It’s been 30 years since an NBA player scored 30+ plus in each of the first five games of the regular season like Micheal Jordan did back in November of 1986 when the legend did it in his first six of the season. But on Friday night at the Air Canada Centre Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan seemed to score 34 points on the HEAT with relative ease for his fifth straight 30+ point scoring night in five games and only the Sacramento Kings on Sunday stand in his way of making it six in a row.
So far this season no one has found a way to stop DeRozan from scoring and the HEAT were no different as reported by ESPN.
“We tried to give him different looks,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We really wanted to try and take it out of his hands a couple of times but we weren’t able to do it. He’s a heck of a player.”
In fairness, the HEAT weren’t able to do it last year either when DeRozan averaged 29.3 points over their four regular season meetings and he’s playing at a much higher level right now.
Back in 1986 Jordan was just 23-years-old, starting his third NBA season and was about to average over 30 points per game for the first time in his career. In those first five games in 1986, Jordan averaged 39.4 points on 50 percent shooting, 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists. Jordan was 0-2 from three-point range and averaged 29.2 field goal attempts.
Like Jordan, DeRozan isn’t relying on the long ball and has gone 1-8 from three-point range. The Raptors wing is averaging 35.8 points on 55.1 percent shooting to go with 5 rebounds and 2.6 assists. The higher shooting percentage helping to offset his fewer shot attempts (25.4).
DeRozan must be feeling a bit guilty about dominating the scoring as he passed up a few shots early on against the HEAT, but head coach Dwane Casey set him straight. The 4-1 Raptors are winning because of his scoring.
“A couple shots I passed up,” DeRozan said. “(Casey) just said to me to go out and shoot it.”
In 1986 Jordan’s Bulls also started the season 4-1, improved to 5-1 when he scored 34 points in Game six before dropping the next two.
The Raptors play the Kings (2-4) in Toronto on Sunday before a couple of tough road games starting in Oklahoma City (4-1) on Wednesday and Charlotte (4-1) on Friday.
Can DeRozan match or beat Jordan’s record of six games scoring +30 points to start a season? Suddenly an early visit by Sacramento has become a must see game. The opportunity to watch someone walking in the shadow of a legend doesn’t happen every day.