WASHINGTON — No amount of fireworks set off in the nation’s capital to usher in the new year resonated as loudly across the Beltway than the shot the Chicago Bulls DeMar DeRozan let off to cap off one of the more remarkable two-game stretches of heroics in recent memory in the NBA.
For the second game in succession, DeRozan drained a three-pointer at the buzzer on the road, with his corner three over a double team lifting the Bulls to a 120-119 victory over the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on Saturday evening. DeRozan ended with 28 points, while Zach LaVine scored a game-high 35 points as the Bulls run their winning streak to a season-high seven games, the team’s longest winning streak since December 2014.
Games six and seven of that winning streak, on consecutive days, could not have had more dramatic endings, with DeRozan’s running three at the buzzer in Indianapolis capping off a 108-106 win over the Pacers and a 9-2 December for Chicago. As unbelievable as the ending was on New Year’s Eve, DeRozan somehow topped it to begin 2022, taking the inbounds pass on the left wing before dribbling to the left corner and, after a pump fake, rising and swishing a three to keep Chicago at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
“It’s amazing, especially doing it on the road,” DeRozan said. “I don’t know if I’m dreaming or if it’s real right now.
“You work your butt off and you understand that if you’re in those positions, try to capitalize on them the best way you can because you’re going to have games where you miss some.”
The see-saw ending to the contest produced five lead changes in the last 103 seconds, and DeRozan’s heroics came only after the Wizards took the lead with three seconds left on a Kyle Kuzma deep three-pointer from the right wing for a 119-117 lead. Kuzma led the Wizards with 29 points and 12 rebounds, while Bradley Beal scored 27 points and dished out a career-high 17 assists.
Chicago overcame being outscored 72-30 in the paint by draining 17 three-pointers (out of 34 attempts) and holding the Wizards to 6-of-27 from beyond the arc. The Wizards led for almost the entire game, and Zach Lavine’s three with 1:43 remaining that gave Chicago a 115-114 lead was the Bulls’ first lead of the game since a 11-9 lead with 8:43 remaining in the first quarter.
After Nikola Vucevic tied the game at 112 with a three for the Bulls, Beal, who played the role of playmaker without Spencer Dinwiddie (COVID-19 health and safety protocol), scored the next four points on drives to the basket when he hit a layup and drew a foul before making two free throws for a 116-115 Wizards lead.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Yusuf Abdullah. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 10 pictures in total.