It’s the closing seconds. The Chicago Bulls, in the middle of a storybook season, trail their opponent on the road. They need a bucket to win the game, so who do they go to? Their MVP candidate: DeMar DeRozan. As so many of his shots have this season, it falls through the net as the buzzer sounds. Bulls win.
Here’s where things get crazy. That paragraph doesn’t just describe Saturday night’s game, which DeRozan won against the Wizards at the buzzer. It also describes last night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, which he also won for them at the buzzer. On Saturday, DeRozan became the first player in NBA history to make game-winning buzzer-beaters on consecutive days. It started Friday. The Bulls trailed the Pacers 106-105, but DeRozan drained a runner from behind the arc to close out 2021 with a bang:
But DeRozan wasn’t done. His first-place Bulls trailed the Washington Wizards 119-117 in the closing seconds on Saturday. He could have played for the tie, but why bother when you’re as hot as he has been in the clutch? DeRozan rang in the new year with an even more impressive winner. This time, he made it from the corner with two Wizards in his face:
DeRozan’s brilliance is largely responsible for Chicago’s excellence in the clutch this season. The Bulls are now 11-6 in clutch situations with DeRozan shooting nearly 55 percent from the field entering Saturday. They have the NBA’s third-ranked clutch offense, trailing only the Clippers and Suns, and if he continues to make jumpers at the rate he’s made them this season, the Bulls are going to be able to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the postseason.
Of course, the playoffs are still months away. For now, what DeRozan is doing in the regular season deserves its own form of recognition. Chicago took a major gamble on him this offseason. They spent $85 million and a first-round pick to land a player many around the league considered to be in decline. All DeRozan has done since is make his doubters look foolish. He may have made history over the past two days, but he’s been carrying the Bulls for more than two months. This is nothing more than the culmination of what DeRozan has given the Bulls all season.