Bradly Beal looked like he scratched his mom’s car. Daniel Gafford looked like he got dumped before prom. Corey Kispert looked like he got summoned for jury duty. Deni Avdija looked like he watched a ghost eat his leftovers.
DeMar DeRozan looked like he’d been there before. Because – 24 hours prior – he had.
They say the sequel is never as good as the original.
They are wrong. pic.twitter.com/JI1ByBQjZG
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 2, 2022
After a pump fake that tricked Kispert into the air and a rise over a well-positioned Beal, DeRozan sank the game-winning shot from downtown for the second night in a row. The bucket immediately cemented the four-time All-Star into the NBA record books, naming him as the only player to ever hit back-to-back game-winning buzzer-beaters on consecutive days (h/t Basketball-Reference).
“I don’t know if I’m dreaming, if it’s real right now,” DeRozan said after reporters made him aware of his historic accomplishment. “It’s just something you work your butt off and you understand when you’re in those positions try to capitalize on it the best way you can. You’re going to have games where you miss some, but willing to step up whenever that moment is called for, and be ready for it, that’s all you can do.”
DeRozan has been the epitome of clutch all season, leading the league in 4th quarter points per game with 241. In this final frame, he has shot 53.1 percent from the field and has gone 7-13 from 3-point range. Out of the top-10 4th-quarter scorers, DeRozan has also committed the fewest total turnovers and has shot the third-most free-throws. So, simply put, no one has been better at closing out games than DeRozan, and the past 48 hours put a big fat exclamation point on that statement.
A lot of players might bask in the glory. They might take the “that’s just what I do” approach. While DeRozan doesn’t lack that kind of confidence, his humble and appreciative reaction to an absolutely bonkers course of events reflects the kind of attitude he brings into the Bulls locker room.
As cliche as it may sound, DeRozan is someone who loves the grind. He has helped establish an environment behind the scenes built around consistency, preparedness, and (most importantly) winning. We’ve talked about it before, but it’s this kind of mentality the organization desperately needed to finally dig themselves out of a once-disastrous hole.
For a more complete look at what DeRozan had to say after the game, make sure to check out the video below:
— NBA (@NBA) January 2, 2022