Billy Donovan Provides Details Explaining Absence of 4 Players

Getty Billy Donovan and Tomas Satoransky

With player permission, on Friday afternoon Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan revealed Chandler Hutchinson had tested positive for COVID-19 while in Washington.

His positive result led to three other players who had been in close contact (Lauri Markkanen, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Tomas Satoransky) being forced to quarantine. Markkanen, Arcidiacono, and Satoransky have flown back to Chicago to continue quarantine in accordance with the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The rest of the team is in Milwaukee for Friday’s game against the Bucks.

Hutchinson, because he tested positive, had to remain in Washington undergoing the remainder of the safety protocol until he’s able to rejoin the team.

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Bulls Likely to Repeat the Same Starting Lineup

Against the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, the Bulls started Coby White, Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, Otto Porter, and Wendell Carter Jr.

Off the bench, the Bulls went with Garrett Temple, Daniel Gafford, Thad Young, and Denzel Valentine. It’s probably a safe bet to say we’ll likely see the same rotation on Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bulls will hope for a similar result as they took their second straight game from the Wizards with a 133-130 victory to end 2020.

Porter was phenomenal in a starting role.

He poured in 28 points on 10-for-14 shooting from the field. Porter also shot 5-for-9 from three-point range, and he also had 12 rebounds in relief of Markkanen. Gafford gave the Bulls a huge spark with 15 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. He was aggressive the entire game and fantastic as a rim protector.

In Young’s first game of the season after missing the first 4 with a leg infection, he was arguably as good as he’s been with the Bulls. Young had 15 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals while converting 7-of-12 shots from the field.

He effectively took advantage of mismatches in the post and made smaller players pay with his size and strength.


Tough Challenge Ahead in Friday’s Game

Things figure to be tougher for the Bulls on Friday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have beaten the Bulls 11 times in a row. They are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference despite the fact that they have been struggling a little early in the season. Their 2-3 record is identical to the Bulls, despite most believing the team has far more talent.

Khris Middleton is currently leading the Bucks in scoring averaging 22.6 points per game. Antetokounmpo’s scoring is down a little so far. He’s scoring 22.4 per game, but still a force in every other aspect of the sport.

Antetokounmpo is the Bucks’ leading rebounder with 11.6 per game, and he’s also averaging just under 2 steals per contest at 1.8. Milwaukee will be fighting hard not to fall to 2-4. The Bucks’ talent presents a formidable challenge without special circumstances. Facing them on the second half of a back-to-back, with a shorthanded roster, and while having flown in from D.C. the day before, makes it even tougher.

The Bulls need to focus on remaining competitive in this one while hopefully having a chance to pull it out late in the 4th quarter. It could be a rough night.

 

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