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Carlos Boozer benched in fourth quarter, not sure why

Jan 6, 2011, 10:05 AM EDT

Carlos Boozer, Kurt Thomas

For the entire fourth quarter of a close game Wednesday — a game Chicago lost — Carlos Boozer sat and watched. Coach Tom Thibodeau had benched Boozer, the Bulls second best player.

And he was none to pleased about it, as ESPNDallas reports.

“You got to talk to Thibs about that,” Boozer said. “That was a coaching decision.”

Reporters did ask Thibs, and got a tap dance answer.

“The big thing was we were behind big and they were zoning,” Thibodeau said. “And so the group that went in, playing Luol [Deng] at the 4, gave us another perimeter player. So it was more effective for us against the zone. So that’s why we did it. And when that group cut the lead down and now we were in position, they tied the game up so we just were going to finish with the group that was going well.”

Actually, Boozer’s ability to get inside the soft middle of a zone and score should have been an advantage, no? Boozer had some defensive lapses, and that may be the more likely reason he sat — a message was sent. The Bulls had gone small and had success, which led to Rose sitting longer than usual as well. But he went back in.

Still, there had to be other ways to send the message. The Bulls need Boozer, both his scoring and his rebounding. At the end of a close game when you need a bucket, Kurt Thomas (who Thibodeau called on) is not the answer.

Benching is a public way of dealing with something that likely could have been handled in private later. With veterans like Boozer, public humiliation  is not the way to go (unless your Phil Jackson doing it through the media).

Come the next game Friday in Philadelphia, everyone will say this is behind them and it is no big deal. Maybe it will be. But this is the first real sign of dissention on a Chicago team that had overcome a lot this season and played well. Thibodeau has to start melding and mending egos, too, if the Bulls are going to challenge Boston and Miami in the East. This action did not seem to help that.

  1. thestudiokida - Jan 6, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    A) Boozer is just fine against the zone. If anything you need a guy like him moving around in the paint so a cutting Derrick Rose can pass it inside behind a zoning defender for an easy score.

    B) Tom Thibodeau has made a lot of curious lineup changes in games that are close and that the Bulls end up losing. He has left Rose out of the lineup deep into the 4th quarter several times and lost. When asked about why he did it he says the group that he had in there were playing well so he stuck with them. I would agree except that IT’S F***ING CRAZY NOT TO HAVE DERRICK ROSE IN THE LINEUP AT THE END OF A CLOSE GAME!!!!

    Let’s hope these are rookie mistakes by the coach.

  2. ponchi1 - Jan 6, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    I totally get the “sitting a player to make a point” thing….But don’t cut your nose to spite your face. The “great” coaches in the NBA don’t let wins go by the waste-side to make a point to a player. You can further your point w/the player in practice, shoot-around, fines, etc but when the game is on the line you need your stars on the floor.

    Last night the starters were “flat” for whatever reason. The reserves got them back into the game and in a position to win it. With the game on the line Booz needed to be in the game w/DRose. For all that Booz lacks on the defensive end (and there is a lot that he lacks) he is a significant option on offense and should’ve been in the game.

    I sincerely hope that Thibs isn’t getting too emotional because he will lose the players and if he loses DRose he is as good as gone (see Scott Skiles & Vinny Del Negro). As Herm Edwards is famous for saying…..”You Play To Win The Game”. Put your best players on the floor @ winning time and deal with Booz’s lack of defensive prowness in another way.

  3. tubal22 - Jan 6, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Booz is a defensive liability. He’s soft. His offense usually makes up for it, but maybe Thib thought he needed defense instead of offense to finish out that game.

  4. kd2150 - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    A vast majority of NBA coaches think they are mad scientists pushing the buttons. They are unable to put the players out there and let them play. They have to constantly tweak lineups and egos. Westphal can ruin a good NBA prospect or even an established player. They are stroking there own egos. I guess they want everybody to think that they were the main reason that the team had success. The ones that have had the most success have had great players. Winning had nothing to do with their knowledge of the game or their ability to play mind games. It was all because of the players. And a very good front office and scouting. They have to look like they just stepped out of GQ to boot. Egos, egos, egos………

  5. kd2150 - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    Jerry Sloan always had Boozer in at crunch time. He’s probably the best COACH in the NBA, Phil Jackson included…

  6. icu84bs - Jan 6, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Tom Thibodeau, rookie coach –> rookie mistakes. He will need to improve for Chicago to compete with the best teams in their conference. Cheers.

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