstars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. What’s even more impressive is that in clutch time – the last five minutes of games within five points – DeRozan is shooting 54.8 percent from the field.
Overall, DeRozan scores 26.8 points, five rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, while shooting 49.7 percent. He’s fifth in the league in scoring, and that’s the most points he’s averaged since 2017, while still with the Toronto Raptors. Whichever way you want to see it, DeRozan has played at an All-NBA level for the Bulls and makes them look like a real threat in the East.