Carlos Boozer answers the boos as Bulls bounce Jazz
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org February 8, 2013 11:23PM
Carlos Boozer had 19 points in 32 minutes as the Bulls tripped the Jazz to finish 3-3 on their road trip. | Rick Bowman~AP
Updated: March 10, 2013 6:50AM
SALT LAKE CITY — Carlos Boozer is one of the most productive players in Utah Jazz history, but he was booed when introduced at EnergySolutions Arena on Friday night.
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 and when 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 against the Jazz on Friday night to give the Bulls a 3-3 record on their six-game road trip.
The Bulls responded from Thursday night’s debacle in Denver much more 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 in a clutch performance.
Boozer continued to dominate conversation a day after reports surfaced that the Bulls had exploratory discussions with the Toronto Raptors about a trade involving Boozer and Andrea Bargnani that a source told the Sun-Times is unlikely to be consummated.
Then came his second trip back to Salt Lake City, where the mere mention of his name conjures mixed emotions.
Boozer went to two All-Star games in six seasons here, represented his country in the Olympics and had 35 points and 14 rebounds in a Game 7 victory against the Houston Rockets that propelled the Jazz to the Western Conference Finals, which is their deepest playoff run since Karl Malone and John Stockton were perfecting the pick-and-roll.
But he missed 138 of 492 games because of injuries, said some unfortunate things and has as many detractors as supporters.
“Here, I thought he was a great player for us,” said former DePaul standout and current Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, who was an assistant under Jerry Sloan when Boozer played in Utah. “He was a great teammate for the guys. He was hurt but you can’t do anything about injuries. He’s a great individual.”
It’s the same in Chicago. He is more productive this season than he has been during his first two. He has played in 46 of 49 games, but fans often point to his defensive deficiencies and overlook his strengths.
He missed three chippies against the Jazz, including a dunk. Another resulted in a technical foul in the fourth quarter when he complained to an official.
“He’s still Booze, a very versatile big man, especially on the offensive end,” Corbin said. “He’s a big presence inside and he’s a good passer for a big guy. He’s having a great year for them, especially with them being short-handed with Rose out. He’s been getting the ball in his hands a lot more and is doing a good job.”
Nate Robinson scored 18 points and had nine assists in 46 minutes for the Bulls. Taj Gibson added 14 points and eight rebounds. Luol Deng made three of four free throws in the final seconds to finish with 15 points and nine rebounds. Joakim Noah had 12 and 11.
Al Jefferson scored a career-high 32 points, but failed to score in the final nine minutes of regulation. Paul Millsap added 21.