Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan gets 5th straight game with at least 35 points, joins Michael Jordan on team list

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan scored 38 points Saturday night to lead the Bulls to 106-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the fifth consecutive game he has finished with at least 35 points.

DeRozan became just the second player in Bulls history to record at least five straight 35-point games, joining Michael Jordan, who did so four times in his career, most recently in 1996.

"It's just an honor to be in the same [spot] -- any type of record book -- with one of the greatest of all time," DeRozan said after the win. "Especially playing for this organization. It's an honor. It probably [hasn't] hit me right now. I don't know what roll I'm on. Just being myself."

During this streak, DeRozan has shot at least 50% from the field in all five games, tied for the longest such streak by any player over the past 30 seasons, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. The last player to do so was Portland's Damian Lillard in 2020.

"It's incredible just to be able to witness this," Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. said. "He's an incredible player. I told him before, I'm glad I'm on his team now because I don't have to be the one guarding all them damn shot fakes. He's an incredible player on an incredible roll. I hope he keeps it up."

DeRozan has also recorded at least 30 points in six straight games, the longest such streak of his career.

This recent hot streak has raised DeRozan's season average to 27.7 points per game, a career high and fifth-highest in the NBA, on 51.2% from the field.

"It's really amazing watching him play night after night," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. "When he gets to his spots on the floor, he's an incredibly unique player. ... He's as good of a scorer as I've been around."

That is high praise from Donovan, who coached Kevin Durant during Durant's final season in Oklahoma City, in addition to Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul. But DeRozan's play has continued to elevate the Bulls, who won their third consecutive game Saturday, toward the top of a crowded Eastern Conference playoff picture despite their injury troubles.

DeRozan was playing Saturday without fellow All-Star Zach LaVine, who sat out the second half of a back-to-back with right knee soreness. Donovan said the team planned to limit LaVine playing in consecutive games, but otherwise his status was day-to-day.

Jones Jr. returned Saturday for the first time since Jan. 12, playing with a splint on the right index finger he fractured at the end of January.

The Bulls were also missing starting forward Javonte Green, who bruised his foot after slamming it hard against the floor after a dunk Friday night. Donovan said Green had trouble walking Saturday morning and although the injury got better as the day went on it could keep him out for the next few days. The Bulls have two games remaining before the All-Star break this week.

While most of the top teams in the Eastern Conference pulled off some sort of trade before the Thursday trade deadline, the Bulls did not make a move, choosing to keep their team intact while they await several key players to return from injury.

Lonzo Ball (knee), Alex Caruso (wrist) and Patrick Williams (wrist) are all expected to return sometime in March.

"I dream about it every night, like being on a sunny beautiful island, that's how I picture it when we get back healthy," DeRozan said. "We gone get there. It sucks right now, but we got to weather it. It's going to come."