For as much as will be made of DeMar DeRozan‘s late-game heroics in the Chicago Bulls‘ latest win, make sure to pass credit onto Ayo Dosunmu, who smothered All-Star guard Trae Young on defense all game.
And give him credit for his offense, too. The rookie guard finished with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three blocks in the latest career performance for the 22-year old Dosunmu.
But it was this play on Young that put the exclamation point on Chicago’s late-game comeback win over Atlanta.
And yes, the NBA did credit this play as Dosunmu’s third block of the night.
That much could change by Friday morning when the NBA officiating releases their last two-minute report, but even if it does the point that stands is this:
On a night where Trae Young shot 3-of-17 from the field and 0-for-5 from behind-the-arc, rookie Ayo Dosunmu was his primary defender. And the Chicago Bulls walked out with a win.
What a game for the…checks notes…38th pick from last year’s draft.
Is he the steal of his class?
Perhaps that question is better suited for the offseason. Because right now, this team is in the middle of a historic stretch from the win’s MVP, DeMar DeRozan.
Dosunmu on DeRozan: ‘We’re Witnessing History’
DeMar DeRozan’s last seven games prior to the NBA’s All-Star break: 45 points, 38 points, 36 points, 35 points, 38 points, 40 points, and 38 points.
And he scored 37 against Atlanta.
That gives the Chicago Bulls a 6-2 record over their last eight, and he’s scored 35+ in all of them…
…and makes DeMar DeRozan just the seventh player in NBA history (via ESPN) to record such a streak:
He’s now just two games with 35+ or more points shy of Michael Jordan’s franchise record. Pretty good.
And his latest performance earned him a heap of praise (via @KCJHoop on Twitter) following the Bulls’ 39th win:
But it was Thursday night’s sub-star of the night for Chicago that may have provided the greatest response (via @DarnellMayberry on Twitter) when asked about DeRozan’s current, otherworldly stretch:
We’re witnessing history. What we are witnessing right now is something that people are going to remember for a long time. It’s one of those things that’s going to be a record for a pretty long time.
Yet this isn’t the first shot Ayo Dosunmu called on Thursday night.
No, his first came earlier, in the final moments of the Chicago Bulls’ victory.
Dosunmu Asked to Guard Young in Final Moments
Unequivocally the best nuggets to come out of the Chicago Bulls’ postgame availability following this win, are the details surrounding the final defensive play from Ayo Dosunmu on Trae Young:
The rookie guard offered to guard an Eastern Conference All-Star in the final moments of a close game, over Javonte Green, who hit two free throws with seconds remaining to seal the victory.
As NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson notes above, that is the veteran approach for someone who’s played 54 NBA games to Green’s 131, and more importantly Young’s 257.
Say what you want about the injuries the Chicago Bulls have suffered this season.
But if they’ve done nothing for a team that’s won 39 games (!!!) despite it all, they’ve allowed rookie Ayo Dosunmu a front-row seat and contributing role on a team that’s currently leading their conference with 22 games to go.
That’s not something a lot of rookies get.
And that definitely isn’t something that rookies, selected in the second-round, rarely get. But he’s delivered.
Seemingly each and every time.