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10 observations: DeMar DeRozan's massive night lifts Bulls past Pacers in OT

10 observations: DeMar DeRozan's massive night lifts Bulls past Pacers in OT originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

INDIANAPOLIS --- The Chicago Bulls outlasted the Indiana Pacers 132-129 in overtime Wednesday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

"We knew that (Monday's) Dallas (blowout loss) wasn't who we want to be and wasn't who we have been at all," Ayo Dosunmu said. "We wanted to put that game behind us. And this was a crucial game."

Here are 10 observations:

---DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 46 points and made virtually every big play down the stretch. Not only did he force overtime with a baseline jumper, he also gave up the ball late in overtime when trapped. One pass led to an Ayo Dosunmu layup and another off extra ball movement led to a Torrey Craig layup off an Alex Caruso assist.

"I give Ayo a lot of credit," coach Billy Donovan said. "It was a two-point game and he made a really good slot drive downhill and made a layup. Alex made a great play to find Torrey along the baseline. Guys have to step up and make plays. It can't just be DeMar. And he knows that."

---A painful sequence in multiple ways occurred in the waning seconds. Coby White chased down a long rebound of a missed 3-pointer and sprinted off to try to score the go-ahead transition layup. Pascal Siakam blocked it hard from behind and then landed on White, who writhed on the floor in obvious pain. White then limped badly to the locker room.

Postgame, Donovan said White suffered a hip injury and will undergo further testing in Chicago. White, who wasn't available to reporters, was in good spirits in the postgame locker room, laughing with teammates.

After Aaron Nesmith sank both free throws, the Pacers intentionally fouled DeRozan, who made the first free throw with 3.8 seconds left and missed the second intentionally. When the Pacers tipped the rebound out of bounds, DeRozan promptly buried a tough baseline jumper off the inbounds to force the Bulls' NBA-leading 10th overtime game. They are 7-3 in overtime games.

"I give the guys a lot of credit in that situation," Donovan said. "They had a foul to give. They took it. We had a play on. And those guys know there are things we can go to when we're out of timeouts and a team has a foul to give. And we went to it. And I thought DeMar did an unbelievable job reading the defense. He kind of faked coming off the high side and was able to get down to the corner and give himself some space. It's just his IQ and feel for the game."

On the stellar overtime record, Donovan said obviously DeRozan is an elite closer but also that other players "lean into making plays" in crunch time.

---With his 16th point, DeMar DeRozan passed Elgin Baylor for 34th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. With his 32nd point, DeRozan passed his close friend, Dwyane Wade. And with his 42nd point, he passed Adrian Dantley for 32nd on the all-time list. DeRozan recently talked to NBC Sports Chicago about passing idols and players he grew up respecting as a fan of the history of the league. DeRozan posted his 10th 30-point game this season.

---The Bulls tied Golden State and Atlanta for most clutch games played this season with 38. They have played the most clutch minutes. And they own the most clutch victories with 23.

---Alex Caruso scored a season-high 23 points, his first 20-point game since Nov. 27, 2021. Caruso scored 14 points in the third as the Bulls erased a four-point halftime deficit to take an eight-point lead into the fourth. Caruso sank a season-high-tying five 3-pointers, including four in the third.

Caruso also added seven rebounds and seven assists, including the huge one late to Craig.

---The Bulls’ reserves lost the bench scoring battle for the 15th straight game. Not since the Feb. 6 home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves have the Bulls enjoyed an advantage in this department. Part of this is due to roles changing with the season-ending injuries to Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams. Part of this is the youth; Onuralp Bitim served as the sixth man against the Pacers.

---Dosunmu’s first rotational turn featured nine points and primary defense first against Pascal Siakam and then against Tyrese Haliburton. Dosunmu cedes at least four inches to Siakam but did yeoman’s work keeping him off the offensive boards early.

"It's tough. He's 6-9 and I'm 6-5. It's all about toughness," Dosunmu said. "It's just competing and boxing him out."

Dosunmu finished with 20 points and two blocks.

---White continued his career-best season from 3-point range, passing Zach LaVine for the third-most 3-pointers in a single season. LaVine previously held the top-four seasons in franchise history. White needs 14 to pass LaVine’s second-highest total and 19 to set the single-season franchise record. White said such an achievement would be “dope.”

---DeRozan attempted double-digit free throws for the third time this month. DeRozan entered the night fourth in both makes and attempts from the charity stripe.

---Jevon Carter didn't play by coach's decision, falling behind Dalen Terry in the rotation. That's Carter's fourth DNP-CD this season. But he was the first player up off the bench on every timeout, greeting teammates as they came off the court.

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