SACRAMENTO — After voicing his opinion about his lack of fourth-quarter playing time before the Bulls’ morning shootaround, Carlos Boozer got plenty of it in Monday night’s 99-70 loss to the Kings at Sleep Train Arena.
Boozer, who finished with eight points on 4-for-15 shooting, didn’t have a great outing, but did say the hatchet was buried between Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and himself.
[MORE: Thibodeau responds to Boozer's comments]
“Me and Thibs, we're both on the same page, man. We compete, we just want to win and I'm a competitor. Of course I want to be out there when the game is on the line. If you have a teammate that doesn't want to be out there, then he shouldn't be in the NBA. We're all competitors. We want to win. We all want to be out there and tonight, throw this one out of the window. Get ready for the next one,” Boozer explained. “But Thibs understands. We've talked about it before and he wants to win. We want to win. It's only us. Nobody’s coming to save us this year. We’ve got to do it with what we’ve got in the locker room. We're all aware of that and we’ll be ready for the next one. It’s a long grind of a season. We’re in the hunt, trying to climb up a little bit. We have a chance to make a little progress. We’ve got to shake these two off and move on.”
[Bulls GM Gar Forman on Boozer: I'm disappointed]
It should be noted that Thibodeau left Boozer in the game long after the final result was obvious, even subbing fellow starter Mike Dunleavy Jr. out — replacing him with seldom-used rookie power forward Erik Murphy — before replacing him.
Cousins has monster game
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was considered an omission when the Western Conference All-Star reserves were announced last week. Part of the reason he wasn’t selected certainly has to do with Sacramento’s woeful record, but some of it might be attributed to his reputation as one of the league’s most volatile personalities.
In Monday’s contest, Cousins battled Bulls counterpart Joakim Noah and while he picked up a technical foul himself, Noah was ultimately ejected from the blowout, which Cousins finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds in his first game back after missing Sacramento’s previous six due to injury.
[RELATED: Joakim Noah contrite about ejection, actions toward officials]
“Well, there’s not that many 20-and-10 guys in the league. I think there’s four of them, so that tells you the type of player that he is. He’s very skilled,” Thibodeau said of Cousins before the game. “He’s got great ball skills, he’s got a back-to-the-basket game, he’s got a face-up game, he can put it on the floor, he can pass. There’s not much that he can’t do.”
Thibodeau disappointed in Bulls’ approach
After the loss, when Thibodeau was asked about how his team defended the big man, the coach went off on a tangent about the Bulls’ overall play.
[RELATED: Joakim Noah ejected, goes on expletive-laced rant on refs]
“They shot 52 percent. He had a big game. Their guards went wherever they wanted with the ball and again, I’m not going to put the individual defense on somebody who’s guarding Cousins because you can’t guard Cousins individually. You’ve got to guard him with your team,” he explained. “So I get back to what was our ball pressure like? Where was our help? What did we do with dribble penetration? The list goes on and on, so those are the corrections we have to make and in this league, as soon as you start feeling good about yourself, that’s when you get knocked down. So you’ve got to come with it every night. Every night.
“And they played a great game. They did. They were aggressive. You’ve got to give them credit. But you’ve got to bring a mindset on the road with a lot of toughness. It’s hard to win on the road and you’ve got to have that toughness with you at all times, and you can’t pick and choose: ‘Well, I’m going to ease into it’ or, ‘It’s not going my way,’ and then you’re allowing guys to play to their strengths. To me, that’s preparation,” Thibodeau went on to say. “You’re guarding a great shooter and you’re going under on a screen. That doesn’t make any sense to me. Or you’re just whacking at a guy after he’s already buried you in the paint. To me, that makes no sense. You’ve got to play this game with energy and toughness, and intelligence. And you’ve got to get yourself ready. When you’re on the road, you have to have a mentality: this is business. This isn’t hanging out, having a good time. If you’re serious about winning, you prepare yourself the right way.”