Chicago Bulls Playoffs: Carlos Boozer Irrelevant so Far

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Chicago Bulls Playoffs: Carlos Boozer Irrelevant so Far
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Carlos Boozer has done nothing so far in the 2011 playoffs for the Bulls

With the exception of Kurt Thomas, no one has more playoff experience on this Chicago Bulls roster than Carlos Boozer.

Why, then, is the 29-year-old former All-Star power forward playing so, well, terrible this postseason?

It's one thing to be out-played by a Dwight Howard or a Kevin Garnett.

It's quite another to be out-played by a Tyler Hansbrough.

Before this series with the Indiana Pacers began, the Bulls were thought to have two clear advantages, if not more.

One was the point guard battle of Derrick Rose versus Darren Collison.

Rose hasn't done anything to change the perception that he's the better point guard in this series and one of the best players in the entire league.

The other supposed advantage was to be the Bulls' Boozer against the Pacers' Hansbrough.

While Boozer is out-rebounding Hansbrough (11.5 to 4) this series, he's barely out-scoring him (12 to 10.5).

Boozer, who holds a career playoff scoring average of 19.9 points per game, averaged 23.5 points per game in 17 playoff games in 2007.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While that type of production might be in the rearview mirror for Boozer, something more than a dozen per game is not too much to ask for.

It can't be fatigue that's getting to Boozer (he played less than 60 games this past regular season), so what is it?

You would hope it wasn't complacency for Boozer, now financially secure in Chicago for at least the next five seasons.

The fact is, this series with the Pacers has pointed out the harsh reality that the Bulls are dangerously close to being considered a "one-man team."

Rose, as good as he is, can't do it all himself.

Players like Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver have chipped in offensively at times this series, but Boozer is the big-money player who was signed to elevate his game in the postseason.

Boozer looks lost on offense, shooting just over 37 percent from the floor, and has been in foul trouble early and often, getting tangled up with awkward Pacers center Roy Hibbert one too many times.

While the Bulls have depth on the bench with their big men, it's Boozer (not Taj Gibson, Kurt Thomas or Omer Asik) that needs to be on the court.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Bulls need Boozer to make some of these shots--not shoot 37% from the field

The Bulls have somehow grabbed a 3-1 series lead with Boozer doing little offensively and looking absolutely dreadful on defense (Tyler Hansbrough has made the pump fake the most popular move of the 2010-11 playoffs).

One would think that the Bulls and Boozer, when he finds his game, will be just fine when it's all said and done; that this is just a bump in the road, a tough playoff series with a Central Division rival.

Others will say the Bulls are doomed and too reliant on one man to win them ball games.

One thing is for sure: The Bulls' next opponent will have a more formidable frontcourt than these Pacers do.

The Orlando Magic, if they can come back from their own 3-1 series deficit, will throw All-World center Dwight Howard at the Bulls.

The Atlanta Hawks, on the other hand, have Al Horford in the paint to deal with.

Boozer needs to elevate his game before it's too late.

Game 5 is tonight at the United Center.  Let's hope Boozer shows up. 

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