DeMar DeRozan’s NYE heave exemplifies why these Bulls are special

Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Year’s Eve heave. It didn’t take long for Zach LaVine to give DeMar DeRozan’s incredible buzzer-beating game-winner for the Chicago Bulls a nickname.

Despite the big three of LaVine, DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic shooting a combined 21-57, (DeRozan himself being 8-24) the Bulls wildly pulled one out at Gainbridge Fieldhouse 108-106 vs the Pacers in what looked like a Bulls home game at times with all of the red jerseys in attendance.

It was a special ending to a calendar 2021 year for the Bulls that seemed to promise an even more special 2022 for the team.

There are so many ways in which this Bulls team has been so special this season. They beat the Brooklyn Nets twice, saw success on a tough west coast trip, and have found ways to come back in games numerous times. As the 2022 calendar year kicks off, they sit at the top spot in the Eastern Conference, something no one saw coming.

DeMar DeRozan shows off some magic for the Chicago Bulls on NYE

A crazy one-legged shot to win a game the Bulls seemed to have no business winning exemplified why this Bulls team has been so special. Just when you think they are out of a game, they negate that by fighting all 48 minutes. In the end, after all that fight, DeRozan heaved an incredible game-winner in a play where he didn’t even realize how much time remained.

In just under half a season we’ve witnessed so much from this Bulls team. Stifling defense from Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, fourth-quarter heroics from DeRozan and LaVine, and the next man up mentality from one of the first teams to get swamped by health and safety protocols.

The energy of Javonte Green and Derrick Jones Jr. who have etched the Stacey King nickname “Chi Slama Jama”, plus the newest re-addition of Coby White’s scoring punch is helping this team find even more depth.

It’s been sweet watching the Bulls prove so many doubters wrong, from ESPN’s Nick Friedell predicting the Bulls win a measly 31 games, to the infamous Bleacher Report article Bulls twitter loves to poke fun of for having DeRozan as the worst signing of the offseason.

But it’s not just the results that show why this team has been so special to watch. The character and bond this team seems to have on the court together despite having an almost completely different roster from last season are what is helping them win games. The entire team trusts each other from top to bottom and with that trust has come fun winning basketball.

Even taking a look at DeMar’s game-winner, all of his teammates mobbed him with joy, including the Bulls’ newest addition who barely just joined the roster in Jordan Bell.

There’s no telling just how far this Bulls team can go. Can they be the Phoenix Suns of last season, surprising everyone by reaching the Finals? Does this team have what it takes to bring the franchise back to NBA glory? We still have to see the Bulls face a few more tests like the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks, but one thing is for certain.

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From the starters to the bench mob to the 15th man, this entire Bulls team has a lot of heart. It’s been a long time since we watched a Bulls team that is not only this good but also has the passion and chemistry on the court together. Bulls fans should be in for a very special 2022 and beyond.