Bulls

Boozer once again in spotlight for wrong reasons

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Boozer once again in spotlight for wrong reasons

PHILADELPHIA - For the second consecutive postseason, Carlos Boozer will feel the heat and this year the Bulls didnt even lose to Miami, ironically his offseason home. Boozer snatched 13 rebounds, fitting for a starting power forward in a playoff game, especially in just 27 minutes of play.

The reason he only played 27 minutes in an elimination game, one might wonder? Well, Boozer only mustered up three points and not for lack of trying, as he shot 1-for-11 from the field and made his lone free-throw attempt.

I just missed shots. Some nights are like that. Some nights youre on fire. Some nights youre not. Tonight I wasnt, said Boozer. My teammates did a great job of making shots. My teammates wanted me to stay aggressive, stay confident, keep shooting. They just didnt go in.

To his credit, Boozer didnt run and hide from the question. And in fairness, he was tremendous in both the Bulls Game 5 win at the United Center and for most of their Game 4 loss in Philadelphia.

But just like last spring, when the Bulls lost to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals, Boozer came up short when it counts. This should have been the time to redeem himself, as he played in all 82 regular-season games and with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah both out with injuries, Luol Deng playing hurt and Rip Hamilton clearly not fully trusted by Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, Boozer had the opportunity to be the go-to guy.

He played hard. It wasnt going his way offensively. That happens. When its not going your way, you have to do other things. His rebounding was terrific. Taj Gibson and Omer Asik got going defensively. Our rebounding and defense brought us back. We rode that group., said Thibodeau, who essentially made one second-half substitution, Gibson in for Boozer. Carlos had a terrific year for us. Didnt play well offensively. Passed well but didnt shoot well. His rebounding was excellent.

Unfortunately, that isnt what the Bulls needed - Deng corralled a game-high 17 boards and he plays small forward - Thursday night. They needed Boozer to deliver, something he again failed to do.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls take on Suns

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls take on Suns

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the Phoenix Suns Sunday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

1. Something's got to give

What's the opposite of an unstoppable force vs. an immovable object? That's what we'll be looking at when the Bulls have the ball in their hands. Chicago ranks dead last in offensive efficiency, while the Suns have the 2nd worst defensive efficiency in the NBA. That means the Bulls, after scoring a season-high 123 points against the Hornets, can build on that momentum against a Suns defense that allowed 90 points in the FIRST HALF to the Rockets on Thursday.

2. Kris Dunn for real?

Fresh off the best game of his young career - he scored 22 points in a win over the Hornets on Friday - Kris Dunn continues to look like the best point guard on the Bulls roster. He's going through a really solid stretch right now, averaging 13.2 points on 47 percent shooting, 4.2 assists and 2.6 steals over his last four games. With Eric Bledsoe out of Phoenix, Dunn could be in line for another big game going up against Mike James and Tyler Ulis, regardless of whether or not he starts over Jerian Grant.

3. Watch out for Devin Booker

We'll try to get an opponent in here once for every tune-in, and Devin Booker certainly fits the bill. Much like Dunn is doing, Booker is on quite a roll these days. Over his last four games Booker is averaging 30.5 points on 51 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists. The Bulls will need to keep their eyes on Booker at all times, especially after allowing Kemba Walker to go off for 47 points on Friday.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.