CHICAGO — Bulls guard DeMar DeRozan took issue with what he deemed to be an “excessive hit” from Milwaukee’s Grayson Allen during the third quarter of Chicago’s 119-113 overtime victory on Wednesday night.
With just under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, Allen was attempting to set a screen for Wesley Matthews when he got fouled by Bulls forward Patrick Williams. Allen’s momentum appeared to carry him into DeRozan, and Allen’s left forearm struck DeRozan in the back, knocking him to the ground.
After the whistle, DeRozan got to his feet and made a beeline for Allen before he was stopped by a pair of Bucks players.
“I just felt the hit,” said DeRozan, who finished with 42 points to help the Bulls rally after trailing by 15 points in the fourth quarter. “I just felt like I went across the middle in a football game, trying to catch a slot route and got hit.”
Williams was the only player whistled for a foul on the play, and Allen maintained afterward that the contact was incidental.
“I got pushed into the screen,” Allen told ESPN after the game. “I was trying to slip to the corner, and I ran into him.”
The Bulls have history with Allen dating back to this past January, when Allen’s flagrant 2 foul on Alex Caruso resulted in a fractured wrist and surgery for the Bulls guard that sidelined him for about two months. The sold-out crowd at the United Center still boos Allen each time he checks into the game or touches the ball, as it did Wednesday.
DeRozan was still upset minutes later with Allen’s play. As Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis went to the line for a pair of free throws, he and DeRozan exchanged words and drew double technical fouls.
“It’s his track record,” DeRozan said of Allen. “If it was Boban, I wouldn’t have did nothing. I didn’t know if it was on purpose or what happened, I just felt an excessive hit.”
DeRozan insisted afterward that the skirmish with Allen did not provide any extra motivation, but he turned it on for the rest of the game as the Bulls made an unlikely comeback. DeRozan scored 22 points following the incident, collecting a steal on an inbounds play with 7.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that led to a game-tying dunk to force overtime.
During the extra period, DeRozan scored 10 of the Bulls’ 13 points and dished out the assist on Nikola Vucevic‘s go-ahead 3-pointer.
“DeMar responded in the right way,” Bulls guard Zach LaVine said. “The next 20 minutes, you saw what happened.”
DeRozan finished with 42 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to overcome a dominant performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 45 points and grabbed 22 rebounds.
The Bulls trailed by 11 with 2:18 remaining before making their comeback, becoming just the sixth team in the past 20 seasons to win after trailing in that scenario, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. Teams were 5-12,535 entering Wednesday.
“We stuck with it and kept fighting until the last second,” DeRozan said. “We didn’t get rattled when we made some mistakes defensively. We stuck with it.
“We just showed a lot of resiliency and fight throughout the whole game.”