Monday, May 13, 2013
Boozer still struggling with offense vs. Heat
By Doug Padilla
Carlos Boozer was just 3-of-14 from the field, and that spelled doom for the Bulls' offense.
CHICAGO -- A day earlier Carlos Boozer was nearly a witness to perfection, but on Monday everything around him was flawed.
On Sunday Boozer was wearing a White Sox jersey and cap when he spent the off day at U.S. Cellular Field watching Chris Sale nearly pitch a perfect game against the Los Angeles Angels.
Monday night was something entirely different and it wasn't just because the sports had changed. The forward was just 3-of-14 from the field with 14 points on a night when the Bulls shot 25.7 percent as a team in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat.
"It was tough man," Boozer said. "We had some open shots, we missed them and that happens in a basketball game. Sometimes you're going to shoot a poor percentage. But we didn't do a god job of coming back down on the other side and getting stops but they played very well."
A poor defense combined with a lackluster offense yielded the predictable result as the Heat rolled to an 88-65 victory and put the Bulls one defeat from the end of their season.
Denied entry passes that pushed Boozer further out of the lane, his high-arching fall-away jumpers were neutralized. When Boozer is active in the early going -- as he was in scoring 21 in Game 3, the Bulls tend to rally around their veteran, but when he's neutralized -- as he has been in the other three games -- the offense can slumber. He did grab 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the playoffs, tied for second most in the NBA this postseason behind Joakim Noah's six.
"We can't allow frustration of shots you miss take you out of the game," coach Tom Thibodeau said about the team in particular and Boozer in general. "You can't let that take you out of rebounding and defending. The entire team is capable of playing better."
Physical play was the Bulls' best chance of overcoming the Heat's excessive talent advantage, but the Bulls were neither physical nor able to show any touch. The only characteristic they seemed to show was exhaustion, not that anybody was admitting to it.
"We don't like making excused here, man," Boozer said. "The facts are what they are but we have to move forward, get the next game and bring it back here for Game 6."
The Bulls set franchise records for least amount of points scored in a quarter when they managed just nine in the third, and lowest number of points in a playoff game when they scored 65.
Are the Bulls out of gas 11 games into the playoffs?
"Nah, not at all," Boozer said. "It's not over by a long shot. You saw what happened last series. We were up 3-1 against Brooklyn and there was a Game 7. For us, we just have to regroup and get the next game and bring it back here for Game 6."