Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan gets 5th straight game with at least 35 points and joins Michael Jordan on roster

CHICAGO — Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan scored 38 points Saturday night to lead the Bulls to a 106-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the fifth straight game he has finished with at least 35 points.

DeRozan became just the second player in Bulls history to record at least five consecutive 35-point games, joining Michael Jordan, who has done so four times in his career, most recently in 1996.

“It’s just an honor to be in the same [spot] — any type of record book — with one of the greatest of all time,” DeRozan said after the win. “Especially playing for this organization. It’s an honor. It probably is [hasn’t] hit me right now. I don’t know what role I’m on. Just be myself.”

During that streak, DeRozan shot at least 50% from the field in all five games, tied for the longest such streak by any player in the last 30 seasons, according to ESPN research. Stats & Information. The last player to do so was Damian Lillard of Portland in 2020.

“It’s amazing to be able to witness that,” Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr said. I don’t have to be the one to keep all those fucking counterfeits. He’s an incredible player with an incredible streak. I hope he holds up.”

DeRozan also recorded at least 30 points in six straight games, the longest such streak of his career.

That recent hot streak took DeRozan’s season average to a career-high 27.7 points per game and fifth-highest in the NBA at 51.2 percent from the field.

“It’s really amazing to watch him play night after night,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “When he gets to his places on the pitch, he’s an incredibly unique player. … He’s as good a scorer as I am.”

That’s praise from Donovan, who coached Kevin Durant in Durant’s final season in Oklahoma City, in addition to Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul. But DeRozan’s play continued to elevate the Bulls, who won their third straight game on Saturday, to the top of a crowded Eastern Conference playoff picture despite their injury struggles.

DeRozan was playing Saturday without fellow All-Star Zach LaVine, who missed the second half of a straight streak with right knee pain. Donovan said the team plans to limit LaVine’s play in back-to-back games, but otherwise his status is day-to-day.

Jones Jr. returned Saturday for the first time since January 12, playing with a splint on his right index finger which he fractured in late January.

The Bulls were also missing starting forward Javonte Green, who injured his foot after kicking him hard on the ground after a dunk Friday night. Donovan said Green was struggling to walk on Saturday morning and while the injury improved as the day progressed, it could sideline him for the next few days. The Bulls still have two games to play before the All-Star break this week.

While most of the top teams in the Eastern Conference completed some sort of trade before Thursday’s trade deadline, the Bulls stayed put, opting to keep their squad intact while they waited for several key players to return from injury. .

Lonzo Ball (knee), Alex Caruso (wrist) and Patrick Williams (wrist) are all set to return in March.

“I dream about it every night, like being on a beautiful sunny island, that’s how I imagine it when we come back healthy,” DeRozan said. “We went there. It sucks right now, but we have to put up with it. It will come.”

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