Bulls bounce back big-time behind Carlos Boozer
By Neil Hayes firstname.lastname@example.org January 9, 2012 10:44PM
Updated: February 11, 2012 8:20AM
When Carlos Boozer finally started rolling to the basket, the Bulls led by 21 in the fourth quarter. He drew a foul with four minutes left. He looked over at the bench, got a nod from coach Tom Thibodeau and, on the next possession, did the same thing with the same result. Why not keep doing what works until someone stops it?
The Bulls won their 13th straight against the Pistons on Monday night at the United Center in large part because Detroit had no answer for Boozer, who scored a game-high 23 points and had eight rebounds in a 92-68 victory. Their ability to rebound from Saturday night’s humiliating loss in Atlanta was largely due to Boozer being as hot as he has been all season.
Derrick Rose was Derrick Rose. He scored 22 points, many of the dazzling variety. He dished out eight assists, most going to Boozer as the two were a devastatingly effective tandem.
“You put Derrick and Carlos in the pick and roll and they are tough to stop,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They can put a lot of pressure on people. They made great decisions.”
Boozer has been criticized for not taking the ball harder to the rim. On this night there was no reason to. Instead of the pick and roll, Rose and Boozer worked the pick and pop to perfection, with Boozer setting a screen and then stepping back for the easy jumper. He didn’t go hard to the hole until late in the game. He didn’t have to.
That the Pistons sent multiple defenders at Rose made the play more effective.
“My job is to get him the ball and read the play,” Rose said. “Teams now are soft blitzing me like they did in the postseason, and when two come to me he’s wide open.”
Boozer got his rainbow jumper going early when he made a pair of 14-footers in the first. He nailed jumpers from the baseline and the free-throw line. He made five of seven shots in the first half to go along with five rebounds. He opened the third with a rebound on the Pistons’ first possession and a 15-foot fade-away over Detroit’s 6-11 center Greg Monroe the first time the Bulls had the ball. He made six of his first eight and nine of 12 as the Bulls ended the game on a 30-11 run.
“I was just playing off Pooh,” Boozer said of Rose. “It was the pick-and-roll, I found myself open and I was shooting with confidence. I did a good job of playing off my teammate and he did a good job of finding me and being aggressive.”
There was a moment in Saturday’s blowout when Boozer could’ve gone to the floor after a loose ball but didn’t. That’s what frustrates fans. There are times Boozer is an ideal compliment to Rose on a team that lacks front-line scoring. The latter was the case Monday night.
Ronnie Brewer added 12 points. Joakim Noah and Omer Asik combined for 15 rebounds and three blocks as the Bulls held Detroit to their lowest point total of the season.
“Carlos is a very, very talented player,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. “There’s a reason why Chicago brought him here.”