Boozer not flashy, but big for Bulls
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
He’s not the fastest guy on the court, he might, in fact, be the slowest. He’s not a great defender, and probably a source of exasperation for Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau in video sessions.
But the Chicago Bulls know what they have – and don’t have – in veteran forward Carlos Boozer, and he remains an effective, pivotal player for Chicago.
Where would the Bulls be without him this season? More importantly, where would they be in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets?
“He’s always critical for us,” Thibodeau said during the series, which the Bulls lead 3-2 and can win Thursday at home in Game 6 (8 p.m. ET, TNT).
With guard Derrick Rose out this season and other injuries hobbling the Bulls – even during this series with guard Kirk Hinrich missing Game 5 and questionable for Game 6 with a bruised left calf or center Joakim Noah slowed by plantar fasciitis – Boozer has been a constant this season.
“We’ve faced adversity all season with DRose being out and different guys being out with different injuries,” Boozer said. “Obviously, we’ve been able to stay afloat. … I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish but hopefully we have a lot more to do.”
Boozer played in 79 games and averaged 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds, and in the playoffs, Boozer is averaging 18.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and shooting 57.7%. He is logging big minutes, too at 43.6 per game.
“We tried to deny him the ball, we tried to make him go in one direction and we contested his shot. None of it seemed to work,” Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said after Boozer had 22 points and 16 rebounds in Chicago’s Game 3 victory. “He does not seem to miss an open shot. … We have to do a better job on Boozer.”
Boozer’s favorite offensive spots are on the baseline and either side of the foul line. On attempts from 16-24 feet, Boozer is shooting 69.6% against Nets in five games.
“We just move the ball. We share the ball offensively, I play off my teammates and … [For more on Carlos Boozer not flashy, but big for Chicago Bulls, click here.]