A coincidence that DeRozan's highest-scoring games came against the Lakers? You be the judge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan reacts after scoring a basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021.

    Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan reacts after scoring a basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 12/20/2021 7:43 PM

The Bulls swept the Lakers this season and DeMar DeRozan reached his season high of 38 points in both games.

"You think it's a coincidence? Nah, I don't think so," DeRozan said with a laugh after the game. "It may be."

 

DeRozan has said he thought he was headed to the Lakers during the summer, but plans changed and trading for Russell Westbrook was the move. So DeRozan ended up with the Bulls in a sign-and-trade with San Antonio.

When he played in Toronto, DeRozan faced Cleveland in the playoffs three times, so a late-game matchup against LeBron James -- like the one he had late in Sunday's game at the United Center -- was nothing new.

"I've got the utmost respect for LeBron," DeRozan said. "I could arguably say I competed against one of the all-time greatest players in my generation of basketball. It's a blessing to be able to share the floor with him, from the playoff series to being in the Eastern Conference with him to All-Star Games. It's one of those things, when I'm older, I could say I played against that guy."

DeRozan didn't match up often with James during his 19-point fourth-quarter outburst. He saw a mix of Trevor Ariza, Rajon Rondo and Westbrook.

But with the Bulls down 1 and just over a minute remaining, DeRozan faced up against James twice in a row. First, he drove to the basket and had his shot blocked. But a pair of offensive rebounds provided a second chance, and this time DeRozan stayed outside and drained a 20-foot jumper that put the Bulls ahead for good.

"I know he was probably worried about me driving again," DeRozan said. "I was conscious of that and me just trying to (hesitate), get him to step back and pull up from there. He gave me an angle the possession previously when I drove all the way and I knew he wasn't going to let me get another driving angle, so it was just me getting to my spot."

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.