HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Carlos Boozer‘s fade this season is not a figment of your imagination.
The Chicago Bulls’ power forward is experiencing a very real power drain that has Bulls fans a little nervous, even with as well as they have played down the stretch of this season.
My main man K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune provides the data:
Boozer shot 55.1 percent in December, 53.9 percent in January, 50.3 percent in February and is at 45.1 percent this month. His scoring average has dropped from 20.6 points in December to 19 points in January to 16.5 points in February down to 12.7 points this month. Boozer is playing slightly less this month at 29.8 minutes per game, down from a monthly high of 33 minutes in February.
Boozer is handing out assurances that this too shall pass, and that he will rebound in plenty of time for the playoffs. The Bulls’ performance in spite of Boozer’s power outage is equally impressive, and they are 18-5 with Boozer and Joakim Noah in the lineup together.
Still, this notion that Boozer’s performance drops off during the course of a season has followed him from his days in Utah, where Boozer often seemed like an easy target for Jazz fans that didn’t always appreciate what he provided as an undersized inside presence. (In his defense, Boozer’s scoring average in his last three playoff runs with the Jazz actually dropped only one time — in 2007-08.)
His statistical fade with the Bulls has rekindled some of that same chatter. It’s talk that Boozer is trying to slow down before it gets out of hand.
“Tell them to stay tuned,” Boozer told the Tribune. “Tell them to be patient. We’re doing fine. Hang in there with us. Tell them I said that.”
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau also offered up some remedies for whatever ails Boozer, things that could very well end his slide just in time for the start of the postseason:
“We have got to run the floor a little better,” Thibodeau said when asked how to jump start Boozer. “We have to find him deeper in the post. We have to search him out better. In looking at the film, he made some really good plays in the first quarter. We went to the re-post and missed a couple of shots. But we have to give him that second look and he has to get some easier scores. He’ll be fine.
“He has faced (defensive length) throughout his career. We looked at the previous game against Philadelphia where he had 31 and he scored in a variety of ways. (Monday night’s 97-85 loss to the 76ers) was a different sort of game. When he’s at his best, he scores in pick-and-roll, post-up, catch-and-shoot, running the floor. We have to get him back to doing that.”
If the Bulls plan on attending the NBA Final Four party Bill Wennington and Sam Smith of BullsTV insist they’ll be invited to, they have to get Boozer back to doing his thing, and soon!