For the first time since being traded at last month’s trade deadline, Daniel Theis returned to Beantown as a member of the Chicago Bulls. The ex-Celtic big man helped guide his new team to a 102-96 victory, ending the C’s six-game win streak.
Theis finished the night with six points, six rebounds and four assists against the team that took a chance on him as an undrafted free agent back in 2017. Following the game, the German center was spotted exchanging pleasantries with his former teammates — including star forward Jayson Tatum, who spent three and a half years playing alongside Theis in Boston.
“Sad to see him on the other side, but I’m always happy for him,” Tatum told reporters of Theis following the loss. “I’ve got nothing but love for that guy.”
The Celtics lose 102-96…
— Section5ive☘️ Podcast (@Section5ive) April 20, 2021
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Tatum Has Been Outspoken About Losing Teammates in the Past
This wouldn’t be the first time Tatum has expressed his disdain for having to say goodbye to one of his former teammates. The two-time All-Star was noticeably hurt by Boston’s decision to move off of close friend Javonte Green at the deadline — also shipped to Chicago.
“I didn’t see that coming,” Tatum said following the deal. “He [Green] was someone I was super, super close with. I loved having him around. That was tough, for all of us. Especially for myself, too. [Green] was someone I was real close with as a friend. Obviously, he helped us in the locker room, in the time he did get opportunities. I guess this is just part of it.”
Thus far Green has been unable to crack the Bulls rotation, averaging just 0.5 points per game in four contests, while seeing his 13.8 minutes per game with the Celtics get slashed be essentially half in his new stomping grounds (6.5 mpg).
Theis, on the other hand, has had a far smoother transition, posting nearly identical numbers as he had averaged with Boston this season. Through 12 games with the Bulls, the 29-year-old is averaging 9.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Over his 236 contests as a member of the Celtics, the 6-foot-8-inch Theis averaged 7.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.
Undermanned Celtics Must Bounce Back With Tough Stretch Ahead
No Kemba Walker. No Robert Williams. No Marcus Smart. No Evan Fournier. No win. Owning a terrific 8-1 record in the month of April entering Monday night, the array of absentees was too much for the Celtics to overcome.
Tatum shouldered the load in some ways, recording the first triple-double of his career (14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists). Unfortunately, it came on one of his least efficient nights of the season, shooting just 3-of-17 from the floor.
Tatum and his Celtics will look to get back in the win column on Thursday, as they are set to face off with the Phoenix Suns, who own the league’s second-best record. Things won’t get much easier beyond that, as Boston will follow up that contest by traveling to the Barclays Center to take on the Brooklyn Nets the following day.