CHICAGO – Demar DeRozan did his best to lead the Chicago Bulls to a much-needed victory.
The only error in the second end of the rule came. He missed a potential go-ahead free throw after tying the first two.
In the end, it doesn’t matter.
DeRozan scored a season-high 50 points and Chicago rallied Thursday night to beat the 135-130 Los Angeles Clippers in overtime.
DeRozan has finished two points shy of his career. The five-time All-Star scored 17 in the fourth quarter and completed his missed foul shot with 10 more in overtime.
“It looked like a bomb had exploded inside my head,” he said. “Disappointed with myself.”
DeRozan blocked a missed free throw and helped the Bulls to victory after trailing by 16 runs in the third period.
Chicago, which has led the Eastern Conference for a large part of the season, is one-half ahead of sixth-placed Toronto with five remaining. The Bulls are trying to stay in the top six to avoid the play-in rounds in the post season.
Nikola Vusevich added 22 points and 14 rebounds. Zach LaVine scored 21 as the Bulls won for the third time in four games.
Reggie Jackson led Los Angeles with 34 points.
Paul George scored 22 runs in his second game after missing for three months due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He played 32 minutes and sat overtime.
Marcus Morris Sr. added 20 points and Nicholas Bottom scored 17. But the Clippers – eighth in the West – have lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Clippers coach Tyrone noticed a difference in Louis Bulls’ defense when Chicago rallied.
“They’ve picked their defensive intensity,” he said. ‘I thought they did a good job with it. We took some bad shots, I thought, instead of continuing the game the way we were playing during that stretch. “
Chicago led by four in overtime when Luke Kennard hit 3 with 1:12 left for Los Angeles. Patrick Williams answered with his own one, 129-125 with just one minute left.
Jackson then converted two foul shots for the Clippers before DeRozan converted two to make it 131-127.
Williams rebounded a missed drive from Jackson, giving DeRozan two more free throws which turned it into a six-point game. Jackson gave up a 3 nail to cut 133-130 with five seconds left.
After the Bulls’ timeout, DeRozan grabbed the inbound pass and sealed a wild win for Chicago and drove for Dunk.
The Clippers saw their lead shrink to the fourth and it bounced back to 11 with about five minutes left before the Bulls gave another push.
Los Angeles was 118-115 ahead with seven seconds left as per the rules when Terrence Mann was called for a foul from the ball in an inbound game after a timeout. This led to a free throw for DeRozan who cut it in two and took possession of Chicago.
Derozan then fouled George in a 3-point attempt with 3.5 seconds left. He hit the first two foul shots to tie at 118 and missed the third, sending the game into extra time.
Clipper: Bottom (left ankle pain) and Morris (left knee pain) played well after being listed as suspicious.
Bulls: DeRozan has 2,019 points, the second time he has scored 2,000 in a single season. He is the first Bulls player since Derrick Rose had 2,026 points in the 2010-11 MVP season. … The G-Longzo ball (left knee) will start sprinting at full speed and will start cutting again after a 10-day break due to discomfort, says coach Billy Donovan. How the ball responds will determine when – or if – he will return this season. The ball underwent surgery in January to repair a torn meniscus. “I didn’t get anything from the doctors who told me, ‘Listen, there’s not enough time. We can’t bring him back. ‘ They will do their best to bring him back, “Donovan said. Chicago closed the regular season in Minnesota on April 10. … Williams said he was late for the morning shoot and the team fined him. He played a season-high 36:49 in his seventh game after being sidelined late.
Clippers: Visit Milwaukee on Friday.
Bulls: Miami host on Saturday.