The Brooklyn Nets have one last shot in the regular season to take down the Bulls, and it’ll happen on Wednesday night in Chicago. If Kyrie Irving and James Harden play alongside Kevin Durant, the Bulls will have a tougher challenge than they did in the previous two matchups.
It’ll be no easy feat for Brooklyn to take down Chicago, though. The Bulls have won 13 of their last 14 games, and DeMar DeRozan’s been playing out of his mind. In that span, DeRozan’s averaged 26.7 points per game.
On Dec. 31, DeRozan knocked down a game-winner to beat Indiana, 108-106. The next night, he did the same thing against Washington, leading Chicago to a 120-119 victory. DeRozan’s the first player in the history of the NBA to hit buzzer-beaters in back-to-back games.
DeRozan’s performance this season with the Bulls has been one of his best, and to much surprise, his name has been thrown into the MVP conversation. As of right now, Durant’s No. 2 in the rankings, and DeRozan’s climbed his way up to No. 6.
Does Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant need to worry about DeRozan’s play?
Durant’s agent said last month that the 2014 MVP isn’t focused on the accolade, but is instead concentrated on how he and the Nets play.
KD hasn’t been putting up a league-high average of 29.8 points per game for the mere reason of earning his second MVP award. He had an increased workload before Irving’s part-time return, and even now, Brooklyn’s still struggling to score and has lost five of its last seven games.
Meanwhile, Chicago didn’t lose a game at all in December and has only lost one so far in January.
The Bulls went from missing the playoffs for four-straight seasons to sitting atop the East with a 27-11 record. The Nets are in second, 2.5 games behind Chicago, at 25-14.
One thing’s for sure, Aug. 11, 2021, will be marked down in Bulls’ history. That’s the day that the organization acquired DeRozan from the Spurs in a sign-and-trade agreement. He’s had successful stints in Toronto and San Antonio, but there was no way to predict just how well he would do with the new-look Bulls.
He’s helped to breathe life back into Chicago in his 13th year in the league, in the same way that Durant brought a wave of hope to Nets fans when he signed with the team in free agency during the 2019 offseason.
Both KD and DeRozan are key reasons why their respective teams sit atop the Eastern Conference, and while it doesn’t seem like Durant’s going to take his foot off the gas, he now has to worry about DeRozan and the surging Bulls.
Will DeRozan be able to maintain the high level of intensity that he’s been playing with? And will it impact Durant’s spot in the MVP rankings?
While we appreciate DeRozan’s game, Durant’s been doing the unthinkable all season long. And it doesn’t look like he’s going to stop anytime soon.