The Chicago Bulls are on a solid run in the ongoing season, riding a 7-game winning streak and sitting 24-10 in the Eastern Conference.

A number of the players on the roster of the 6-time Champions have stepped up to the plate whenever push comes to shove. Most recent is the heroics of 4-time All-Star, Demar DeRozan doing the clutch double on game-winning 3-pointers to close out 2021 and open 2022.

In Indiana on Friday December 31, it was a one-legged runner at the horn to down the Pacers, and then the follow-up in the nation’s capital the next night, January 1 was even more impressive. With 3.3 seconds left on the clock, DeRozan not only took time to check where his toes were, but even got off a fake pump to gather himself.

 

SHOT TAKEN, DAGGER DELIVERED
“I see two guys on me, and I knew one would at least go for the pump fake,’’ DeRozan said of his latest buzzer beater with 3.3 seconds left on the inbound. “After that, I just wanted to make sure I got my feet behind the line and give it the chance to go in.’’

The three-pointer delivered a 120-119 victory for the Bulls. The Wizards led nearly the whole game, outscoring Chicago 72-30 for points in the paint.

 

BUZZER BEATER RECORD SETTING FEAT
In beating Indiana in similar fashion a night earlier, DeRozan became the first player in league history to win games at the buzzer on back-to-back nights, and the first to do it in back-to-back games since Larry Bird in 1985. Bird had a day off between games.

Noteworthy is the fact that Chicago got DeRozan back from health and safety protocols on December 19 and the team are 7–0 since his return. Coincidence? Not likely. He’s averaged 28.4 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.4 rebounds in 35.2 minutes per game since his comeback, including 5-of-7 shooting from deep in that span, with two of those been buzzer-beaters.

 

PROVING CRITICS WRONG
DeRozan has completely flipped that narrative on its head almost halfway through the season, as he is turning in the best year of his career by moving the Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference. Quite common was the thought that Chicago massively overpaid the 32-year-old, and that his addition would not help the Bulls beyond a play-in tournament in the East.

He is playing like a legitimate MVP candidate through the start of his debut season in the windy city, averaging 27 points per game, and it is credit to his deadly mid-range shooting and consistent ability to get to the free throw line. DeRozan has also been an assassin in close games all season, leading the NBA in points per game in the fourth quarter.

 

Q4 MONSTER
Thus far this season, DeRozan sits atop the fourth-quarter scorers chart, with 241 points in 30 games, shooting 53.1% overall in the fourth and 7-of-13 from long range.

In clutch situations, defined as the last five minutes of the game when the score is within five points, DeRozan is shooting 55.6% and has converted both of his 3s. One came against the Pacers, the other against the Wizards. With 67 points in the clutch, DeRozan trails only Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, who has 96.