CHICAGO — Bulls guard Zach LaVine had to reach a high bar to advance out of the first round in the 3-Point Contest on Saturday night at the United Center. LaVine started and finished strong, but he struggled in between and failed to move on by recording a score of 23.
LaVine needed to score 26 points to stay alive after Devin Booker (27), Buddy Hield (27) and Davis Bertans (26) put up big numbers. The Bulls guard was perfect on his first rack and his last rack, but he missed three of his five shots on the money ball rack at the top of the key and didn’t hit either of his 3-point Mountain Dew Zone shots. He admitted afterward that he should have put the money ball rack last.
LaVine was hoping to become the first player in NBA history to be a Slam Dunk Contest and 3-Point Contest champion. Instead, he fell short despite a respectable showing, vowing to “definitely” participate in the contest again in the future.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the Bulls without some jokes at their expense:
Boylen calls timeout with LaVine already eliminated and three balls left on rack.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) February 16, 2020
This also seems fitting:
So, uh, the unofficial Milwaukee beat writer table in the United Center media room is being dripped on by an unidentified brown, foul-smelling liquid. pic.twitter.com/1cmewygErH— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) February 16, 2020
Hield ultimately won the contest on his final shot for a walk-off winner. Hield put up 27 points in the final round to win it, with Booker coming just short with 26 and Bertans posting 22.