Now that the Bulls have knocked out the Indiana Pacers after five games, it’s time to take a look at the most scrutinized man for the Bulls in the 2011 playoffs…Carlos Boozer
The scrutiny Boozer has received is warranted and justified; the man simply has not delivered. Things have been bad from the start; Boozer had a horrible Game 1 defending Pacers’ Forward Tyler Hansbrough. Boozer couldn’t guard Hansbrough and he made Boozer pay by scoring 22 points. You know it’s a rough day when you’re making bums like Hansbrough look like an NBA All-Star.
Boozer was in foul trouble all throughout the series, receiving many of the fouls early which would force Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau to bench Boozer prematurely.
“We have to figure out a way to keep him out of foul trouble,” Thibodeau said. “It’s hard to get into a rhythm when you are picking up quick fouls. We’re taking a good look at it to see if we can help him out so he can help us out.”
Boozer was the Bulls’ big catch during last summer’s free agency fiasco, signing Boozer to a five year $80 million deal. This is the time of the year where Boozer needs to be earning every penny of that contract and shows the desire to give Thibodeau, and his teammates, the help that they expect.
Boozer isn’t being forced to be “the guy” in Chicago so there shouldn’t be that kind of weight on Boozer’s shoulders. Boozer is putting unneeded pressure on himself by not performing up to the standards that he’s capable of.
The Bulls are going to need him now more than ever because the task is about to get tougher. The Bulls will face either the Orlando Magic or Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the playoffs and while neither of those teams are NBA powerhouses, they are both far better than the Indiana Pacers. Should the Bulls get past the second round, they’ll more than likely face the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics and that will be the toughest test for the Bulls.
Though, he was injured in the game last night and it was later diagnosed as turf toe. Turf toe is actually a more painful injury than one might assume so it will be interesting to see how it will further affect Boozer’s performance.
With nearly a week to prepare for either of those teams, Boozer needs to make a commitment to playing better and trying to get as healthy as possible.
No more bad “Booze”, it’s time to get what we paid for.