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On January 1, 2018, DeMar DeRozan showed off the full package as he cooked the Milwaukee Bucks for a career-high 52 points. Amit Mann looks back at the notable moments from a thrilling night for the Toronto Raptors' all-time leading scorer.
AMIT MANN: You all remember when DeMar dropped 52 points on the Bucks?
- How sweet is that?
AMIT MANN: In his final season with the Toronto Raptors, DeMar was asked to shoot less and pass more. But there were a few games where it was buckets on buckets on buckets on buckets.
- Another 3. Got it.
AMIT MANN: Like on January 1, 2018 where he had a career high, 52 points on the Milwaukee Bucks. Let's watch this. So DeMar got off to a hot start outscoring the Bucks 9-nothing to start the game, dropping 21 points in the first quarter, and hitting three of his five trades in the first 12 minutes.
AMIT MANN: You could really tell he was feeling it with a few of the shots that he hit. This one on Brogdon.
- Whoa, oh.
- Took a shot and it goes.
AMIT MANN: And this 3 over a very, very, very tall Thon Maker.
- From the zoo.
AMIT MANN: He was threading the needle too with three assists. The Bucks didn't have anyone to stop DeMar DeRozan. And they learned that in 2017 playoffs. And for some reason, the first quarter, they're like let's go with single coverage. And DeMar is like, OK, bet.
- DeMar, left hand, whoa.
- [LAUGHS] Who's rolling right now?
AMIT MANN: Six players on the Bucks had at least three fouls in this game. And look at the breakdown of who DeMar DeRozan scored on. Everybody was food for him. Like Brogdon, food. Middleton, food. Bledsoe, food. Food, food.
- [CHUCKLES] Oh yeah, it is [BLEEPS].
AMIT MANN: In the third quarter, the Bucks looked to get the ball out of DeMars hands. They were trapping him on high screens. And DeMar did a good job of finding his teammates. And he hit his final 3 of the game.
- DeRozan from deep.
AMIT MANN: This was the only season in DeMar's career where he averaged over three trades a game. Then he went to San Antonio. And Pop was like stop doing that. Now in Chicago, he's up to two a game, hitting 35% of his 3's. Not bad. All right, so DeMar had 35 points heading into the fourth quarter. And then he checked in with seven minutes remaining. And at that point, the midi could not be stopped.
And this shot against Giannis was particularly dope. Giannis wants him to drive. He's giving him a path to the basket. And DeMar uses that with a little hesitation move to freeze Giannis, rises up, splash. After this basket, the Bucks won a 7-2 and were on the verge of a 6-point lead late in the game until--
- [INAUDIBLE]. And DeRozan and the foul. He's got 41.
AMIT MANN: Man, what a swing. I miss the hell out of Serge Ibaka. The Bucks were still in double DeMar mode. And he made them pay on this possession to find the groat for a wide open 3. DeMar tied the game again at 114-114 after bully balling Eric Bledsoe and almost converting on this and one. Had he made that, the Raptors may have won this game in regulation, and DeMar would not have gotten to 52 points.
But off to OT, DeMar is at 44. He achieved a new career high with this tough bucket. No foul on the play. OK, ref.
- Drives all sorts of content.
AMIT MANN: This gave him 46 points. And DeMar actually had four 40-point games in the 2017, 2018 season. Yes, he was passing more and shooting less and he took 3 less shots per game, but there were a few occasions where he had to remind people that, yes, I am that guy. I am that gifted. From here on out, it's essentially the Khris Middleton low light show. First, DeMar hits him with this pretty sidestep from just inside the 3-point line.
Now it becomes a game again after Khris makes a nice pass out of the post. But we all know Kyle does not need help down there. And that's why [INAUDIBLE] was pissed. But back to Middleton, he was so shook from the previous one on one possession with DeMar. So what he do fouls him on a long two. Boom. DeMar is at 50. Next time down the floor, Middleton's like, give me the ball in the post against Lowry. And well--
- Brogdon finds Middleton guarded by Lowry. Under two minutes remaining here in overtime. 3 on the clock.
- That's great defense [INAUDIBLE].
AMIT MANN: Kyle's like I told you. And Kyle was not done with him. The Bucks are still doubling DeMar. Raps get them in rotation. And who does Kyle beat for a layup? James Christian Middleton.
- Layup is good.
AMIT MANN: Kyle is talking that talk. Middleton is rattled. DeMar hits two free throws, a perfect 13 for 13 from the line.
- DeMar DeRozan, a Raptor record.
AMIT MANN: And there you have it, 52 points for DeMar DeRozan. And shouts to photographer Rick Madonik for giving us these iconic photos at this precise moment and JV for following it up with this in the locker room.
DeMar DeRozan love league wide is an all time high right now. And after years of putting his scoring prowess on the side in favor of playmaking, he's putting up 19 shots a game on 49% shooting and is one of six players in the NBA averaging at least 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
- Holy cow.
AMIT MANN: Not to mention he's in game winners like every other day, and the Bulls are number one in the East. And he's about to be named to his fifth all-star team in his beautiful under-appreciated game showing no signs of slowing down. So shouts for DeMar. And hopefully, in the near future, we see a new career high.