Wednesday, November 17, 2021 11:05 AM | CBN
The Chicago Bulls celebrated a 121-103 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers Monday night - and forward DeMar DeRozan was a critical piece to that win.
Scoring a season-high 38 points for Chicago (the fifth time over the past nine games that he’s made at least 30 points), DeRozan was just shy of his first 40-point game since 2018.
"[LaVine] was trying to force me to get 40 tonight. I told him I was tired," said DeRozan with a laugh.
With an average of 26.9 points per game (third in the league trailing Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry), in addition to hooting 51% from the field and adding five rebounds and four assists, DeRozan is off to an excellent start in his very first season with the Bulls.
But many fans seem to question DeRozan’s fit with Chicago, some even calling him “washed” in recent years.
Luckily, this hasn’t phased the star or let it inhibit his performance one bit. "I can go down the list of just being counted out, being looked over," shared DeRozan.
”So many chips that's on my shoulder that I carry. And just wanting to be a winner and wanting to enjoy this ride. We can't play this game forever, so I want to get as much as I can out of it."
And at 32 years old in his 13th NBA career year, he knows he still has a lot left in him to give. "I never looked at age as being an issue,” said DeRozan.
"I never looked at it. People put the age limit on everything, and I never did. The way I worked, the way I take care of my body, the way I prepare, I knew what I was capable of doing. I just took different roads the last couple years of playing basketball, trying to do the right thing, figuring it out.
"This time, just knowing my ability was always there, I never lost confidence. I never thought I couldn't be who I was before. Chicago allowed me to completely be myself."
Monday’s win actually marks the first Bulls victory against the Lakers since the year 2016 - so the Chicago team sure has a lot to feel proud about.
Helping DeRozan carry the Bulls to their win on Monday night were Lonzo Ball, who had seven 3-pointers to finish with 27 points, and Zach LaVine who added 26 points - with all three players combining to score or assist on 110 points.
"I think we are one of the top teams in the NBA," said Ball. "Obviously, we still have a long way to go, a lot to improve on. But we're moving in the right direction."
"I think a lot of people counted him out saying he's on the back end of his career, but this is probably one of his best years that he's had in the NBA," Ball said of DeRozan.
"I've always known what type of player he was. I don't know how he got kind of lost in the shuffle in San Antonio, but he's one of the best players in this game and I think he's going out there and proving it every night."
The Bulls play again tomorrow night (Wednesday) against the Portland Trail Blazers, with the Lakers facing the Milwaukee Bucks.