NBA

Bulls star DeRozan on second consecutive buzzer-beating winner: I don't know if I'm dreaming!

By Sports Desk January 02, 2022

Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan wondered whether he was dreaming after hitting a buzzer-beating winning three-pointer for the second consecutive day.

After draining a last-gasp shot to lead the Bulls to glory over the Indiana Pacers on New Year's Eve, DeRozan was at it again on Saturday by nailing one from the left corner to earn the Bulls a 120-119 triumph over the Washington Wizards to extend their winning streak to seven.

According to Basketball Reference, DeRozan is the first player in NBA history to hit game-winning buzzer-beaters on consecutive days.

The big moment arrived when he took hold of Coby White's pass with a little over three seconds remaining, dribbled into the corner, faked the shot on rookie Corey Kispert, set his feet and drained the shot.

It was the culmination of another fine performance for DeRozan, who had 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists. He is averaging a league-high eight points on 53 per cent shooting in the fourth quarter this season.

"Just to hit a buzzer-beater in general is amazing, especially when you do it on the road," DeRozan said about his moment of glory.

"I don't know if I'm dreaming. If it's real right now.

"It's just an honour to be trusted in the fourth quarter. Whether things are going good or going bad, my team, team-mates always leaned on me to be that calm presence to bring us home.

"I always bring that calm presence as much as I can in the fourth quarter, letting guys understand, as long we got time we got a chance."

With the Brooklyn Nets having lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Bulls stand alone atop the Eastern Conference with a 24-10 record.

Their recent streak is even more impressive in the context of a spate of absentees, a situation that should be eased by the return from health and safety protocols for Lonzo Ball and Alfonzo McKinnie against the Orlando Magic on Monday.

The game will also see head coach Billy Donovan eligible to return from the protocols as well, and stand-in coach Chris Fleming is happy to hand back the reins.

"I'm quite relieved I can give this back to coach," Fleming said. "I was very fortunate enough to be able to experience this from the head coaching standpoint and see the guys from a little bit of a different side.

"I told them after that I was thankful for the partnership and how hard they poured themselves into making the situation a good one.

"That's pretty much how their character has been all season. They've been resilient, they've handled other blows and different guys have been out, and they've just kept chugging."

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