TORONTO (AP) — Diar DeRozan wanted to skip a day of school. Her father grudgingly went along with the plan.
Turns out, the decision was worth shouting about.
The 9-year-old daughter of Chicago guard DeMar DeRozan stole the show at the play-in tournament on Wednesday night with shrieks from the stands that went viral and quite possibly played a role in helping the Bulls defeat the Toronto Raptors 109-105 in an Eastern Conference elimination game.
Her ear-splitting shouts would come when the Raptors — her dad’s former team — were shooting free throws, and they were loud enough to even become a conversation point during the ESPN broadcast of the game. The Raptors finished 18 of 36 from the line in their season-ending loss.
“My daughter called me the other day when she was getting out of school and she just said, ‘Dad, can I come to the Toronto game?’” DeRozan said. “I remember her going to all the Toronto games when she was a kid and I almost said no because she’s in school back home. But she kept asking. She was just adamant about coming to support and I said, ‘All right, you can miss one day of school and come to a game.’
“I’m glad I did,” DeRozan said. “I owe her some money for sure.”
The 18-for-36 showing was Toronto’s worst of the season from the foul line.
“Not a great free throw night for us in general,” Toronto’s Pascal Siakam said.
The Bulls advanced to face Miami on Friday night in a win-or-go-home game, with a chance to make the playoffs and face No. 1 Milwaukee in Round 1 of the East playoffs starting Sunday.
Good news for the Heat: Diar’s dad said she isn’t going to Miami.
“No,” DeRozan said. “She’s got to go back to school.”
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