DeMar DeRozan hits milestone in Bulls’ 111-100 victory against Hawks

DeRozan played in his 1,000th regular-season game Monday and talked about a valuable lesson he has learned as the Feb. 9 trade deadline approaches.

SHARE DeMar DeRozan hits milestone in Bulls’ 111-100 victory against Hawks
The Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan drives to the basket and looks to pass as Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young, left, Dejounte Murray (5) and Clint Capela defend.

The Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan drives to the basket and looks to pass as Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young, left, Dejounte Murray (5) and Clint Capela defend.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

You gain a certain amount of knowledge from playing in 1,000 NBA regular-season games.

Lesson No. 1 that DeMar DeRozan lives by: Stay out of front-office business.

He made that clear Monday after reaching that 1,000-game milestone in helping the Bulls beat the Hawks 111-100 at the United Center.

“That’s a lot of [bleepin’] games, isn’t it?’’ DeRozan joked.

But he was very serious about letting his front office figure out what it wants to do on its own with a team that has won 11 of its last 17 games and is 22-24.

With the Feb. 9 trade deadline approaching and teams already starting to make moves, there might be a lot to figure out.

DeRozan was asked if he would talk to executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas with regard to which direction the front office could be heading.

“I’ve never done that,’’ DeRozan said. “Never in my career did that. I just control what I can control, and that’s me going out there and competing and trying to win games. And I’m going to do that to the best of my ability.’’

On a night with few efficient possessions, DeRozan led the Bulls with 26 points, going 11-for-21 from the field.

The victory didn’t come easy; the 2022-23 Bulls seldom have comfortable wins.

Whenever the Bulls seemed to bury the Hawks (24-24) in the fourth quarter, Atlanta would bounce back. The spurts weren’t enough to overcome the deficit, but they kept the threat alive.

An alley-oop dunk by John Collins with 6:37 left closed the Hawks’ deficit to three, but Zach LaVine had an immediate answer, hitting a three-pointer, then making two free throws. DeRozan then nailed a three to stretch the lead back to 11, but the Hawks refused to quit.

A three-pointer by Collins and a layup by Trae Young made it a game again.

Until it wasn’t.

The Bulls finally put the nail in the coffin in the last few minutes. A jumper by LaVine, then a three-pointer by Patrick Williams served as the daggers in the Bulls’ third consecutive victory. Williams had his first double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

“I think we’re getting [in a groove] as a team,’’ Williams said. “This time of the season, it’s that time to get into a groove and really solidify the identity you’ve been building the first part of the season.’’

As far as the direction of the team and the trade rumors that are expected to heat up, coach Billy Donovan had a simple suggestion for any of his players who are curious about where they stand: Just ask.

“If the players see or hear things about themselves, there’s an open-door policy,’’ Donovan said. “Those guys can go up there and talk to [Karnisovas]. I know a lot of times, the closer you get to that Feb. 9 date, the more things get thrown out there, the more things happen and then you’re playing games, and you’ve just got to as best as you can have players that are not going to get distracted by what may or may not happen.

“I do think every team in some way or another is being impacted. And I do think there’s a human element to, ‘Hey, my name’s all over the internet about being traded. My name’s all over the internet about going here or going there, doing this, doing that.’ The one thing Arturas has done a good job of is, ‘Hey, listen, I’ll tell you exactly what’s going on, exactly what the conversations have been.’ I think that hopefully puts players at ease.’’

The Latest
Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas promised changes were coming this offseason, and the first domino fell on Thursday, sending the defensive standout in Caruso to the Thunder for a promising play-making guard in Giddey.
The 19-year-old was standing on the sidewalk around 6:15 p.m. in the 1700 block of West 46th Street when someone approached him and fired shots, Chicago police said.
Guttman, a 25-year-old forward who has bounced between the AHL and NHL the past two seasons, will carry a $775,000 salary-cap hit.
Chicago Police Board member Andreas Safakas ruled to allow a disciplinary hearing on the case “that provides due process to all parties.”