Someone get the fire extinguisher out because DeMar DeRozan was absolutely scorching hot on the offensive end all night at the Air Canada Centre.
The Compton-native opened up 2018 with a bang, setting a new Raptors franchise record with 52 points in Toronto’s 131-127 overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Check out the rest of his incredible stat line:
52 points (17/29 FG, 5/9 3-pointers), 13/13 FTs, 8 assists, 5 rebounds
You can bet that Sports Illustrated author Rob Mahoney is going to rank DeRozan a whole lot higher in the magazine’s preseason top 100 player rankings next time around.
If you recall, Mahoney controversially ranked DeRozan as the 36th best talent in the league. In his evaluation of the shooting guard, Mahoney referenced his tendency to over-dribble, reluctance to take 3-pointers, and poor playoff showings as evidence to support the ranking, something DeRozan didn’t take kindly to.
Since then, DeRozan has made Mahoney eat his words, seemingly fixing all of the supposed shortcomings in his game from seasons past. Because of his team’s new-look pace-and-space offence, and plenty of reps in the gym when no one’s watching, the Raptors star now confidently shoots 3-pointers and gets teammates involved more than he ever has.
DeRozan’s career night helped improve his club’s home record to an NBA-best 14-1. It’s the Raptors best start at home through 15 games in franchise history. Better yet, Monday’s win helped extend Toronto’s home winning streak to a franchise-high 12 games.
The Raptors look to keep the good times rolling on Wednesday against the Bulls.
Also, it’s worth noting that DeRozan and the Raptors face the Bucks in a rematch on Friday.