Vučević’s 3-point shooting was a key to the Bulls-Bucks series

But with 4:40 left in the third quarter of Sunday’s Game 1 slugfest with the Bucks, there was the Chicago Bulls center, back-pedaling across center court with a fist in the air and a roar on his lips after 

“It was a big shot for us,” Vučević said after the game. “Especially after the tough start we had, they (the Bucks) kind of jumped on us, and we battled, battled, battled, 

The moments got bigger from there, and eventually the Bulls wilted. Milwaukee eked out a 93-86 win at home to pull ahead 1-0 in the series.

Vučević led the Bulls with 24 points, but accrued them on 9-for-27 shooting, which included a rimmed-out layup that would have made it a one-point game inside the final minute. 

Even then, though, he performed the best of the Bulls’ “Big Three,” given DeMar DeRozan (6-for-25 shooting) and Zach LaVine’s (6-for-19) laborious evenings. 

And in that third-quarter moment, he demonstrated his importance to the Bulls remaining competitive in what many predicted to be a lopsided series.

Vučević sets DeRozan a screen. DeRozan turns the left corner, beginning a downhill drive. As Khris Middleton trails, Brook Lopez sinks back into the paint to wall off DeRozan’s lane to the rim, 

The Pelicans failed in 2-of-3 key areas vs. the Suns