PHILADELPHIA - For the second consecutive postseason, Carlos Boozer will feel the heat and this year the Bulls didnt even lose to Miami, ironically his offseason home. Boozer snatched 13 rebounds, fitting for a starting power forward in a playoff game, especially in just 27 minutes of play.
The reason he only played 27 minutes in an elimination game, one might wonder? Well, Boozer only mustered up three points and not for lack of trying, as he shot 1-for-11 from the field and made his lone free-throw attempt.
I just missed shots. Some nights are like that. Some nights youre on fire. Some nights youre not. Tonight I wasnt, said Boozer. My teammates did a great job of making shots. My teammates wanted me to stay aggressive, stay confident, keep shooting. They just didnt go in.
To his credit, Boozer didnt run and hide from the question. And in fairness, he was tremendous in both the Bulls Game 5 win at the United Center and for most of their Game 4 loss in Philadelphia.
But just like last spring, when the Bulls lost to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals, Boozer came up short when it counts. This should have been the time to redeem himself, as he played in all 82 regular-season games and with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah both out with injuries, Luol Deng playing hurt and Rip Hamilton clearly not fully trusted by Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, Boozer had the opportunity to be the go-to guy.
He played hard. It wasnt going his way offensively. That happens. When its not going your way, you have to do other things. His rebounding was terrific. Taj Gibson and Omer Asik got going defensively. Our rebounding and defense brought us back. We rode that group., said Thibodeau, who essentially made one second-half substitution, Gibson in for Boozer. Carlos had a terrific year for us. Didnt play well offensively. Passed well but didnt shoot well. His rebounding was excellent.
Unfortunately, that isnt what the Bulls needed - Deng corralled a game-high 17 boards and he plays small forward - Thursday night. They needed Boozer to deliver, something he again failed to do.