DeMar DeRozan is going through a basketball renaissance in the Eastern Conference Finals. DeRozan stumbled through the first two rounds of the playoffs posting some horribly inefficient shooting numbers, including a 10-for-22 line in Game 7 against the Indiana Pacers in the first round and a 4-for-17 effort in Game 4 against the Miami Heat in the conference semifinals. Overall, DeRozan shot just 31 and 38 percent in the first and second rounds, respectively, consistently firing up mid-range jumpers that simply weren’t falling.
That all changed in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Through four games, DeRozan is shooting a blazing 52 percent from the field, and he’s coming off his finest performance yet in Game 4—32 points on 14-of-23 shooting. Inefficient no more.
He dropped 32 points in Game 3 as well, but that wasn’t enough to stop him from getting back in the gym the following day and putting up shots until 1 a.m. to prepare for that crucial Game 4.
DeRozan put up close to 1,000 shots on Sunday night, spurred by the strong suspicion that the Cavs would assign LeBron James to guard him and try and slow him down. DeRozan guessed correctly. James did indeed cover DeRozan for most of Game 4, but nothing could stop DeRozan from hitting shot after shot.
Hard work pays off, especially when it’s before one of the biggest games of your career. DeRozan’s late night workout is prime evidence of that.