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Boozer refutes idea he’s more effective without Derrick Rose

MONDAY

CAVALIERS AT BULLS

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Updated: November 11, 2013 2:54PM



It was a topic Carlos Boozer navigated carefully last season.

When Reggie Rose, the older brother/manager of Bulls standout Derrick Rose, ripped into the makeup of the team in February, there were rumors in the locker room that he was talking about Boozer without singling him out. There was also speculation that Derrick Rose didn’t care much for Boozer off the court.

‘‘We’re all good dudes, man,’’ Boozer told the Sun-Times in dismissing that thought last season. ‘‘We don’t have any jerks on this team. . . . The thing is, we’re all friends off the court. We hang out off the court.’’

The Boozer-Rose dynamic was brought up again Sunday, but this time it was about their on-the-court chemistry and the notion that Boozer is a more effective player without Rose than with him.

‘‘Don’t let the stats fool you; don’t let people talk to you with their theories,’’ Boozer said. ‘‘We all benefit from having Derrick on the floor with us.’’

No one has benefitted more than Boozer through the Bulls’ first five games this season. He is averaging a team-leading 18.2 points with Rose back. He hasn’t averaged that many points in a season since he put up 19.5 in 2009-10 with the Utah Jazz.

‘‘I love playing with Derrick, man,’’ Boozer said. ‘‘We have fun. He puts so much pressure on himself, it makes it easier for the rest of us because he can do so much. Obviously, whoever we’re playing against, their entire defense is
set up to try and stop Derrick or slow him down. We end up getting open shots.’’

Since arriving in Chicago as a free agent before the 2010-11 season, Boozer has insisted the only stats he concerns himself with are the standings. He has pointed out that the core of Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Rose and himself have a regular-season winning percentage of 86 percent, and that’s the only number that matters to him.

It’s an argument coach Tom Thibodeau supported.

‘‘If you look at what they’ve done when they’ve played together, they’ve won at a very high level,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘It’s how the group functions together. You look at their winning percentage, and it’s very high.’’

The biggest difference in Boozer this season is that he came into training camp slimmed down and in better shape. Another season in the offense also has given him a better understanding about when and where he will get his touches.

‘‘I worked on that all summer, just the spots that I’m going to get the ball at,’’ Boozer said. ‘‘I’ve got a lot of playmakers on this team. I think Luol might lead us in assists right now, or he’s up there. Joakim is up there and, obviously, D-Rose. . . . So it’s fun to play with these guys.’’

No matter what some on the outside might think.



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