In NBA Playoffs, Bulls' Carlos Boozer Continues To Struggle

Among the questions on the minds of nearly every Chicago Bulls fan is, "What's wrong with Carlos Boozer?" The Bulls' big-money free-agent signing from last summer has failed to impress in his first Windy City postseason, and has even drawn boos from Bulls fans, averaging just 10.3 points on 38.2 percent shooting in seven games to date. Though he's pulling in 10 rebounds per game, even that number rates below his usual standard; his postseason rebound average prior to this year stood at 12.5 per game. His bout with turf toe has severely limited him.

Boozer's case is a troubling one, because it's not as though one or two bad games have dragged down his averages. By my completely subjective count, he's had two "good" games in the playoffs: a 17-point, 16-rebound effort in Game 2 versus the Indiana Pacers in the first round, and his 14-point, 8-rebound outing against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 last Monday. His shooting in his five mediocre-at-best games stands at a whopping 32.1 percent. At that low a percentage, the Bulls are better off--and this is not hyperbole--running plays for Keith Bogans.

For his part, coach Tom Thibodeau doesn't seem too concerned. "He’s nicked up," Thibodeau told the media. "He’s playing hard. He’s on the boards. The rebounding is huge. We need that rebounding. His offense will come around."

Fortunately for Chicago, its defense is stout enough, at least for now, to withstand a poor offensive series from the low-post scorer it so desperately needed to complement Derrick Rose. Still, one has to wonder how much longer the Bulls can succeed despite Boozer's ineffectiveness on offense. Rose and Luol Deng can only do so much on the perimeter. Perhaps running more sets like this one, wherein all Boozer has to do is catch and finish off a Rose pass, as opposed to having to create for himself, can get him going.

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