The Chicago Bulls have been mired by inconsistent play on both ends of the floor to start the 2022-23 season, but the team's one constant has been veteran shooting guard DeMar DeRozan.
The 33-year-old had another excellent performance in Wednesday's 118-113 win against the Milwaukee Bucks, pouring in 36 points on 14-of-24 shooting. It's the fifth time in his last six games that he has scored 28 points or more and shot above 50 percent from the field. The victory was the Bulls' first regular-season road win over the Bucks since Dec. 2017.
DeRozan also added eight assists, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal. While his offensive outburst was impressive, he also set a tone defensively that the rest of his teammates followed, as Chicago was able to outlast a 36-point outing by Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
NBA Twitter lit up with praise for DeRozan for his heroics Wednesday night to power Chicago to a second straight win:
David Kaplan @thekapman
DeMar DeRozan has been magnificent tonight in all phases. Yes he’s a premier scorer. But, his passing/defense have been phenomenal. Bulls are playing outstanding basketball through three quarters in Milwaukee. REKAP after the game on my YouTube channel. <a href="https://t.co/1RbglXvZnN">https://t.co/1RbglXvZnN</a>
The Bulls (8-10) have not opened the year the way they'd hoped, but the team has to be encouraged by Wednesday's effort against a conference powerhouse like the Bucks. It comes on the heels of a 14-point win over the Boston Celtics, so the Bulls should be confident that they can compete against the elite teams in the East.
If Chicago can duplicate its defensive performance going forward while continuing to lean on DeRozan to lead the offense, the team will have a good chance of climbing out of its early-season hole.
DeRozan and the Bulls will look to keep the momentum going when they return to action on Friday against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second matchup of a six-game road trip.