You know something Pippen Peoples ,when I started the rogue Carlos Boozer fan club The Legion of Booz, I did it to prove a point. I saw a flaw in the Chicago Bulls offensive scheme (a flaw that is still there) that needed to be addressed. The Chicago Bulls struggle mightily in the half court. The offense can be easily be figured out and bogged down to the point that the team can go for long periods of time without scoring. This has happened twice in this series that has cost the Chicago Bulls wins in the United Center. The inability of the Bulls not being able to score puts so much pressure on the defense. There are going to be nights that the defense is not going to be there and sometimes you have to put the ball in the basket. Like it or not (most of you don’t) Carlos Boozer is your best offensive option. Carlos is the only player on the roster that has a back to the basket game that has not been used in so long it’s ridiculous. The Bulls are the only team in the NBA playoffs in both conferences that will not use that part of the offense.
Friday night, the Bulls pretty much saved their season defeating the Washington Wizards 100-97. There were so many subplots to this game. Mike Dunleavy with his career night. Not just for the playoffs, his ENTIRE career. Nene letting his team down getting suspended in the most inopportune time since Alonzo Mourning getting suspended fighting with Larry Johnson in the Miami Heat-New York series in the 90’s. That suspension pretty much cost the Heat the series and I remember the picture of Pat Riley leaning up against the wall. It’s like he knew that it was over. Could it be the same for Randy Wittman and the Wizards, we’ll see. The Washington Wizards backcourt got some shine. Bradley Beal scoring 25 points while learning that maybe you need humility every once in a while saying that Dunleavy wouldn’t score in the second half. After giving up a foul to Dunleavy shooting a three, he’ll be remembered for the rest of the playoffs. There is one thing, that I want to talk about that was overlooked with all that was going on in Game three.
Carlos Boozer was very instrumental in this game.
Let’s be serious for a minute. Mike Dunleavy brought the Bulls with his out-of-body experience shooting the ball in the first half. But he was not alone. Carlos Boozer had eight points on 4-6 shooting in the first quarter. When DJ Augustin was in the game and sped the game up, Boozer looked good. In the last three minutes of the quarter, Boozer hit a jumper had two layups and a dunk from a brilliant feed from Augustin. Then he hit Taj Gibson with an assist before sitting down for the rest of the half.
Look Pippen Peoples, this is a rhythm sport. Boozer was engaged and was scoring well in the first quarter. It is very difficult to sit down for an entire quarter and through halftime and then get your rhythm back during the game. It’s even more ridiculous when Tom Thibodeau gives minutes to Tony Snell who is absolutely killing the Bulls when he is on the floor. Tony Snell shot two long three pointers that led to fast breaks for the Washington Wizards who cashed in both times. Right now he does not have any business on the floor and those minutes should go to Boozer especially if he is playing well in the first frame and making an impact. I mean why do players play hard and try to play well? For minutes right? I could see if he was stinking up the joint but even Hubie Brown who was calling the game on ESPN mentioned how well he was playing. Hubie Brown is someone who has a vast knowledge of the game. What gives?
After sitting for a long period of time, his offense went cold. He missed three consecutive shots before knocking down a jumper, hitting two free throws and getting another dunk to virtually end his night. Boozer’s stat line in 24 minutes after playing the first and third quarters…14 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal. He did get in the game at the end of the fourth quarter for rebounding purposes when Joakim Noah fouled out. When Noah was in foul trouble and had to sit down, Boozer was effective. But it is starting to look like it doesn’t matter what this guy does, Thibodeau is not going to play him. That is a problem.
The dynamics of the Leroy-alist and The Legion of Booz is based on what is more important. The Legion believes that Boozer’s scoring is paramount. The Leroy-alist party believes his defensive liabilities are paramount. But looking at Game three, things were exposed.
Joakim Noah DID NOT play well.
Look I don’t want to hear that Noah did such a great defensive job on Nene. He didn’t. Nene stopped himself. A lot of missed shots he missed was because he was fading back on his jump shot. He got Noah in foul trouble quickly in the first quarter. Up until Nene went Power Forward gone stupid, the Wizards had Game three in control. Noah was outplayed by Carlos Boozer in this game. Does this make Noah any less valuable? NO! But he wasn’t playing well in this game. In 41 minutes Noah only scored six points on four shots and bricked up 2-6 from the line. He may play better in Game four now that Nene is out but what if he isn’t. Will Thibodeau going to ignore a guy that averages 17 points a game for his playoff career? Does Thibodeau really have that big an issue with Boozer and his defense that he would go 41 minutes with Noah who just didn’t have it?
Tony Snell was absolutely HORRIFIC in the fourth.
Tony Snell played nine minutes in Game three. I mentioned earlier that Snell took bad shots that led to Wizards baskets. But ask me this who fouls a player 60 feet from the basket? Like John Wall ? In the act of shooting? I’ll wait. Then I’ll ask you this, what coach do you know would let him back in the game a couple of seconds later? Does Thibodeau have that big of an issue with Boozer to not have in the game when a rookie is struggling?
It’s not like The Bulls did not make adjustments last year with a player that did not play defense.
Does anyone remember Nate Robinson? You guys say Carlos Boozer don’t play defense. How about Nate Robinson last year? At least Boozer tries. I know Nate Robinson from the New York days. Nate doesn’t hide the fact that one, he is going to fire the ball up every two times he touches it and two, he is not going to play a lick of defense. Don’t deny it, you probably fell in love with his no defense playing self when he went bonkers against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round last year. If Thibodeau can make adjustments for this guy, why not for Boozer? At least Boozer can do other things like rebound and hit you with an occasional assist within an offense that hinders him greatly. Nate Robinson freelanced the entire game chasing his own shot. I say it again, is Thibodeau the issue.
Hey Carlos, take some advice. When you are in the game be aggressive. After seeing Snell in the fourth quarter after that ridiculous foul. Pray for the amnesty. There’s not much left that you can do to please Thibodeau. You could score 40 points and still be sitting the bench in the fourth.
A special shout out to Leroy Boyd. Don’t worry the next Legion of Booz report won’t be so heavy. For the rest of the Pippen Peoples, ask yourself something. If you pay real close attention to Tom Thibodeau and his substitution patterns as strange as they are, don’t it look like things have gone a little personal between he and Boozer? If it is, I hope it don’t cost the Bulls a chance to get back in the series in Game four.