Basketball: DeMar DeRozan channels the spirit of MJ to set new mark

The Milwaukee Bucks had no answer for DeMar DeRozan's 52 points as the Toronto Raptors guard made franchise history.
The Milwaukee Bucks had no answer for DeMar DeRozan's 52 points as the Toronto Raptors guard made franchise history.PHOTO: REUTERS

TORONTO • DeMar DeRozan spent New Year's Day watching old footage of Michael Jordan and putting in a performance the former Chicago Bulls star would have been proud of.

He scored a team-record 52 points as the Toronto Raptors won their 12th straight National Basketball Association (NBA) home game with a 131-127 overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.

The shooting guard went 17 of 29 from the floor and made all 13 of his free throw attempts for Toronto, who are a league-best 14-1 at home. He is the third Toronto player in history to score 50 or more points, joining Vince Carter and Terrence Ross, who each scored 51.

"I remember being a kid and wishing to be in moments like that," said DeRozan of Game Six of the 1998 NBA Finals, when Jordan's late jump shot helped the Bulls defeat the Utah Jazz for their sixth title in eight seasons. "When you come out here and you're in those moments, you've got to make the best out of them."

The three-time NBA All-Star also had five three-pointers, while Kyle Lowry tallied 26 points and Serge Ibaka chipped in 11 for the Raptors (25-10) at the Air Canada Centre arena.

"He's dangerous any time he puts on a uniform," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said of DeRozan. "Now to be able to expand his range out to the three-point line just makes the game easier for him."

Eric Bledsoe scored 29 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 for the Bucks (19-16).

Milwaukee had their two-game win streak halted in the match-up between the two Eastern Conference play-off first-round opponents from last season.

DeRozan hit a jump shot in overtime to give Toronto a 121-117 lead. His basket came just moments after Fred VanVleet gave the Raptors the lead for good by nailing a three-pointer.

The 28-year-old's previous career high was 45 points against the Philadelphia 76ers last month.

"Tonight, DeMar DeRozan played like a superstar," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2018, with the headline 'DeRozan channels the spirit of MJ to set new mark'. Print Edition | Subscribe