2012 NBA Playoffs: The Chicago Bulls Need Carlos Boozer to Step Up

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIMay 3, 2012

During the first two games of the playoffs, Carlos Boozer has been nonexistent. As if we didn't think it could get any worse than last season.

Last postseason he averaged 12.6 points and 9.7 rebounds.

This postseason he is averaging nine points and six rebounds per game, which is well below his season averages. On the season, he averaged 15 points and 8.5 rebounds.

With the loss of Derrick Rose for the remainder of the season, now more than ever, the Bulls need Boozer to step up and carry them. They need the guy who played in Utah and averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds a game in the playoffs.

Boozer is the one player on either team capable of dominating this series. The 76ers win with a team effort, while Luol Deng and Joakim Noah are better complementary players.

Deng struggled in Game 2 and while Noah played very well, it wasn't enough to carry the team.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle standing in Boozer's way isn't the 76ers defense, it's his coach Tom Thibodeau.

When Boozer was at his best in Utah he was playing 35-40 minutes a night. During the last two postseasons with the Bulls he has averaged around 30 minutes a night.

Is Thibodeau willing to sacrifice some defense for offense?

Based on how the Bulls played in the second half of Game 2, it would seem like the defense couldn't get much worse. They were outscored 62 to 37 in the second half.

If the Bulls are going to win this series, they need to make Boozer the focal point of the offense. Feed him the ball early and often.

If he gets the touches, Boozer needs to make the most of them. He has to attack the basket more and draw contact. He has only shot three free throws so far this series, which is far too few.

In order for this to happen, coach Thibodeau is going to have to stick with Boozer and ignore his defensive struggles. Wouldn't you rather have Boozer shooting 20 times instead of John Lucas III?

Let's hope the Bulls think Boozer is the better option, or they could be in for another long night on Friday.


Make sure to follow me on Twitter @dachicagofan, and check out my weekly Bulls podcast every Wednesday on my site, The MG Experience.