By ANDREW SELIGMAN – AP sportswriter
CHICAGO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan made enough big shots on the track to keep his record-breaking run going and Chicago’s winning streak intact.
DeRozan scored 37 points while extending an NBA-record streak and the leading Eastern Conference Bulls were crushed by the Atlanta Hawks 112-108 Thursday night.
DeRozan surpassed his league mark of at least 35 points while scoring 50% or more in eight straight games. The five-time All-Star made 15 of 21 shots and had five points in the last minute, helping the Bulls rally from three points to win their sixth straight win.
“You love it and you hate it,” he said. “Obviously you don’t want to be down and have that pressure on yourself trying to pull a game out. But when you’re in those moments, you have to embrace it. I love the moments, I love the challenge, I love the opportunity.”
DeRozan also made it nine straight games with 30 points or more, the longest such streak by a Bulls player since Michael Jordan did it in 10 straight games from December 25, 1990 to January 14, 1991.
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Zach LaVine scored 20 points after missing the final three games before the All-Star break due to a diseased left knee. The high-flying guard had platelet-rich plasma therapy, a cortisone shot and fluids off in Los Angeles last week in hopes the treatment will help him get through the rest of the season.
Nikola Vucevic added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Tristan Thompson made a lift off the bench with 11 points and six rebounds on his Bulls debut. And Chicago moved east a half game ahead of idle Miami.
BOGDANOVIC, GALLINARI SHINE
Atlanta’s Bogdan Bogdanovic posted a season-high with 27 points and hit one with five 3-pointers. Danilo Gallinari scored 26 points and Clint Capela finished the tournament with 14 points and 17 rebounds.
Trae Young had a tough game, making just 3 shots out of 17 while missing all five 3-pointers. The two-time All-Star finished the tournament with 14 points and 10 assists.
“I just felt like I couldn’t get a shot and I pushed for it,” Young said. “Every time I shot, I really thought about it and just didn’t shoot.”
The Bulls were down 108-105 when Atlanta was called out for a shot clock violation with 58 seconds remaining. But with DeRozan in the lead, they clinched the narrow win.
“We are witnesses to history,” said rookie Ayo Dosunmu. “What we are witnessing right now is something that people will remember for a long time. And it’s one of those things that’s going to be a record for quite a while.”
DeRozan hit a pull-up jumper. Dosunmu blocked Young’s driver as the crowd shouted “Defense! Defense!”
DeRozan was then fouled by Bogdanovic while nailing a turnaround fallaway jumper. He hit the free throw to complete the three-point game and put Chicago ahead 110-108 with 15.1 seconds remaining.
Bogdanovic missed a 3, and Javonte Green hit two free throws for the Bulls to make it a four-point game with 4.5 seconds left.
“Too much DeRozan,” said Hawks coach Nate McMillan.
Hawks: The Hawks struggled with 3 pointers and free throws, going 8 of 28 from beyond the arc and 18 of 27 at the foul line. … F De’Andre Hunter missed the second half due to illness. …F John Collins (distorted right foot) missed his fourth straight game. … G Lou Williams played just under 12 minutes after being ruled questionable with a strain in his left Achilles tendon. … F/C Gorgui Dieng (due to personal reasons) missed the game.
Bulls: Thompson played 13:14 in his first game since signing with Chicago last week. The Veterans Center was ceded by Indiana after it was acquired by Sacramento on February 8 in the deal that sent Domantas Sabonis to the Kings. … LaVine doesn’t have a minute limit, at least for now, although he could rest if the Bulls play back-to-back nights, coach Billy Donovan said. … Donovan said the Bulls have not yet decided whether F. Patrick Williams (torn left wrist ligaments) will come off the bench once he is ready to return. The sophomore was injured and required surgery on Oct. 28 against the New York Knicks. …Jordan holds the franchise record of 11 straight games with 30 or more points from February 13 to March 4, 1987.
Hawks: host Toronto on Saturday night.
Bulls: host Memphis on Saturday night.
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