Bulls Insider

DeRozan set to face Nets as thigh injury improves


DeMar DeRozan practiced fully for the second straight day Thursday and no longer is listed on the Chicago Bulls' injury report in advance of their Friday home matchup with the Brooklyn Nets.

DeRozan missed the Bulls' final two games before the All-Star break with a thigh injury that he said has plagued him for weeks. But after playing non-taxing minutes in his sixth All-Star Game over the weekend and continuing treatment, DeRozan said the injury feels "a lot better."

DeRozan played in 53 of the Bulls' first 59 games.

"I should be good now," he said following Thursday's practice. "I was playing on it for awhile. It was very uncomfortable. I couldn't get lift on my shots. I couldn't move certain directions. I couldn't do a lot of things. I didn't really show it. But I felt it. (Thursday), I didn't feel any limitations doing anything, any moves. The lift on my shot felt great. I hit my first three shots in the All-Star Game, so that made me feel good."

The Bulls are riding a season-high, six-game losing streak and currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. They are two games outside of the play-in picture and three games behind the 8th-place Atlanta Hawks.

"Every one of these games, we gotta treat like a Game 7," DeRozan said of the team's mindset. "That has to be our mentality. We gotta stop talking. We've been talking all year about this, that and the third. 'We're right there, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.' But the reality of it is there are 23 games left. And we gotta treat every single game like win or go home. Because lord knows, I don't want to go home."

The Bulls added local product Patrick Beverley over the All-Star break, waiving reserve center Tony Bradley. One day after Zach LaVine endorsed the move, DeRozan applauded it as well.

But DeRozan knows Beverley alone can't solve the Bulls' inconsistency issues, which have featured the Bulls losing five games with leads of 16 points or more. They also lost to the Nets on Feb. 9 during this current losing streak, the night of the NBA trade deadline and a game in which Brooklyn played after dealing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant and without its full complement of players.

"We had too many spurts where we played 26, 28, 29, 30 minutes. But we just gotta leave it all out there every single game," DeRozan said. "We have to have that mentality like it's Game 7. We have to. Twenty-three games is not a lot of games. We have to take advantage of every single one."

The Bulls' offense has sputtered of late and currently sits 24th in the league based on offensive rating.

"You can't pick one side," DeRozan said. "Just go out and play basketball, compete. Understand what needs to be done. Be detail-oriented and execute. As long as the effort is there, playing hard, it don't matter if you make mistakes here and there. The game will turn in our way if we go out there with the right attitude and energy.

"Offensively, it's just us finding our rhythm and sticking with it. We have rhythm some games where it's a quarter, a third of the quarter, 6 minutes out of the quarter. We just have to stick with it. Especially understanding when teams are going to pick it up on us defensively and how we can take advantage of that. I think we give in and give teams too much credit when they get aggressive with us. We have to stay in attack mode. That's when we're at our best."

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