The Chicago Bulls‘ victory against the Phoenix Suns last night was exactly the type of victory they like to have…hard-fought. They were forced into overtime where they rode a 12-6 scoring run to seal the victory. They had five players in double digits, with Carlos Boozer leading all scorers with 28 points. But in addition to his high point totals, he had 14 rebounds and three assists to go along with it. To most, Boozers numbers stand out and point to his high production for the team, and the numbers don’t lie. But when you take a closer look, it is apparent that last night was a rare outbreak for him.
I love Boozer, and have written several articles on him. I like his versatility, his jump shot and the raw emotion he displays in every game. But whether I like him or not doesn’t change the fact that he doesn’t produce numbers like he used to. In his last five games, he averaged only 8.4 points per game and didn’t hit double digits in three of them. His rebounding is no better. Before he went off and grabbed 14 rebounds, he was averaging only 7.8 boards per the last five games.
Don’t get me wrong; I am happy to see Boozer put up numbers like he did last night. He was arguably the reason they won. But, he needs to continue to have nights like last night to remain a consistent threat to opponents. If the other team expects you to get no more than eight points, then they’re going to play lackadaisical defense and focus their attention elsewhere. But if they expect you to drop 25 points a game, then they’re going to revolve their defensive schemes around stopping you.
Boozers night against Phoenix was a rare glimpse of what he is capable of doing, and if the Bulls want to continue there early season success they need to find out what formula worked last night and continue to run it. If Boozer can average 25-28 points and 14 boards a game every game, then there is not telling how well or how far Chicago can go.