DeMar DeRozan had a career-high 45 points and the Toronto Raptors beat Dallas, 121-116. The second half turned into an all out war with 22 lead changes as both teams traded blows in a wild back and forth game that came down to the final seconds.
DeMar DeRozan has had a rough start to the season, but he rebounded with his highest point total of the season.
3.42 a.m. ET
ESPN’s Jamal Collier
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Following an uncharacteristically terrible shooting performance in Game 1 of this first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls player DeMar DeRozan vowed that he would never shoot so poorly again.
He examined footage of every shot he missed in the days between Games 1 and 2. DeRozan returned to Fiserv Forum after the Bulls’ team bus landed in Milwaukee the night before Game 2 to take additional shots in an effort to regain his flow.
Then, on Wednesday, DeRozan delivered on his promise, scoring 41 points on 16-of-31 shooting to lead the Bulls to a 114-110 win that tied the series at one game each.
DeRozan stated after the game Wednesday, “I looked at all my missed shots from Game 1 and the most of them are my shots.” “I’ll never let a miss stop me from attempting my next jump shot, and I’m not trying to be aggressive, but I just felt [a horrible shooting night] wasn’t going to happen.”
During his first season in Chicago, DeRozan established a career best in scoring and led the Bulls to victory with efforts like these. Despite this, he became only the sixth Bulls player to score 40 points in a playoff game, and the first since Derrick Rose in 2011.
DeRozan is capable of doing it every night, according to Bulls center Nikola Vucevic. “He’s a beast of a player.” He’s a fantastic scorer.
“He has such a calm demeanor when he plays. In Game 1, he missed a few shots that he typically makes. He simply remained abrasive tonight. Obviously, he made some really difficult shots, particularly down the stretch, some huge, huge shots.
“We’ve seen him do it throughout the season… He may not go for 41 every night, but he is capable of hitting huge shots on any given night.”
For the most of the night, DeRozan was in charge of his own offense, hitting 14 of 27 dribble shots, more than the whole Bucks squad.
And perhaps most impressively, he shot 8-of-9 from the field for 16 points with Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo as his primary defender, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Those eight field goals are the most Antetokounmpo has allowed against a single playoff opponent in his career.
“He’s a fantastic player.” He’s a difficult player to defend because he like to take midrange shots,” Antetokounmpo remarked. “He wants to get to his location as soon as possible.” He has a lot of bounce and a lot of rhythm. He’ll be taking a lot of those photos. During the regular season, he did it. He’ll do it tonight, I’m sure.
“However, I believe we contested every shot at the end of the day. He was closed off. We did our part, but at the end of the day, sometimes doing your part isn’t enough.”
The Bulls won their first game against the Bucks since Dec. 26, 2017, thanks to Antetokounmpo’s presence in the lineup. In sharp contrast to the Bulls club that struggled to the close of the regular season, losing 10 of its final 15 games, Chicago has pushed Milwaukee in the first two games of this series.
Bulls guard Alex Caruso stated, “We had a tough season.” “We faced a lot of challenges. There was almost a sense that we were attempting to go right into the playoffs. We were stuck in a rut. But we regained our spirit.”
DeMar DeRozan has been the center of attention for all the wrong reasons this season. However, he has had a great second half and is now on pace to have his best scoring year yet. Reference: demar derozan ppg 2021.
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