DeMar DeRozan has had a rebirth in Chicago

DeMar DeRozan was a top-notch player when playing in Toronto for 9 seasons, he was scoring almost 20 a night playing for the Raptors – and then he ramped it up and took his scoring ability to the next level – when he played for San Antonio at the age of 29. When he played for the Spurs from 2018 to 2020 he was their best player putting up 22 and 6 dimes every night, he actually has been getting better with age, like a fine wine. The guy has scored 20 or more pts / game in a season since 2013, and he is extremely durable. He has been the X-Factor for the Chicago Bulls so far this season.

Derozan has shown to be one of the best mid-range shooters in the game today, he can take players off the dribble and is also very dangerous off of the screen. With a career scoring average of 20.5 / game, and a career shooting percentage of 46%. With a sweet stroke and great timing – which is the reason why he’s been hitting 48% or better of his shots for the last 4 seasons. He has the ability to knock down 4 or 5 shots in a row especially when the team needs it, which is a great way to kickstart a team when not playing as well as expected.

When he arrived in Chicago he was automatically being put into position with another very good talent in 26 yr old Zach LaVine. Now, LaVine is a very good scorer but just hasn’t shown to have the leadership ability that a veteran like Derozan brings to the team. The Bulls were not able to get past 31 wins with LaVine being their team leader. Don’t get me wrong, LaVine is a very good young player – a guy who is easily able to score 30 or more on any given night – but he hasn’t shown to have the ability to lead. Now with DeRozan added to the lineup it gives them a legit leader with a guy who can score at seemingly any moment to help them win the games that need a little extra. Giving the Bulls 2 explosive scoring options to a team that is sitting at 7th in the NBA in scoring /game – where they were only at 21st last season.

Chicago has not won 43 or more games in 7 years, they have lacked team unity and excitement for quite some time. They will be tough once the NBA Playoffs begin.
DeRozan now hopes that they can become legitimate contenders for the Eastern Conference Championship again, and I firmly believe that they are in serious contention for the Conference title, Chicago hasn’t found itself in legit contention since 2014. DeRozan brings them the veteran leadership and a smooth and easy scoring game to bring them to the next level – they have shown that they have the game to play with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference. This team has played excellently this year. They absolutely have the team that can make it to the Conference Championship.

If you’re not paying attention to this Chicago team this year – you better start.

The NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are in full
swing, which means overall the better teams are battling each other. This is
different from the regular season when many nights great teams are playing bad
teams and bad teams are playing worse one. Astute sports bettors should pay very
careful attention to blowouts.

For instance, after losing Game 1 at the
Lakers a year ago, 103-88, the Nuggets covered in a close one in Game 2,
104-100, by changing strategy and going uptempo in the second half. They got
beat on the glass in the first game, but showcased more low post hustle in Game
2 where they outrebounded the taller Lakers.

That’s nothing new. Two
years ago the Lakers blew out the Hornets in Game 3, 100-86, then the a
different New Orleans club showed up the next game, winning straight up as a +5
dog. Three years ago after losing Game 1, the Celtics stunned the Cavaliers in
Game 2, 104-86, at Cleveland as an underdog. At one point they led 91-66. A big
part of the story was Rasheed Wallace, who had been called out by Coach Doc
Rivers after a lousy opener, but added 17 points off the bench.

Incensed, the Cavaliers had a few days to stew about the embarrassing
home defeat, then went to Boston for Game 3 and blew out the Celtics, 124-95. It
was Boston’s worst home playoff defeat in history and the Cavs shot 59%. The
fans booed when Boston left the court at halftime down 65-43. Series over? No.
Boston then won the next three games, including a blowout of their own, 120-88
with Cleveland fans booing their team!

Overall, blowouts are less
expected this time of the year. Oddsmakers are anticipating that the majority of
teams want to be here and will play all out for 48 minutes keeping things
relatively close.

This year’s Hawks/Pacers series is a good example.
Indiana destroyed Atlanta in the first two games, 107-90 and 113-98, only to get
blown out in Game 3, a 90-69 Hawks rout. What happened in Game 2 meant nothing
in predicting Game 3. It wasn’t just home court that turned the trick but some
subtle changes. The Hawks changed up their lineup — inserting 7-footer Johan
Petro at center and bringing 3-point specialist Kyle Korver off the bench —
after getting manhandled on the road. With more favorable matchups and a lot
more energy, Atlanta looked like a different team.

Playoff teams have
some talent or star players, which also makes closer, more competitive games
likely, especially as the playoffs move along. Still, one-sided games can happen
for a variety of reasons. Seven years ago the Spurs positively trashed the Kings
in Game 1, 122-88. The stats on the game were frightening, with San Antonio
shooting 57% and holding the Kings to 39%, while winning the battle of the
boards 51-32.

However, a funny thing happened in Game 2: the Kings
showed up. They showed up with a vengeance, too, taking the Spurs to overtime
before a wild 128-119 loss, though the angry dog still covered. Public
perception can be such that many were thinking the Spurs were going to destroy
the Kings even worse in Game 2. However, the veteran Kings were embarrassed and
angry. A very different team showed up for Game 2, one that was motivated by the
blowout.

The point is, don’t easily dismiss teams that get routed. If
they have talent, are well coached, or have strong leadership, they can bounce
back and look like a very different team the next game. Another factor to
consider is defense. Many teams that make the postseason know how to play
defense and in a blowout loss, perhaps a team simply had a bad defensive game.
Or, the opponent was doing something that they couldn’t adjust to. Though after
watching game films, adjustments are made, which is why they can look very
different.

Adjustments and motivation can spur a team in a bounce-back
role, as well as the fact that they simply had a bad game. Even handicappers
have to learn not to overanalyze certain situations. The important point is not
too read too much into a single, one-sided game. The playoffs only increase
competitive fire and passion with teams facing each other over and over again,
making adjustments and revenge spots even more acute. You may recall the NBA
Finals seven years ago, when two blowouts were followed by close nail-biters,
with the dog covering. Dallas won Game 2, 99-85, but the next game Miami won by
a basket. In Game 4, the Heat rolled by 24 points, only to see Game 5 go into
overtime and decided by one point.

One season the Celtics danced all
over the Pacers in a 102-82 Game 1 rout. Boston players made foolish comments
after the game about how they were already thinking about advancing to the next
round! In Game 2, a very different Indiana team showed up in an 82-79 win as a
road underdog. They eventually won the series, too. Every dog can have his day
in the NBA playoffs, so be careful: one-sided blowouts can be very different the
next encounter.

Written by Jim Feist of VegasTopDogs.com