Nikola Vucevic downplays on-court exchange with Patrick Beverley

Vucevic downplays exchange with Patrick Beverley originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Following Friday morning’s shootaround, Nikola Vucevic downplayed an incident from Wednesday night’s victory over the Detroit Pistons in which he and Patrick Beverley exchanged words over a blown defensive coverage.

“It was way blown out of proportion,” Vucevic said. “It was honestly no big deal at all.”

Jaden Ivey drove past Beverley and down the lane, where Vucevic was late to provide help because his eyes were focused elsewhere. Beverley, who long has been a vocal and passionate teammate, approached Vucevic, who appeared to take exception and exchanged words with Beverley. DeMar DeRozan ultimately stepped in to console Vucevic, who long has been a prideful player.

“It’s the NBA. It happens almost every game. There are going to be disagreements,” Vucevic said. “In the moment, I thought I was right. He thought he was right. You look at the tape. I’m wrong. He’s wrong. We’re both wrong. I get caught up looking away in the moment. He gets beat. It happens.

“It’s part of the game. Nobody plays the game perfectly. We all make mistakes. Talk it out, own up to it and move on. It was over right after that. They shot the free throw and we moved on.”

On Friday, Vucevic detailed the defensive coverage the Bulls were in on the play. Bojan Bogdanović had gotten hot from 3-point range, so Vucevic said the Bulls were “top blocking” the Pistons sharpshooter.

“What that means is we’re not allowing him to come off, at that point, it was a stagger-away two screens set for him,” Vucevic said. “He had hit two or three 3s out of that action, so we talked about we were going to top block. So I had to drop down really deep.

“In the moment, I got caught up looking at Bogdanović to help (Alex Caruso). Pat Bev got driven by Ivey. I didn’t see.”

The Bulls prevailed on Wednesday despite losing a 21-point, second-half lead.

“It was just arguing in the moment,” Vucevic said. “It wasn’t that big a deal. We talked about it. It happens every game. People always make a big deal out of when players argue on the court. That’s part of the game. We’re competitors. We’re trying to make the right play. Sometimes you don’t agree on the same thing in the moment. Talk it out and it’s over with. We never talked about it after.”

Asked if he feels he is unfairly singled out for defensive lapses, Vucevic grew philosophical.

“I know some stuff on defense is not the strongest part of my game. But there is some stuff I do really well defensively,” said Vucevic, who is third in the NBA in double-doubles. “I always try to do my best at that end. It’s something I’ve very aware of. I know what my limitations are on the floor and I try to stick to my strengths.”

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