DeRozan's historic February earns him East Player of Month

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DeMar DeRozan had his history-making month rewarded on Thursday, when the NBA named him the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February.

DeRozan averaged 34.2 points — a mark which ranked first in the conference — 6.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and posted 55.3/40/87.7 shooting splits in 13 February games, leading the perennially shorthanded Chicago Bulls to an 8-5 record. Gaudy figures, to be sure. 

As for the history? Between Feb. 6 and 24, DeRozan scored 35 or more points on 50 percent or better shooting eight consecutive games, breaking a nearly 60-year-old record of seven held by Wilt Chamberlain. Between Feb. 4 and 26, DeRozan also posted 10 straight 30-point games, the longest streak of his career and just one game short of tying Michael Jordan’s Bulls record.

So, yes. It was quite a month.

That DeRozan did all of the above on monstrously efficient shooting — he shot 61.9 percent during the 35-point-on-50-percent-shooting streak — and while shouldering heavy usage for a Bulls team that played the entire month without Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, plus five games without Zach LaVine, is all the more impressive.

“He’s been remarkable,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said of DeRozan. “Just his poise, his ability to come back night in and night out and play. His ability to manipulate the game and get to areas of the floor that he wants to get to and get to shots that he feels very comfortable taking.

“And I think just his overall presence, his consistency not only as a player but as a person has been really important to our team.”

DeRozan is the fifth Bull to earn Player of the Month honors, and first since Jimmy Butler in October/November 2014. Michael Jordan won the award 16 times, while Scottie Pippen and Derrick Rose each won two.

It’s DeRozan’s fourth career Player of the Month nod. He’s also won three Player of the Weeks during the 2021-22 season.

And February’s field was no cakewalk. DeRozan narrowly beat out close contenders in Joel Embiid — who averaged 32.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists with a 6-4 record — and Giannis Antetokounmpo — who averaged 32.1 points, 12.2 rebounds and seven assists with a 6-3 record — for Eastern Conference Player of the Month. Luka Dončić took home the title out West.

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