Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan received his second technical foul and was ejected with one second remaining in Friday’s loss at Toronto after having choice words with the Raptors’ bench.
As K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes, DeRozan was upset that Raptors forward Pascal Siakam attempted a three-pointer with three seconds remaining while Toronto was up 12 points and could have let the clock run out.
Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic told Bulls coach Billy Donovan after the game that they were focused on the point differential (for tiebreakers) during the in-season tournament contest, but Toronto had already been eliminated from the tournament when Orlando defeated Boston earlier in the day.
“I don’t care about no in-season tournament points, none of that. Just respect for the game,” DeRozan said. “If the roles was flip-flopped and I had the ball, hold it. It is what it is.”
“I mean, I knew that (they were eliminated),” DeRozan continued. “But I didn’t care about that either. Just everybody was yelling at him, ‘Score, score, score.’ Take the win. Get out of here. Like I said, if roles were reversed, needing in-season tournament points or not, just for the respect I have for my opponents, I hold the ball. Especially if there’s no shot clock. That’s just me.”
Of course, the bigger concern for the Bulls is the fact that they’re now 5-12, having lost three straight and six of their past seven games. According to Johnson, DeRozan was exasperated by the latest loss — he ripped a towel during a timeout and tore off his jersey after the ejection.
“I can’t fake it. I’m beyond frustrated. And I think it’s rightfully so as a competitor,” DeRozan said. “Everybody in this locker room is frustrated. It’s from a good place of being a competitor and wanting to figure it out that badly. Put a couple wins together. I really truly believe that can shift everything for us.
“… We gotta challenge ourselves. We can’t have those spiritual talks. We gotta challenge each other to leave it all the way out there. That’s a good thing to be challenged. Ask something of yourself more than you ever have at this point, myself included. That’s where we’re at.”
As we previously noted, things won’t get any easier for Chicago in the near future. The team has a really tough schedule over the next few weeks, so the Bulls will have to play much better to have a shot at turning their season around.