Carlos Boozer haunts old team, leads Bulls past Jazz
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org February 9, 2013 12:09AM
Chicago Bulls' Carlos Boozer (5) loses the ball as Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap (24) defends in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Updated: February 9, 2013 1:28AM
SALT LAKE CITY — Carlos Boozer is one of the most productive players in Jazz history, but he was booed when introduced Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
He was booed whenever he touched the ball.
Boozer seems destined to have a complicated legacy regardless of where he plays. It makes you wonder how he will be received if he returns to the United Center wearing an opposing team’s jersey.
Much to the disappointment of the home crowd, Boozer scored 11 consecutive points in the final minutes of a 93-89 victory over the Jazz, giving the Bulls a 3-3 record on their six-game road trip.
The Bulls responded from Thursday night’s debacle in Denver with much more energy than they had against the Nuggets. It was almost too much, in fact, as the pace of the game better-suited the Jazz, who appeared to be in control until Boozer took over.
Boozer overcame foul trouble to finish with 19 points and five rebounds.
“I got in foul trouble so early in the game that I was super fresh in the fourth quarter,” Boozer said. “I walked out there and I’m like, ‘I’m not even tired. I’ve got energy. My legs feel good.’ I was just trying to give my team some juice.”
Nate Robinson scored 18 points and had nine assists in 46 minutes for a Bulls team trying to bounce back from a 128-96 loss. It marked the most points a team has scored against the Bulls since Tom Thibodeau was named coach and the biggest margin of victory during the same span.
Taj Gibson added 14 points and eight rebounds.
“I’m just glad we got the win,” Thibodeau said. “That’s the thing we needed. We needed to bounce back. We took a punch last night, but we got up today and we fought. That’s exactly what you have to do. You can’t look backwards. You can’t look ahead. You have to look at exactly what is in front of you.
“I liked the way we approached the game. It has been a long trip, but now we have a chance to gather, get home, correct and get ready.”
Luol Deng made 3 of 4 free throws in the final seconds to finish with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Joakim Noah still looks rusty since missing three games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, but it was an improvement over his performance against the Nuggets. Noah had 12 points and 11 rebounds and made two big free throws late.
The Bulls made 16 of 18 from the stripe in the game.
“I’m not sure he’s the guy who beat us,” Paul Millsap said of Boozer. “They’ve got a whole team, and they did a good job. Down the stretch he hits a couple shots, got fouled, but that’s not what lost us the game.”
Marco Belinelli returned after missing Thursday night’s game with a sprained ankle. Although still hobbled, he had nine points and six assists and was especially effective playing a two-man game with Boozer down the stretch.
Al Jefferson scored a career-high 32 points but failed to score in the final nine minutes. Millsap added 21 for the Jazz.
“He’s a load down there,” Thibodeau said of Jefferson. “He’s one of the best low-post scorers in the league. He’s very clever. He’s got a lot of stuff to his game. He knows how to get a shot off, and he knows how to play in a crowd. That guy can score the ball.”