DeMar DeRozan makes history as Bulls win fifth straight
On the same day that the Bulls found out Zach LaVine was ready to resume playing basketball and veteran big man Tristan Thompson was on the way, DeRozan broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record with seven straight games of at least 35 points while shooting 50% or better from the field.
The left knee needed some lubricant.
More important, Zach LaVine’s mind needed some easing.
Both were accomplished in his visit to Los Angeles to meet with a specialist, and now it’s back to business.
“It went very well,’’ coach Billy Donovan said Wednesday of LaVine’s second opinion. “He did have some swelling that was taken out of the knee; [they] gave him a lubricant to help him. The doctors feel totally fine with him resuming playing. I think Zach felt very, very good about the meeting. He felt like it went very well just based on the interventions and some of the things that they did during his visit with the doctor.
“It’s probably going to be 48 hours before he can do any activity, but he should be able to resume activity after that.’’
And he’ll be welcomed back with open arms.
After beating the Kings 125-118, the Bulls will go into the All-Star break with a 38-21 record and are temporarily atop the Eastern Conference. They have won five games in a row, and that’s not the only impressive streak.
In scoring 38 points on 16-for-27 shooting, DeMar DeRozan made NBA history, becoming the first player with seven straight games of 35 points or more while shooting over 50% from the field.
He was tied with Wilt Chamberlain entering the game.
“As a kid, as a fan of the history of the game, things like that make me even more humble,’’ DeRozan said. “It’s something I never take for granted. I feel like I had a bad shooting night. That’s the crazy thing.
“I can’t describe [this streak]. I’m just completely locked in when I come to work. No matter how I feel, when I come to work, the only thing that matters is getting the victory.’’
And Donovan appreciates that attitude.
“[Wednesday’s] performance was incredible just because of the length [the Kings] had on the perimeter,’’ Donovan said. “Everything about him is just trying to win. It’s not only the scoring but the decision-making.’’
But there’s a reason DeRozan will be thrilled to see LaVine back on the floor, besides the obvious. While LaVine has been dealing with the knee issue, even when he has played this month, DeRozan has been averaging just under 39 minutes, willing the Bulls to wins.
It’s time for LaVine to reclaim some lost turf.
That could start this weekend, with all signs pointing toward LaVine participating in the three-point contest Saturday and in the All-Star Game on Sunday with Team Durant.
LaVine will consult with Bulls doctors and his Los Angeles doctors on a definitive plan for the festivities, but Donovan expected that he would be on a minutes watch in the game, which shouldn’t be much of an issue.
“I don’t think Zach has any expectation to go to an All-Star Game and play 30 minutes,’’ Donovan said. “I don’t think that. But certainly it’s a great honor for him to be able to do that for a second year. He is healthy to play.’’
The good news didn’t stop there for the Bulls, either. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said that veteran big man Tristan Thompson was being waived and would be signing with the Bulls.
DeRozan loved that idea, insisting he has had a long friendship with Thompson.
“He’ll be a great addition for us,’’ DeRozan said.