On their way to a comfortable victory after a bench-fueled run in the 3rd quarter, the Bulls collectively held their breath as Carlos Boozer limped off the court and into the locker room after being flagrantly fouled by Kwame Brown.
Boozer was hit while going up for a layup, and came down awkwardly with his foot tucked under his left leg. While there are no confirmed reports as of yet, early word is that Boozer suffered a sprained ankle.
Meanwhile, the game began much like Monday's versus the Hornets, with the Bulls unable to muster much energy. However the second half was a completely different story, as Chicago flexed its defensive muscle and pulled away with an array of 3-pointers. Kyle Korver had arguably his game of the year with 20 points in 17 minutes including 4-7 from 3-point land.
With Boozer out early with foul trouble and out late with the aforementioned injury, reserve Taj Gibson (14 points, 6 rebounds, 6-7 FG) stepped up as so many Bulls have done this season. Derrick Rose broke out of his shooting slump in a major way, going 4-6 from downtown for 20 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and most importantly, only 1 turnover.
Also of note, Luol Deng seemed to tweak his leg early in the game and was a relative non-factor throughout the contest. Coach Tom Thibodeau took Deng out in the 4th quarter for what seemed to be precautionary reasons, but as he leads the team in minutes per game and has a history of injuries, expect the Bulls to monitor the situation closely.
Despite what turned into a possibly damaging game for the Bulls playoff hopes, Chicago has the depth to weather minor injuries if that is what Boozer's turns out to be. The team gets a day off before returning home for a three game stretch at the United Center, including Saturday's 20th anniversary celebration of the 1991 NBA champion Bulls. Expect MJ, Pippen, Horace Grant and others to be on hand, in what will be one of the season's great moments for this Bulls team.