By Marcus Shockley
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but the transformation of Carlos Boozer into a player who won’t play defense is complete, and it just might be the reason the Bulls can’t beat the Heat during this playoff run. Tossing aside some of the obvious stories and issues with this series, such as the Heat working well together to claw out wins, to the repeated uncalled fouls that Derrick Rose isn’t getting, Boozer’s approach has gotten to the point of absurdity.
However, within all of this, I will go out on a limb and say that the Bulls may ultimately get the last laugh.
I want to be clear on this; it is not that Carlos Boozer can’t play defense, but that he absolutely won’t. The closest he now seems willing to do is a matador-style arm wave or two while his defender blows by him, but most of the time he’s content to let his man roam free and shoot uncontested shots as much as they may like.
This has hurt the Bulls in all of their losses to the Heat, but none more than when Boozer is guarding Chris Bosh, a player who has an exceptional mid range game and should never be allowed to get the kind of open looks that Boozer allows.
This year, the Heat and the Mavs are probably the story of the Finals, and the Heat will seem poised to be the next dynasty, even if the Mavericks are able to finally get Kidd and Dirk a ring.
I wouldn’t be so sure about that, though. The Bulls are one scoring wing away from being incredibly good, and considering the youth of Gibson, Noah and Rose, might be the real future of the East, if not the whole NBA. Oklahoma City wants to be the next superpower in the West, but they aren’t as close to greatness as the Bulls are, win or lose.
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