Bernstein: Carlos Boozer, Please Guard That Big Goof

By Dan Bernstein–

CHICAGO (WSCR) — Carlos Boozer is making me look like an idiot, and I’d like him to stop.

His lack of defensive effort on the Pacers’ Tyler Hansbrough is in the process of turning a 46% shooting, 11-point-per-game scoring, bug-eyed grinder into some combination of Bob Pettit and Jack Sikma – draining uncontested jump shots from everywhere.

It’s not all Boozer’s fault, the Bulls are quick to tell us, but c’mon. We watched the game, and it really is almost all his fault.

Late to rotate over, slow to close out, beaten down the floor, baited into silly fouls, whatever you want to pick from the appetizer sampler-platter of bad defense, Boozer can bring it to your table with a full selection of dipping sauces and extra napkins.

Hansbrough is good enough to take what you give him, but not much more than that. He’s a glorified hustle-dork who has honed his shooting touch and learned to use his strength and conditioning to out-try guys. He’s a spaz with more ability than that term usually carries with it. A SuperSpaz?

I always thought he’d be in the NBA for a while, but never the kind of star that many believed after his melodramatic, overhyped college career. I always saw another Nick Collison more than anything else.

Perhaps he’s a little better than that, but not much. Not when somebody actually takes the time to bother him. Tonight would be a good time to start doing that, so the unstoppable NBA force that is Tyler Hansbrough can somehow be curtailed.

Flash back to January 5th in New Jersey, when the Nets’ Kris Humphries –a forward of similar build and athleticism to Hansbrough — abused Boozer for 20 points and 11 rebounds, as he and Brook Lopez ran free from end to end. Boozer played just 26 minutes and sat out the entire fourth quarter, with Tom Thibodeau opting for Luol Deng playing out of position, covering for Boozer by explaining that Deng was used due to the need for another shooter against the Nets’ zone defenses. Right.

We lauded Thibs for making good on his demands for defense, if a little worried about potential conflict with a big-money, veteran star. No worries, it turned out, with Boozer saying the right things in the aftermath, then averaging 26 points and 12 rebounds in his next four games.

Like that night, this could just be a bad matchup. The things Boozer just has never done well were exposed and exploited by the right guy. But the matchup is not changing anytime soon – it’s a playoff series, not a regular-season day trip — so Thibodeau may have a decision to make.

Any defensive value Boozer gives the Bulls comes from his rebounding. If he’s scoring to his career average and grabbing enough opponents’ missed shots, he’s helping the cause. He needs to be a reason Pacers’ possessions end, and not because of another swish. And he needs to keep himself from being a total liability otherwise.

If not, Taj Gibson’s ready to go. The versatile Deng will not be outhustled, either, and could be an option as he was that night against the Nets, depending on personnel. Hansbrough likes to face the basket, which mitigates the strength difference.

NBA players are paid to make open shots, especially in rhythm, with their feet set. The Bulls are where they are because they have spent a season denying open shots, upsetting that rhythm, and moving shooters out of comfortable positions.

That’s all Boozer and the Bulls need to get back to doing, before someone compares Tyler Hansbrough to Larry Bird.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Carlos Boozer, Please Guard That Big Goof

Dan Bernstein

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Bottom-line: Boozer won’t play D, so even a white guy looks like he can play.

  • Chet Coppock

    Hey Bernstine, you dolt, why don’t you just admit you were wrong on Hansbrough, you smug little twerp

    • Barb

      You really think Hansbrough is any good?

      • Steve from Rockford

        Yeah Bernsie, why do you gotta be such a “no-all”!

      • Brandon

        He’s not bad. Give the guy credit. He made a ton of shots, and yes the defense was bad, but dan makes it sound like they were uncontested shots. A few of those second half baskets he had a hand right in his face. The guy can shoot,and he follows his shot. Dan Bernstein isn’t the no-all basketball God that a lot of you regular followers make him out to be. Feel free to have your own opinion and not just take what dan says for granted every day.

      • Spoon

        You miss the point entirely…

        Dan’s point, is that when you leave a mediocre player to do what he wants, he can do look like a pro, so beat that guy into the ground from start to finish so he looks like his season stats show him.

        It’s funny how badly some people foam at the mouth waiting to try and pick apart Bernsie’s opinion, by screaming that their opinion is better.

  • Larry

    I can’t believe I’m even asking this, but I’ve been thinking about it since Saturday afternoon and Danny hints at it in today’s piece, is Taj better than Boozer? I know Taj has those brain cramps where it looks like he singlehandedly causes a 6-point swing to the bad, but he is a willing defender.

  • bronzo

    I was thinking this same thing during the game. I remember B&B totally dismissing Hansbrough duriing his college days and never paid too much attention to him until Saturday. he sure looked good to me…now I don’t know if he just had a good day ( Obviously!) or Boozer is just that bad defensively (Maybe). I was pleasanly suprised to see a semi-admission that he may have been wrong about him.

    Bottom line is Boozer has to be better tonight…he got lit up saturday and I’m sure the Sunday film session was an eye opener for him…i hope.

  • mad as hell fan....

    Best opening nba playoff weekend I can remember. Every game was outstanding. Every home team struggled which made me feel better about the bulls lackluster performance.

    Bernsie is right Boozer about lost them that game. If booz isn’t doing anything on the offensive end then he can straight up get you beat. Kurt Thomas or taj Gibson won’t win you a game but they won’t get you beat. Boozer has a lot of playoff experience and has been very successful. In Utah he would have to guard the toughest big and would get killed on defense, he isn’t asked to do that here. He guards the worst big at all times so no excuses. Hopefully he got his wake up call on Saturday and plays like a 18 and 10 PF.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      totally agree with you mahf
      that was a fun weekend of hoops
      I actually enjoyed that better (dare I say) than the opening weekend of March Madness…because I actually knew some of the teams/players involved!

  • WillKill

    Boozer is a joke defensively and the Bulls are being exposed!! This problem needs to be fixed asap because the deeper we get into the playoffs and finals, Good Coaches like Phil and Doc are going to attack that weakness!! Dude Boozer needs to step up!! At least play some damn decent defense!!!

  • pick

    Boozer=too screamy

  • m velvet jeff jones

    Tyler still blows. Carlos has to try and play some D. Not a lot, just don’t Tyler Hansbroungh, Tyler Freakin’ Hansbrough, get 30 plus on you.

  • Ron

    Boozer isn’t making you look like an idiot, you do a great job of that by yourself. Just another case of Bernstein aiming his criticism at the wrong party.(Tebow) Hansbrough uses extra effort to play beyond his ability and then members of the media overhype him. Somehow this is Hansbrough’s fault? What do you want Hansbrough to do Bernstein, stop playing so hard? Boozer has more natural ability than Hansbrough, I just wish he would play with as much effort.

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      You’re right. Bernstein should obviously be blaming the media for Carlos Boozer’s defense.
      He’s not blaming Hansborough, he’s blaming Boozer for making a mediocre player/folk hero look like a star.

      • Ron

        Have you ever listened to him? Bernstein has hammered on this guy going back to when he was at UNC. It’s like he is mad at the guy for playing hard. He plays way beyond his skills and the media creates what you are calling a folk hero and Bernstein directs his angst at him??

      • Peter (in Rogers Park)

        Yes, but why does DB have a borderline obsession with qualifying the success of players whom he deems undeserving of success based on physical attributes?

      • Spoon

        The same reason everyone else does?

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        I think it was because Bernstein simply didn’t see Hansborough as an NBA star. Now, he has to begrudingly admit that he’s become a serviceable player- that much is true. Unfortunately, Boozy-Boozy is going to have to give at least half an effort on the defensive end.

        Dan’s issue is simply with the celebration of the physically inferior “try hard” player. Be it Bobby Scales, Ryan Theriot, Tyler Hansborough, or whomever, the whole concept of “grindy” is like nails on a chalkboard to him. I’ll be honest, I love it when people call him to applaud about grindy players because he’s oh-so-quick to toss his cookies. He likes stars, right or wrong… and he’s very wary of giving too much credit to mediocre players for any performance that appears to him to be a statistical outlier… See the call he took on “Sam Fuld, Fantasy Darling” last week.

      • mike in davenport

        I’m laughing at Chris in Scottsdale’s post because of Ryan Theriot. I was fine with the Cubs trading him. I wonder if all the people that complained about him being traded realize that if the Cubs kept him, Barney wouldn’t be making the contributions that he is, and the combustion of the top of the Cubs’ lineup would be different.

        Of course, we’re not hearing from those people, just the same as we’re not hearing from the people that didn’t want to draft Rose.

      • bronzo

        so apparently Hanbrough falls into the Aaron Rowand catagory too?

        For the record i liked Rowand when he was with the Sox

  • Jake from da burbs

    I hope the Bulls quietly shop Boozer this offseason. Boozer more than anyone else sticks out like a sore thumb for his poor defensive play. I guess it would be tolerated if he even tried (thats what Korver does) but Boozer seems to lack the desire to try. Either that or his aptitude or awareness for defense is extremely poor. Boozer is a big body that plays like a big softie. He reminds me of Big Baby Glen Davis who is hesitant to contact and would much rather settle for outside jumper rather than pound his man defensively and offensively.

    And thats the other thing, his offense has been very sporadic and we have yet to see Boozer put together a nice string of dominant games. I dont know if Boozer is healthy completely or maybe its the lack of conditioning. But he just seems like a bad fit with the rest of the Bulls who hustles and outworks the opposing team.

    If the Bulls are looking championship, they need Boozer to show up and play big in big moments. He just hasn’t showed that desire or ability… yet. I think this is on Derrick Rose. You can see true leaders call out their teammates when needed and spur them to great play. Thats what Rose needs to do. Rose cannot be naive and blinded to think he can do this all by himself and win 15 more games. Rose will need Boozer and needs to build that trust and accountability with him just as he has with Deng and Noah. Rose should be the guy that challenges Boozer to step up just as how Kobe challenges Gasol and how Wade challenges Bosh.

    Regardless, Boozer just is not a good fit here in Chicago and I’m hoping GarPax is already on the lookout of possible options to move him, if its there.

  • soko

    I understood in the past when B and B were sick of the hansbrough hype- but step forward and see Hansbrough for what he is. What is wrong with an effort big that knocks down open shots, battles on the boards, and gives up his body on D. No, he will never be a prime option on a playoff winning team, but as a third option he will make a good team, much better. He will be a better than average pro- and athleticism snobs like bernstein should just realize hansbrough for what he is- a solid, efforting, high bball iq basketball player. Guys like hansbrough, carl landry, or shane battier, whom may not be elite athletes, but are incredible at their toles, don’t help a poor team get better, but they sure help make a good team, great.

    • Spoon

      ” bernstein should just realize hansbrough for what he is- a solid, efforting, high bball iq basketball player.”

      Isnt that a long winded way of saying ‘not very good’?

      • big time sucker

        didn’t he classify dustin bfyuglin in that category, said the hawks would be fine without him? they have NO PHYSICAL PRESENCE on their forward lines, none that make a significant difference. sometimes, the right grindy guys make the difference. where i have an issue is that white grindy guys get much more notarity than black ones. if ronnie brewer were white, and his name was judd buchelor, he would be a folk hero, but instead he is just ronnie brewer, kinda ok player

  • Denver Deadite

    Well, I can’t blame for Bernstein talking about the Bulls; the Hawks certainly don’t want us paying attention to them right now.

    Sounds like Torres of the Canucks has another suspension coming down. This was his first game back from a 4-game suspension where he elbowed a guy in the head. Torres said he won’t change how he plays. Then he goes and hits Seabrook in pretty much an identical fashion. Dumb@$$ cracker.

    • Denver Deadite

      And the NHL Wheel of Justice says no suspension for Torres.

      Thank you, once again, NHL, for showing how little you care about shots to the head and repeat offenders.


  • Bulls vs Pacers: Game Two Keys « Bulls vs Pacers: Game Two Keys « CBS Chicago

    […] Defense Wins Championships -In the regular season the Bulls allowed the second fewest points per game, 91.3, but on Saturday they let the Pacers score 99 points and shoot 46.4 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from three-point range. The Bulls need to contest more shots and play lock down defense, specifically in the matchup between Carlos Boozer and Tyler Hansbrough. […]

  • HDsnob

    Boozer is lazy and Psycho T is a spaz.

  • NoClass

    First, Tyler Hansbrough scores 22 pts to almost help the Pacers upset the Bulls & then Aaron Grey scores 12 pts & shut downs Paul Gasol to help the Hornets beat the Lakers. White & Grindy is making a comeback in 2011. Bernstein’s basketball brain must be exploding!

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      LoL- I forgot about the White Panther’s performance this weekend, but I was thinking about that toward the end of the game. Now THAT was someone playing above his head!

    • chrisinbartlett


      I was thinking the same thing!!! LOL…I’m watching the highlights and hearing Aaron freakin’ Grey. B&B’s heads are spinning right now.

      On another note, ND comes out and says there was no disregard for safety in the accident that cost a student his life ?!?! WOW!!

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        I almost pooped when I heard Chris Paul interviewed on Booyah when he praised The White Panther to the skies.

        The ND report is the biggest white-wash job since Tom Sawyer took care of Aunt Polly’s fence.

  • NoClass

    I mean Aaron Gray shuts down Paul Gasol. How dare I misspell The White Panther’s name after that “game changing” performance Sunday. ROARRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!

    Seriously, the defensive effort will be better in game 2 & there won’t be as many wide open jump shots for Psycho T to hit. All the Bulls have to do is close out better & make Hansbrough put the ball on the floor. Other than the dunk after the stupid Boozer foul, Hansbrough can barely dribble & can’t finish in traffic. Psycho T will have 12pts at best tonight.


    I think the Bulls came out flat as a pancake for much of Saturday’s Game 1, and it was very hard to tell if the Bulls were really the #1 seed and the Pacers were the #8. It seemed as if the Bulls not only turned it over quite a bit, but the Pacers appeared to shoot the ball to a point where they were going to blow the Bulls out of their own building. Thankfully, the Bulls pulled a rabbit out of the hat with that 16-1 run to end the game, turning what could’ve been a double-digit loss into a 104-99 win that also sent the fans in attendance home with free Big Macs. I wonder if the Bulls’ team that won an NBA-best 62 games puts the Pacers in their place and plays a lot better in tonight’s Game 2 after a flat performance in the playoff opener.

    Meanwhile, the White Sox & Rays get going at 5:05p tonight with the Ranger’s pregame here on the SCORE. No sooner did Mt. Guillen erupt after Wednesday’s giveaway to the A’s in 10 innings last week, the offense looked rotten and flat out confused vs. the Angels’ Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and yet another no-name pitcher that Sox hitters had a devil of a time with in Tyler Chatwood. Here’s hoping the Sox get their acts together on their 11-game road trip or the sight of empty seats like the last several days to end the 10 game homestand becomes a reality when they come home April 29th to start a much-shorter homestand vs. Buck Showalter’s Orioles. Yes, the same O’s that gave the Sox fits last summer.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Reports are that the Magic’s Dwight Howard edged-out Carlos Boozer for Defensive POY.

  • Amy Martin Goss

    Hansbrough is an average player that looked pretty good Saturday. He is a cry baby and a drama queen. Boozer needs to step it up and put that kid where he belongs ..the bench. The hard across the face foul on Rose late in the 4th was him feeling too big for his britches.Thanks Deng for giving him a shove and getting the crowd involved.
    Amy in Hinsdale


    Dwight Howard may have had 46 points Saturday night in Game 1, but his Magic are on the spot tomorrow night in Game 2 of their first round NBA Playoff series vs. the Hawks at Orlando’s new Amway Center. The other surprises came out West, where the #8 seed Grizzlies upset the Mano Ginobili-less #1 seed Spurs 101-98 in San Antonio and Chris Paul had 33 w/14 assists in the #7 seed Hornets 109-100 stunner over the #2 seed Lakers in Los Angeles. I don’t think that’s ever happened before in NBA Playoff history that the top 2 seeds both lost on the same day. As for the #6 Knicks, they may have lost more than their Game 1 opener to the #3 Celtics last night 87-85 in Boston. Chauncey Billups appeared to hurt his knee in the waning seconds, and I’m not so sure he’s a go for Game 2 tomorrow night.

  • Pulseczar

    How many wins over Taj Gibson did Carlos Boozer and his huge contract bring the Bulls this year?

    He is already a liability and they’re stuck with him for many more years.

  • Jon

    Here are the actual numbers from Saturdays game, regarding Hansbrough. They are the points scored with and without Boozer in the game:

    Vs. Boozer. 4/12 from the field for a total of nine points, including missing his first seven attempts.

    Vs. other Bull defenders. 6/7 from the field and 13 points.

    So, you are a double dumb arse Bernstine. Not only do you look like a fool for your bashing of Hansbrough, but it wasn’t even Boozer who was the main culprit. What’s only worse than Bernsties obnoxious elitism, is his worshipers that follow and defend him daily on this blog.

  • Tim in PA

    How akward was his Jesus on the cross celebration after the dunk “on” boozer

    • Mike Murphy

      He should made the “Star of David” rim shot! I’m good


    Starlin Castro (Starlin?) is fun to watch.
    Shark threw a goose egg yesterday.
    Dempster. Dempster. Dempster. Dempster.

  • Bob Johnson

    Hansberg had a very good game. i.m not really sure why Mr. Bernstein is mocking except perhaps jealousy. Hansberg is a pro athlete and Dan is.. well not.

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