DeMar DeRozan is coming up clutch for the Chicago Bulls this season as they climb up the NBA standings, now at 15-8 following their 119-115 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
Chicago now moves to 8-4 on the road.
The Bulls held off a furious Knicks finish, led by DeRozan’s 34 points,18 of which came in the fourth. It was his seventh 30-point game for the Bulls this season.
NBA League Pass: Sign up to unlock live out-of-market games (7-day free trial)
Any questions that people may have had about this roster and its ability to fit have now been answered.
DeRozan, who many felt was done after his three seasons in San Antonio, didn’t quite produce the performances that made him an All-Star in Toronto. In his first season in Chicago, he looks revitalized, stepping up when his team needs him most to lead the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring. He has now scored 165 points in 22 fourth quarters for an average of 7.5 points per final term, all while shooting above 50 percent from the field.
While his backcourt partner Zach LaVine is more partial to the 3-point shot, DeRozan relies on an old-school game of midrange pull-ups and pump fakes to create his own shot.
“DeMar for his whole career has done that, he’s been a great closing guy when you give him space and room,” head coach Billy Donovan said postgame. “DeMar’s presence, he never gets rattled. It helps our group.”
As the Bulls tried to withstand the Knicks comeback, it was DeRozan who sealed the win with a step-through layup with 20 seconds left in the game.
“That was a moment there where it was a big bucket to kind of seal the game for us. We gave up a big lead, and just to pull it out was big,” DeRozan said.
Based on numbers, it appears that DeRozan is now the most clutch player in the NBA.