“I think I should be out there. He’s been doing that a lot since I’ve been here, not putting me in in the fourth quarter. Sometimes we win; more times than not, we don’t. But that’s his choice.”
Those were the words of Carlos Boozer broken by ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell in reference to his lack of late-game minutes. It hasn’t been a trait of any Chicago Bulls player to publicly complain about a team matter since they formed this core unit a few years ago.
Every NBA player wants to get as much game time as they can, and every coach wants to have their best five players in willing the team to victory down the stretch. With his offensive capabilities, Boozer certainly could be a part of that unit. That’s where basketball fans would sympathize with Boozer’s frustrations.
That’s where the sympathy should stop, though. Boozer’s time in Chicago will mostly be remembered by Bulls fans for lackluster defensive efforts on too many nights. Coach Tom Thibodeau coaches his teams up to play hard-nosed defense and he awards the crucial minutes to those players who work the hardest on both ends of the ball. That is why we are more likely to see Taj Gibson at the end of the game than Boozer.
His first effort at showing his coach why he deserves to play more in the fourth quarter was Monday night against the Sacramento Kings. Credit this to the fact that Joakim Noah was ejected early on in the third quarter of a game that spiraled out of control almost immediately after tip-off.
The entire team struggled offensively and defensively to get anything going against the Kings at all. Of course you will have nights where it seems like nothing is falling for you, but Boozer didn’t add very much credibility to his comments from earlier in the day by playing as poorly as he did. He didn’t have double figures in both scoring and rebounding in 30+ minutes while he also shot below 30 percent from the field as well.
Granted the perfect opportunity to earn some fourth quarter time, Carlos Boozer didn’t play up to par. The entire Bulls team didn’t play up to par and that resulted in an embarrassing 99-70 blowout.