Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan became the first NBA player to sink winning buzzer beaters in back-to-back Saturday nights while Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo netted a triple double in the defending champions’ victory.
DeRozan’s three-point shot from the left corner to the last horn gave the Bulls a 120-119 win in Washington and completed a 28-point performance.
“I don’t know if I’m dreaming or if it’s real right now,” DeRozan said. “Willing to step up whenever that moment is called and be ready for it, that’s all I can do.”
The Bulls extended their winning streak to seven games while Milwaukee rose to six in a row as Antetokounmpo propelled host Bucks against New Orleans 136-113.
NBA frontman Golden State beat Utah 123-116, ending a six-game winning streak in the Jazz, but the discussion was only on DeRozan.
“Dude is amazing,” Chicago’s Zach LaVine said of DeRozan after scoring a game-high 35 points. “I can’t say much more than that.”
DeRozan, whose three-point shot helped Chicago defeat Indiana on Friday, made two free throws with 49 seconds left. But Kyle Kuzma’s three-point shot with four seconds remaining gave the Wizards a 119-117 advantage, setting the stage for DeRozan’s final heroism.
“DeMar’s shot was incredible once again,” said Bulls interim coach Chris Fleming. “He had the presence of mind to look down and find out where his feet were to make that shot. Amazing shot.”
No other player has made consecutive winning shots on consecutive nights. He became the first to pull off the feat in consecutive games since 1985 by Boston’s Larry Bird, who had a day off between triumphs.
DeRozan, the NBA’s top scorer in the fourth quarter, is to a career high 37.3% on a three-point range this season.
Greek star Antetokounmpo scored 35 points, caught 16 rebounds and delivered 10 assists for his second triple double of the season and the 27th of his career.
“I try to be aggressive the whole game,” Antetokounmpo said. “I’m at my best when I’m aggressive. I can create open shots.”
Antetokounmpo hit 12 of 18 from the floor and 9 of 12 from the free throw line. He surpassed the triple double total of NBA legend Michael Jordan’s career.
“I’m so locked in and focused on what we have to do, these moments go by – not unnoticed, it’s a big compliment to mention with these guys – but you just push it aside,” Antetokounmpo said.
“As I get older I have to live in the moment and enjoy this moment. I have 27 triple doubles. It’s crazy.”
Milwaukee improved to 25-13, third in the Eastern Conference behind Brooklyn and Chicago, while the Pelicans fell to 13-23.
It was the 400th career NBA victory for Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer.
In Utah, Stephen Curry scored 28 points, Andrew Wiggins added 25 and Otto Porter scored 20 to lead Golden State (28-7) over the Jazz, who fell to 26-10, still third in the league.
– Harden a triple double –
Nikola Jokic had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead Denver to a 124-111 victory in Houston while Eric Bledsoe scored 27 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers over host Brooklyn 120-116.
James Harden had a triple double for Brooklyn with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists while Kevin Durant added 28 points for the Nets.
In Detroit, Saddiq Bey scored three points with 2.1 seconds left in overtime to give host Pistons a 117-116 victory over San Antonio.
The Dallas Mavericks have said all-star goalie Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Maxi Kleber have cleared NBA Covid-19 health and safety protocols and may return on Sunday.
The team went 5-5 without Doncic, who is averaging 25.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. Doncic injured his ankle last month and was due to return when he entered the Covid protocol.
Oklahoma City will face Dallas on Sunday without star goalie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered Covid-19 protocols on Saturday.