Donovan moves Markkanen to bench in loss to Golden State

  • Chicago Bulls center Daniel Theis (27) blocks a shot by Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney (5) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Monday, March 29, 2021.

    Chicago Bulls center Daniel Theis (27) blocks a shot by Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney (5) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Monday, March 29, 2021.

Updated 3/29/2021 11:42 PM

In the second game since switching up the roster, Bulls coach Billy Donovan made a change to the starting lineup late Monday night against the Golden State Warriors.

Thad Young started at power forward next to newcomer Nikola Vucevic. This move was likely in response to the poor defensive effort early in Saturday's loss to San Antonio.


Lauri Markkanen came off the bench, along with newcomer Daniel Theis, who made his Bulls debut after missing the Spurs game with a family issue.

It all probably looked good on the white board, but the Bulls were once again lost defensively, scrambling from one bad matchup to another every time Golden State set a screen. Steph Curry scored all 32 of his points in the first three quarters and the Bulls lost 116-102.

Zach LaVine is trying to play through an ankle sprain and finished with just 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Vucevic finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in his second game with the Bulls, who had 33 assists and 20 turnovers.

One other change, Coby White was scratched due to a neck injury. It was the first game White has missed since joining the Bulls, a streak of 109 games. It left LaVine as the only Bulls player to appear in every game this season.

Donovan wasn't sure if the neck stiffness was a leftover from the previous contest or if White just slept on it wrong.

"He wanted to try to warm up and go through his normal pregame routine, but he just couldn't do enough physically in terms of raising his arms and turning his head and things like that," Donovan said. "I don't anticipate it being anything long term."

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Theis checked in at the 3:46 mark of the first quarter, and his first entry into the stat sheet was a blocked shot against Kevon Looney. Theis later finished an impressive, one-handed alley-oop off a pass from Patrick Williams in the second quarter, while getting fouled by Warriors rookie James Wiseman.

Besides moving to a new team, Theis will have to get used to a new role. He started 37 games at center for Boston but will find himself either backing up Vucevic at center or splitting time with power forwards Young and Markkanen.

The 6-foot-8 native of Germany talked about switching from a starter for the Celtics to a bench role with the Bulls.

"Whenever I step on the court, I just want to give everything I've got," Theis said. "I had games in Boston where I played more or I played less, but I always give 100 percent. It doesn't matter to me how long I'm out there.

Theis does have a pretty good connection with the Bulls in assistant coach Chris Fleming, who spent about 10 years coaching in Germany.

"I've known Chris for a long time, since I started playing basketball in Germany," Theis said. "So yeah, obviously makes my transition easier."


With White sidelined, Ryan Arcidiacono saw some backup minutes at point guard. Newcomers Javonte Green and Troy Brown Jr. got decent playing time, while Al-Farouq Aminu stayed on the bench. Garrett Temple left with a right-hamstring injury after playing two minutes.

There were a couple of notable developments from two former Bulls in Monday's Washington-Indiana game. Center Daniel Gafford was carted off with a sprained ankle after scoring 11 points. Meanwhile, forward Chandler Hutchison saw his first game action since Feb. 5, scored 18 points and played the entire fourth quarter in the Wizards' victory.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls


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