Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan continues to climb up clutch rankings

San Antonio Spurs DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The San Antonio Spurs continue to rely on their closer in crunch time, and he continues to deliver. DeMar DeRozan had three huge buckets in the final three minutes of the Spurs’ big 110-108 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.

The Spurs’ victory all but assured them a spot in the play-in tournament next month, as they are now 4.5 games ahead of the 11th-seeded Pelicans and own the tiebreaker. Although big-time performances from Derrick White (22 points) and Keldon Johnson (14 points, nine boards) helped, it was DeRozan who shined brightest when San Antonio needed him most.

Seeing DeMar come up big in a critical moment is nothing new for the Spurs, as he’s been doing it all season long for a team fighting for their postseason lives.

The San Antonio Spurs Now Have a Top 5 Clutch Scorer

The NBA website defines clutch time stats as anything that occurs in the last five minutes of a game in which the point differential is five points or fewer. After his last few instances of late-game heroics, DeRozan has now moved into the top five in points scored in the clutch.

  • 1. Damian Lillard – 148
  • 2. Zach LaVine – 118
  • 3. Nikola Jokic – 116
  • 4. De’Aaron Fox – 115
  • 5. DeMar DeRozan – 111

DeMar has made 34 of 74 field goal attempts in clutch situations for a 45.9 percent rate, which is fourth-best among the seven players who have 100 or more clutch points. He’s also tallied 20 rebounds and 10 assists in these stretches over the 27 games in which Spurs games have had tight finishes.

While the San Antonio Spurs are focused on building their future around their young core, their proven veteran is still the man when everything is on the line, and he’s enjoying that role. Coach Gregg Popovich said as much after the latest win:

“He seems to never get tired, and he’s always ready to go,” said Popovich. “He wants the ball, he wants to score, but he’ll get it to his teammates if that’s appropriate. He loves being in that situation. He’s the best on our team with that.”

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If you’d like to treat yourself, you can watch a playlist of all 34 of DeRozan’s clutch buckets this season here, a collection that will undoubtedly have more entries coming soon.