The Chicago Bulls are on a roll, winning their eighth straight game on Monday night. Meanwhile, the second-place Brooklyn Nets have lost three in a row and the Bulls’ first-place lead continues to grow.
In defeating the Orlando Magic 102-98, the Bulls pulled out a gritty victory.
It was a game that saw them start slow, going down by 11 in the first quarter. Chicago slowly chipped away and made the game close by halftime. But, neither team could pull away for the remainder of the game.
This was a night where Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan started slow, not necessarily shooting the ball well to begin the game. But, as they normally do, both of them came up big in the fourth quarter.
DeRozan, specifically, made some nice plays with under a few minutes left. However, one area he struggled was out of the norm — at the free throw line. DeRozan shot just 7-for-13 from the charity stripe and missed three in the final minute of the game.
After the game, DeMar DeRozan showed the Chicago Bulls why he is a true leader by making up for his mistakes.
After the game, DeRozan stayed out on the United Center court and shot free throws. Per K.C. Johnson, DeRozan made roughly 250 of them before he allowed himself to leave for the night.
Though he finished with 29 points and did help the Bulls close this game out, DeRozan wasn’t satisfied with his performance. Not only that, but he told Johnson that he and the Bulls can’t be satisfied with anything right now:
"“We can’t be satisfied with anything,” DeRozan said. “We work extremely hard. We can’t take nothing for granted. We understand what’s at task and that’s to continue to get better. Yeah, we won some games. We’re on a win streak. But we’re not satisfied with none of that.”"
Over this 8-game winning streak, DeRozan has clearly led the Bulls. He’s been the one constant who has closed out games and continued to lead the team in scoring. He even made NBA history, making buzzer-beating game-winners two nights in a row, becoming the first player to ever do such thing.
Monday night, he looked tired. He looked a little off.
Fortunately, the Bulls now get three days off before playing the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
For now, they can recover and rest up before this next stretch of six games in nine days and get ready to extend that streak even further.