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Bulls' DeMar DeRozan on late-game heroics: ‘I'm not scared to fail'

Bulls' DeMar DeRozan on late-game heroics: ‘I'm not scared to fail' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

INDIANAPOLIS --- DeMar DeRozan was poised to share with reporters his mindset entering overtime Wednesday night, saying he told Jevon Carter what he was about to do.

Then DeRozan saw Carter, sitting next door at the neighboring locker. So DeRozan asked Carter to share with reporters what he told him instead.

"He said he was gonna go crazy," Carter said.

That DeRozan did, making virtually every big decision down the stretch, even those leading to a teammate making a big play.

In the same Gainbridge Fieldhouse where DeRozan sank a ridiculous, one-legged, buzzer-beating 3-pointer on New Year's Eve 2021, the veteran closer scored the first eight points in overtime and finished with a season-high 46 points in the Chicago Bulls' 132-129 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

"He's a bad man," Andre Drummond said.

DeRozan scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including a difficult game-tying baseline jumper with 0.3 seconds left in regulation after he expertly missed the second of two free throws intentionally with 3.8 seconds left. He then added nine points in the extra session, giving up the ball in the final minute when the Pacers blatantly trapped him.

Ayo Dosunmu scored on a layup on one of those possessions and Torrey Craig on another after DeRozan found Alex Caruso with a pocket pass.

"I was just trying to get a good miss on it," DeRozan said of his intentionally missed free throw, one of only two misses in 17 trips to the line. "Especially with 'Dre (Drummond) and Vooch (Nikola Vucevic) in there."

DeRozan is now third in the NBA in fourth-quarter points and first in overtime points.

"It's like a survival mode that kicks in in a fun way," DeRozan said. "I'm not scared to fail. I'm not scared to try to make something happen. I want those moments more than anything. I always reminds me of my childhood and doing the little fakedown, jumping on the bed and fake-shooting the shot. As a competitor, those moments are ones I relish."

DeRozan said he broke the play off that led to his baseline jumper. He was supposed to come over the top of the screen but read the defense and just found an opening.

On his giving up the ball late, DeRozan said he always trusts his teammates.

"It gives us an advantage when they trap me," he said.

And the Bulls' advantage comes when they play clutch games and DeRozan has the ball. The Bulls now lead the NBA in clutch victories and are 7-3 in overtime. They've played the most overtime games in the NBA.

"Me being a student of the game, I've seen the wildest outcomes," DeRozan said. "I always keep that in mind. Anything is possible. It's not over until the time runs out. Whenever we're in a situation like that, I always think of this could be another situation where something wild could happen in our favor and stick with it."

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