DeMar DeRozan from the Chicago Bulls ended 2021 with a buzzer-beater and started 2022 with another one after he knocked down two clutch 3-pointers to lead the Bulls to victories over the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards. Thanks to back-to-back, game-winning efforts, DeRozan extended the Bulls winning streak to seven.
The Bulls (24-10) passed the Brooklyn Nets (23-11) to take over as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks (25-13) are also in the middle of a winning streak with six victories, but the defending champions are #3 overall in the Eastern Conference behind the Bulls and Nets.
The Nets recently survived a massive COVID-19 outbreak and lost their top spot in the East after the NBA postponed three of their games prior to Christmas. The Nets recently lost two games in a row and were overtaken by the Bulls.
The Bulls had three of their games postponed as well, but their outbreak began in mid-December when they had 10 players out with COVID-19, including leading scorers Zach LaVine and DeRozan.
Despite the recent two-game skid, the Nets are still the consensus favorites to win the 2022 NBA championship at +245 odds, according to a recent update by DraftKings.
The Bucks are +750 odds to complete a repeat championship run while the Bulls are long shots at +3000 odds to win their first title since Michael Jordan retired in the late 1990s.
DeRozan buzzer-beater #1 vs Pacers
The Bulls ended 2021 with an exciting 108-106 victory over the Indiana Pacers. DeRozan drilled a 3-pointer on one leg as time expired to lift the Bulls to a two-point victory over the Pacers. DeRozan finished the game with 28 points, but shot only 8-for-24 from the floor during an off night.
“I always think about the next opportunity and try to capitalize on that the best I can,” said DeRozan.
“DeMar has a calm about him,” said assistant coach Chris Fleming. “He was frustrated but was still able to keep his head in the game and be there when it mattered.”
With the Bulls down one point 106-105, DeRozan took an off-balance, 30-foot shot on one leg. He hit nothing but net as the buzzer sounded. The big-time trey notched a sixth consecutive victory for the Bulls.
🚨 BUTTER at the BUZZER 🚨
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Buzzer-beater #2 vs Wizards
The Bulls played back-to-back games over the weekend, including a rare New Year’s Day tilt. DeRozan scored 28 points again, while Zach LaVine led all scorers with 35 points in the one-point victory over the Washington Wizards.
The Bulls trailed 119-117 when DeRozan worked his magic for the second night in a row. He caught an inbound pass, dribbled to the corner, pump-faked Bradley Beal, then calmly drilled a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded. The Bulls won 120-119 and extended their winning streak to seven in a row.
“It’s amazing, especially doing it on the road,” said DeRozan. “I don’t know if I’m dreaming or if it’s real right now.”
“DDR just made a heck of a play,” said Washington head coach Wes Unseld Jr. “He was defended pretty well. It’s just tough. It’s tough to lose a game like that.”
“You work your butt off and you understand that if you’re in those positions, try to capitalize on them the best way you can because you’re going to have games where you miss some,” added DeRozan.
“The dude’s incredible,” said LaVine. “You can’t say much more than that. Thank God we’ve got DeMar DeRozan on our team.”
DeRozan set a new NBA record as the only player in history to connect on two game-winning buzzer-beaters in consecutive days. He leads the Bulls with 26.8 points per game this season, which is fifth-best in the NBA.
The Bulls play the Orlando Magic on Monday night in Chicago with a chance to win eight games in a row. On Wednesday, the Bulls host the Wizards for a rematch.
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